The Meditations

Ghetto Knowledge

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Talk about a match made in heaven: the Meditations, a roots harmony trio that has maintained the same style and lineup since the early 1970s, and Easy Star Records, a label devoted to releasing modern roots reggae that partakes of the spirit and flavor of reggae's classical period while taking advantage of 21st century recording technology. This album finds singers Ansel Cridland, Danny Clarke, and Winston Watson supported by the cream of reggae's studio aristocracy (including Sly Dunbar, Style Scott, Aston "Family Man" Barrett, Theopholus Beckford, and others) and continuing to deliver the cultural lyrics and tight harmonies that have made them legendary in reggae circles. The generous program includes a (perhaps too faithful) cover of Bob Marley's "Blackman Redemption," a nice roots-hall workout entitled "Moses," and the modern rudeboy anthem "Rudeboy Corner," as well as the very fine "Ghetto Is a College," with a melody that recalls the band's 1970s hit "Woman Is Like a Shadow." In a few places (notably "Blackman Redemption") the singing isn't quite as solid as it ought to be, but overall this is a great example of the best modern roots reggae has to offer.

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