Twilight Circus

Deeper Roots

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This is the type of roots reggae compilation that hasn't been heard since the glory days of the On-U Sound label, and before that, reggae's golden age in the 1970s. Featuring elephantine rhythms provided by producer and M label head Ryan Moore (who records old-school instrumental dub reggae under the name Twilight Circus Dub Sound System), the aptly titled Deeper Roots is a showcase for such legendary reggae artists as Big Youth, Jah Stitch, Skatalites alumnus Vin Gordon, and even the pioneering dancehall crooner Cornel Campbell, who was lured from his rural retreat in the Jamaican hills to voice the wonderful "Why Dem Gwaan So"; his voice has mellowed beautifully with age, and still retains the lightness and grace that distinguished it in the 1970s. His performance is followed by Jah Stitch's fine DJ cut on the same rhythm, which itself is followed by an instrumental version featuring Nambo and Ian Hird. Other highlight tracks include a "Megadub Mix" of Michael Rose's excellent "Throw Some Stone" and Ranking Joe's DJ cut on the same rhythm; the album's one disappointment is Brother Culture's horribly out-of-tune singjay performance on "Fiyah Well Hot." A greater variety of rhythms would also have been nice, but this album can be confidently recommended to all fans of vintage roots reggae.

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