Luciano

Great Controversy

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The product of an extended London session, Great Controversy is an album that effortlessly combines social commentary with powerful melody. Luciano stands as a strong-willed Rasta revivalist with far less militant ideologies than those of some of his contemporaries (Sizzla, Capleton). The seeds of spiritual struggle and social and economic revolution are subtly planted within the smooth rhythms and gentle toasting of the Davey Town, Jamaica, vocalist. Many of the songs stay within a theme of destroying injustice in favor of universal peace, including "Call on Yahweh," "Free the World," and "Have Faith." The album also features two prominent reworkings of reggae classics. Peter Tosh's "Legalize It" is updated, as is the Melodians' classic "By the Rivers of Babylon" (also remade by alterna-rockers Sublime). The album seems to slumber in places composition-wise (orchestrated by Jet Star in-house producer Danny Ray) though the work of U.K. musicians like Leroy Mafia (bass), Dave Fluxy (drums), Carlton "Bigga" Morrison (keyboards), and Allan Weeks (guitar) is on the whole inspired and wonderfully crafted. What keeps this album from attaining classic status is the lack of a true hit, though tracks like "Are You Ready?," "Why?," and the ballad "Empress Love" are certainly close.

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