Reggae Vibes

Love Joys

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Reggae Vibes Review

by Rick Anderson

Sonia Abel and Claudette Brown were cousins originally from Brixton, England, but had relocated to New York when they made this album in Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes' Bronx studio in 1981. The LP was actually released by the Florida-based Top Ranking label, but had been out of print for 20 years when it was released again as part of a comprehensive Wackies CD reissue program in late 2002. The material is impressive: almost all of the songs, which alternate between lovers rock and cultural roots, are original compositions, and Abel and Brown harmonize nicely, creating a sound that is more than the sum of its parts. (Abel's voice has strengthened somewhat with age, and she is even more impressive in her current position in the Natti Love Joys, which she organized with her husband, Wackies house bassist Tony Allen.) Highlights on this fine album include "Stranger" (which was remixed and issued again on the duo's follow-up release, Lovers Rock) and the slightly screechy but touching devotional anthem "Wherever Jah Send Me."

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