Sugar Minott

Sufferer's Choice

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The obvious follow-on from Buy Off the Bar, Sugar Minott's excellent work with Sly & Robbie and the Roots Radics continues here, with Peter Chemist controlling the mix. Contrary to its title though, only side one of the album concerned sufferers and social commentary -- the flip is pure lovers rock. Fittingly, U.K. fans chose one of each -- "A Rough Ole Life (Babylon)" and "Lover's Race" -- and propelled them both straight into the charts. In reality, though, virtually the entire album was filled with worthy contenders for hits. Certainly "Rough Ole," with its hints of reggae's past, had hit written all over it, but the title track, a slow, stripped down dub, is equally strong. The sublime "Uptown Ghetto" created a rich atmosphere via a few well-placed guitar riffs and fat, booming beats, while the song's theme of ghetto denizens moving uptown is a particularly sharp piece of social commentary. "Lovers Race" keeps the rootsy atmosphere intact, while adding a softly rocking air perfect for swaying across the dancefloor. The whole second side is permeated by this gently rocking feel, as the rhythms swing between the electro beats and guitar or piano, while Shakespeare's bass throbs in the background. The music aurally caresses the listener -- sultry lovers rock at its most exquisite. The final track is a more dancehall-flavored number, providing the perfect bridge back to the sufferer's side, and chances are you'll be tempted to hit the replay button and hear it all again.

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