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Suga Roy, Conrad Crystal and the Great Reggae Icons

Suga Roy, Conrad Crystal and the Great Reggae Icons

Suga Roy, Conrad Crystal and the Great Reggae Icons

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A dynamic duo navigates a galaxy of stars.

Sampler

I wasn’t all that familiar with Suga Roy and Conrad Crystal before this collection came my way, but if the esteemed company they keep here is any indication, they must be a pretty big deal who know how to pull some strings. They certainly hold their own vocally where they could have easily been overwhelmed by the (indeed iconic) bigger names with whom they sing and chant, so I’ve got to hand it to them for that. Plus it doesn’t hurt that a few very familiar songs and riddims are revisited along with some inspired originality.

There’s goodness from the get-go as Toots Hibbert chimes in on the opening “God Bless You”, sparring with Roy and Crystal over a nyabinghi/hip hop arrangement. Roots are planted deep via a wicked cover of “See Dem a Come” featuring Gyptian, Max Romeo chiming in on “Chant Rasta”, the Congos helping to re-cast Third World’s “Jah Glory” as simply “Glory” and Dennis Brown (okay, so not all the guest artists showed up live in the studio) getting respectful embellishment on “Jah Can Do It”. If all that’s not enough for you, consider Marcia Griffiths and Tashina adding pure elegance to “Mama Say”, Dillinger having a hand in making “Cocaine Round There Brain” a considerably better song than his own referenced original, the serious fun of Roy and Crystal joining Eek a Mouse for a trip to “Disney Land” and getting smoky with U Roy on “High Grade” or the stunning “Early This Morning”, which closes the album in fine style as the two engage in some conscious testimony alongside Big Youth. And speaking of youth, Roy and Crystal acknowledge the plight of that demographic with “Youths Dem a Cry” a lament that sees them joined by– gasp! –no guests whatsoever.

There’s more, including turns by Lee Perry, Inner Circle and others, but trust me, you don’t need any more specifics. Just know that this richly star-studded affair overcomes the occasional misstep and more than lives up to the promise of its title.

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Posted by Promotance on 04.16.2011
Yendis talks to Suga Roy and Conrad Crystal 19.4.11 @ 20:00 GMT on ReggaeSpace.com
Suga Roy & Conrad Crystal have established themselves as being one of the most solid and consistent duos in the history of Reggae music and in doing so they've managed to attract quite a bit of attention in the process.

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