Various Artists

Lovers Bash [14 Tracks]

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Two sensational riddims created by General Lee and G. Douglas provide the backbone for this excellent set, both laid down by Sly & Robbie and keyboardist Christopher Birch, with the sensational brass delivered by Dean Fraser, and all mixed down by Colin "Bulby" York and Lynford "Fatta" Marshal. First up is the riddim that titles the Lovers Bash set, a dreamy creation that evokes the romance of the rocksteady age, and not surprising, for it's inspired by Alton Ellis' "Rock Steady," the classic Treasure Isle single that named that new genre. A palpitating bassline and Fraser's vivacious horns make Lovers a paradise for singers, and a clutch of veterans bundle on board to ride this sublime riddim back to the past. Dennis Brown, George Nooks, Glen Washington, Sugar Minott, and more all have a go, alongside newcomers Razah and Calibe.

Everyone is a standout, and readers can choose their own favorites from this series of high-caliber cuts. Among them is one delivered by the smooth, soulful Al Campbell, who also kicks off the comp's second rhythm, a new version of the Wailers' old favorite "Thank You Lord." Campbell's title may be the same as Bob Marley and Co., but his romantic lyrics borrow nothing from them. Lee and Douglas' version is also presented with a sweet rocksteady flare, and again lit up by Fraser's vibrant brass. Ambelique beautifully rides this riddim as well, while Calibe's group Girlfriends jump aboard with "I Try," their styling swinging marvelous from modern R&B to '60s girl group fashion. Sweetest of all is J.C. Lodge, but in the end it's Luciano who rules this riddim. Two fabulous riddims and a group of sensational artists make this compilation a winner.

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