More Teachings

Morgan Heritage

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More Teachings Review

by M.F. DiBella

As did Bob Marley's sons Ziggy, Stephen, and Ky-Mani take to following in the footsteps of the father, so did the sons of Denroy Morgan traverse the road of roots reggae. The heartfelt sentiments of Morgan Heritage, talented musicians as they are, sometimes produce inconsistent results and such is the case with this offering released in March of 2001. Though the album breathes easily with some understated instrumentation, laid-back melodies, and inspired Biblical songwriting, the group missteps when attempting to broaden their audience by hinting at hip-hop and R&B. Although the Morgans in fact have a dual heritage (born in Jamaica, raised in the States), the thoroughly unoriginal experiment does not befit their generally roots-inspired harmonies. The intent here seems more toward making their music more universally appetizing but the group clearly overextends itself on tracks like "Same Old Song" and the quiet stormy "Always on My Mind." The emptiness of these overtures is overshadowed by the meat of the album. The bona fide reggae hit "Down by the River" packs the most power on the album followed closely by the kinky reggae of "What We Need Is Love" and the melancholy groove of "Maskal Square." The vocals of Gramps Morgan have matured to the point where his contributions nearly outshine lead vocalist Peter and those of the rest of the group combined. Heritage is at their best in concert and their albums generally have a nightspot feel and More Teachings is no exception. Bending toward the trend of multi-genre is an unfortunate artistic step backward for this popular quintet. However, when sticking with their bread-and-butter formula, this album works effectively and the kowtows to commercial demands can mostly be forgiven.

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