Various Artists

African Reggae [Arc]

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African Reggae, a compilation of the African reggae scene. While the genre had been taking hold gradually over the preceding 20 years or so, there are still only a few artists that have any recognition value whatsoever outside of Africa, Lucky Dube being the main representative. As such, the album (with works entirely licensed from previous Gallo releases), focuses heavily on the South African scene, with Lucky Dube and his musical relatives taking the forefront. The Ivorian end is unfortunately left out (and Alpha Blondy with it). The album opens up with a Lucky Dube number in proper roots reggae form, followed by a piece from his old backing band, the Slaves. O'Yaba, another South African band, takes a piece, followed by five more from the Slaves, broken only momentarily by Sister Phumi and System Enemy. The album finishes up with a trio from the main players again, using O'Yaba's cover of "Buffalo Soldier," yet another work from the Slaves, and a signature number from Lucky Dube to bring the album full circle. The sound throughout is largely roots reggae, with elements of R&B only occasionally breaking through to be heard. It's a nice album, though there are certainly others available with the same bent. This particular disc makes a good starting point for further exploration in the form, but it's perhaps not the best album for people already acquainted with African reggae in general.

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