Yabby You

Fleeing from the City

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Yabby You's extended absence from the reggae scene was broken with this fine comeback album, which finds him reunited with the Prophets (harmony singers Alrick Forbes and Da Da Smith) as well as some of the heaviest session players of reggae's golden era, including bassist Lloyd Parks, drummer Sly Dunbar and horn players Tommy McCook and Bobby Ellis. His deeply religious lyrical focus has not changed at all, as song titles like "Let Us Repatriate" and "Integrity of the Upright" make clear, though he now makes a little more room for more earthly topics -- not that the deep, rootsy groove of "Love Me, Love Me, Girl" gets anywhere near the slickness of most lovers rock. But it's interesting to note how thoroughly the dark, minor-key melodies of yesteryear have been displaced by brighter, more optimistic-sounding songs. Even the title track -- on which he sings "I'm fleeing from the city, for the city has been set upon fire" -- sounds more like a grateful celebration of his own deliverance than an imprecation directed at the wicked. This album stands solidly with the best of Yabby You's classic 1970s work, and that's high praise.

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