Island Gruve Supper Club

Mighty Fine Everlasting Music

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The Island Gruve Supper Club is something of a reggae supergroup, gathering longtime fixtures of the Jamaican music scene in front of a veteran rhythm section led by producer General Kneah François and keyboardist Monty Montgomery. Each singer, including Erica Newell (Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers), Errol Moore (a solo star best known for his work with Sly & Robbie), and Timmi, gets one to three lead vocals, giving the album a feeling close to an old-fashioned R&B road show revue. This relaxed quality is exacerbated by the audio vérité snippets that interrupt the flow of the album several times. Apparently recorded by a hidden mike (which would at least explain the terrible sound quality, which at times makes the conversations all but impossible to follow even for those familiar with the singers' patois) at a dinner table -- the conversations usually resolve around food -- the audio diary is interesting to hear once or twice. However, the snippets intrude somewhat annoyingly on what's otherwise a well-constructed and entertaining set of old-school traditional reggae like Moore's lovers rock gem "Little Rascal" and the more devotional "Praying Hands" and "If We Pray."

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