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Soul Pirate by Alborosie

Soul Pirate by Alborosie

Soul Pirate by Alborosie

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New songs rub shoulders with familiar 7s on this limited availability preview release.

Sampler

Alborosie - Soul Pirate - 2008It’s been a long time coming, but after many false starts, the prodigiously talented Sicilian rootsman Alberto D’ascola’s debut album is finally here (albeit as a limited edition preview release - the official disc may be a significantly different affair). As promised in interviews, the new compositions outnumber the familiar killer 45s, and though these well known anthems make up most of the high points, Soul Pirate is the impressive set his fans have been hoping for.

The record kicks off with an introduction from the UK DJ David Rodigan (another foreign enthusiast who – while attracting controversy - has become a mainstay of the Jamaican music scene). New track Diversity is a kind of mission statement, where Papa Albo attempts to defend his faith in Haile Selassie and reminds us that it takes all sorts to make a world. Then, leaving nothing to chance, he drops singles Precious, Kingston Town and Rastafari Anthem back to back, with Herbalist and Police not far behind.

Pleasant surprises from the fresh material include the awesome Still Blazing, chirpy major key number Dutty Road and the hairs-stand-on-the-back-of-your-neck haunting Black Woman, perhaps Mr Borosie’s finest vocal performance to date. Occasionally he comes across as cynically showbiz (the “I bet you never thought I could sing like this” at the start of lurve ballad Moonshine is too self congratulatory and slick) while the Ky-Mani Marley collaboration for Natural Mystic (beautifully arranged and produced though it is) seems an unnecessary attempt to “seal the deal” as the authentic reggae artist like they used to make ‘em that it’s OK to love.

Nevertheless, only Perfect’s album (where the previously unreleased tracks outshone the 7s and featured entirely new rhythms rather than reworkings of old 70s and 80s favourites) has reached higher heights in roots music of late. If you’re familiar with Alborosie this will satisfy. If you’ve never heard him before, prepare to be amazed.

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