Various Artists

Red Gold Green & Blue

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A spirited meeting of reggae legends and relative newcomers curated by British guitarist/drummer Zak Starkey, Red Gold Green & Blue offers distinctly Jamaican takes on a number of classic blues, R&B, and early rock songs. The compilation also serves to inaugurate Trojan Jamaica, the new label founded by Starkey and musical partner Sharna "Sshh" Liguz, who also sings on a track here. The album is essentially an all-star jam session showcasing heavyweights like Toots and the Maytals, Freddie McGregor, Big Youth, and Mykal Rose on vocals, and the house band is anchored by the classic rhythm battery of Sly & Robbie with Starkey and Albert "Tony" Chin covering most of the guitar. Percussionists Cyril Neville and Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace also kick in, as does keyboardist Michael Rendall. While parts of the set play like the amiable exercise that it is, there's some inevitable magic in the combined talent pool here. Big Youth's fiery take on Bo Diddley's "Gunslinger" and Rose's dark telling of Johnny Otis' "Bad Luck Shadow" are standouts, while Phylea Carley's energetic rendition of "Baby, Please Don't Go" proves the younger generation has just as much command of this repertoire. For Trojan Jamaica, it's a solid enough introduction from a number of top-shelf participants.

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