Judy Mowatt

Sing Our Own Song

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What's funny about Sing Our Own Song is that its title track is, in fact, someone else's song -- UB40's, to be exact. But Judy Mowatt makes it sound like her own, which she's been doing with both other people's songs and her own ever since her salad days as one of the I-Threes, Bob Marley's female backup trio. Her former label gets an admonishing wag of the finger for not being more forthcoming about the fact that this album consists entirely of material taken from her previous Shanachie releases (at least two of which, Love Is Overdue and Working Wonders, are long out of print). But the resulting program is an effective and satisfying overview of an illustrious reggae career. Unsurprisingly, the most powerful songs are the rootsiest ones -- in particular, her irresistible "Many Are Called" and the equally powerful UB40 cover. But the more modernistic Sly & Robbie production on "Jah Live" works well for her too, and the gospel-flavored "Who Is He" ends the album with a hint of the future direction she would soon take. "Let's Dance" is a lightweight disappointment, but it's the only weak track on this fine retrospective. Recommended.

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