Ras Michael / Sons of Negus

Zion Train

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    3
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AllMusic Review by

The folks at SST knew what they were doing when they designed the packaging for this album. The cassette doesn't indicate the track listing anywhere you can see it before purchasing, so you don't realize how little music you're getting for the money until it's too late (eight songs, two of them dub versions, for a total of 31 minutes of music). Bizarrely, the CD packaging doesn't include a track listing anywhere at all; the only place you'll find the song titles is on the disc itself, which isn't very helpful when the disc is, you know, in your CD player. The other thing it doesn't tell you upfront is that this is really a collaboration between Ras Michael and H.R., the singer for Bad Brains (here credited under his birth name, Paul Hudson); the backing band consists of Bad Brains drummer Earl Hudson and a handful of studio musicians who provide a decent array of smooth and jazzy reggae grooves for H.R. and Ras Michael to sing over. (If many of those grooves sound familiar, it's probably because you own H.R.'s Singin' in the Heart album, which repeats roughly half of this program.) The album's brevity would be forgivable if the music were of higher quality, but it's all pretty pedestrian, and the lyrics are uniformly awful. Not recommended.

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