Natty Rebel

Forever Be a Rastafarian

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Mark O'Connor (aka Natty Rebel) has been a fixture on the Jamaican music scene since the late '70s, moving to the U.K. in the 1980s and eventually teaming up with producer Terry Christian and producing a number of singles and albums, as well as performing on numerous television programs in the U.K. and touring extensively. Forever Be a Rastafarian shows him to be a lovers rock crooner very much in the style of Gregory Isaacs (right down to the moaning asides), and although his songs tend to be hobbled a bit by his reliance on simplistic two-chord structures, the highlights on this album are quite impressive. They include "You Were Gone" (on which he shows himself to be a creditable toaster as well as a fine singer), the nicely arranged title track (and its fine dub version), and a lovely sufferer's anthem entitled "Rebel One." The rest of the album is perfectly serviceable, but not especially noteworthy.