The Meditations

For the Good of Man

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Four years had passed since the Meditations last released a record, and in the interim the trio was reduced to a duo with the departure of Ansel Cridland. Regardless, remaining members Danny Clarke and Winston Watson had worked hard to build a strong new fan base in the States without compromising their sound. Even with recording taking place in both the U.S. and Jamaica, and with two separate studios worth of crack musicians backing them, For the Good of Man is still a very Jamaican-sounding album, with the rootsy sensibilities that defined the Meditations' styling, but with a diversity of island sounds. Inevitably, some of the strongest songs are the cultural numbers -- the biting "Mister Vulture Man," the sharp "Bourgeois Game," the sweet "Wallah Up," and most potent of all, the vociferous "Tin Sardine." However, the Meditations were never a purely cultural group, and thus the album also boasts the feeling irie "Rootsman Party," the wry "Man No Better Than Woman," the romantic "Woman, Woman," and the breezy "Rocking in America." This latter tribute to their new home is particularly lighthearted, and not only blends in the melody from "Pomp and Circumstance," but also a snatch of "Yankee Doodle Dandy." Every number has something that makes it special, from the lead guitar that sears through "Bourgeois Game," Watson's phenomenal falsetto on "Woman, Woman," the gorgeous harmonies of "Wallah Up," and the rich rhythm on "Dem a Fight" through to the impassioned vocal performances on "Mister Vulture Man" and "Tin Sardine." The musicianship is superb, the arrangements sharp, and every song memorable -- roots meets dancehall, reggae goes rock, and sweet swayers collide with tauter numbers, all served up Meditations style. The group has lost none of its power over the years, and continues to unleash songs with classic written all over them.

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