All Gone Astray

Jah Lewis

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All Gone Astray Review

by Alex Henderson

A late bloomer by reggae standards, Jah Lewis wasn't recorded until he was 32, back in 1977. Although some of his recordings have been excellent, the Jamaican singer has remained obscure -- even in Jamaica, he isn't very well known. Unfortunately, the absorbing All Gone Astray didn't bring Lewis (who was 45 when the CD was released) the higher profile he deserved. The influence of Burning Spear is evident on "If The Bible Is Right," "Carol Garden Incident" and "Hey Rastaman" -- and in fact, the first person to produce Lewis was Jack Ruby, best known for his work with Spear. But other songs on the CD sound nothing like Spear, and even at his most Spear-influenced, Lewis never comes across as a clone. Especially un-Spear-like are "Exile" and "Tribulation," both of which recall the smooth Northern R&B of the 1960s and early '70s. Employed on drums is Sly Dunbar, one of the most in-demand and accomplished drummers in the history of reggae. For reggae aficionados who are unfamiliar with Lewis, All Gone Astray wouldn't be a bad starting point at all.

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