Dennis Brown / Cocoa Tea / Freddie McGregor

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Legit Review

by Alex Henderson

Legit finds Freddie McGregor forming a trio with fellow reggae vocalists Dennis Brown and Cocoa Tea, and the results of their collaboration are excellent. Clearly, McGregor and Brown have a lot in common--both of them are masters of biting socio-political commentary, but they have equally strong credentials when it comes to apolitical lovers' rock. Much like Marvin Gaye, the O'Jays, and Curtis Mayfield in R&B, they handle protest songs and romantic songs equally well. So it isn't surprising that McGregor and Brown get along nicely on Legit, and Cocoa Tea's participation also proves to be valuable. Sharing the vocals and the songwriting duties, the three singers tend to favor haunting, moody, Black Uhuru-ish material on this project. Uhuru is a valid comparison on socio-political items like "Chilling Out," "It Could Be Worse," and "Home Boy," although Brown's "What About Love" is the type of smooth lovers rock that will appeal to fans of classic Northern soul of the 1960s and '70s. Meanwhile, Mutabaruka has a memorable cameo on the angry "Bone Lies," which combines singing with dub poetry. This consistently focused CD is an example of brainstorming that pays off handsomely.

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