U-Roy

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U Roy's reputation as the grandfather of Jamaican DJs won't be hurt by this, his second outing for the Tabou label. The material might hark back to the '60s and '70s (as do some of the vocalists working with him here), but there's still a very conscious and very joyous vibe about the whole album. U Roy is in splendid toasting form throughout, never better than when covering Peter Tosh's anthemic "Equal Rights" with dancehall star Anthony B. Rarely has revivalism sounded better, with live instruments behind the vocalists and a strong, varied mood to the songs, be it "OK Fred," where Errol Dunkley and Flabba Holt get a chance to shine again, or the epic "Nyabinghi Chant," where U Roy shares the studio with Sly & Robbie and others. Among the other blasts from the past are the Mighty Diamonds, Alton Ellis, and Max Romeo. But for all the possible nostalgia, be it of artists or tunes, none of this ever sounds old or dated. It all seems as relevant as the newest Jamaican riddim. And that's a compliment to someone who's been doing it since long before many of the later hitmakers were born.

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