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Black Gold by Toussaint

Black Gold by Toussaint

Black Gold by Toussaint

By on - 1 comment

The very fascinating debut from Toussaint with I Grade Records

Sampler

The act of attempting to combine different musical genres with one another is a practise which has seemingly been around just as long as the music itself and one could even make the claim that it is the attempted combination these various styles which has lead to the many different forms of beautiful music that we currently do have. In Reggae in particular, while things are similar, what differs is that the range and styles of music that is usually combined with Reggae is somewhat limited. Hip-Hop, for instance, is certainly a familiar 'sparring partner' with Dancehall and even Roots Reggae at times, but as far as Hip-Hop's very close cousin, Soul Music, it just doesn't happen very often and when/if it does, it certainly happens neither to the degree of efficiency, nor through the channels of 'Black Gold' from Toussaint and I Grade Records.

As if attempting to create a beautiful new subgenre, the album is listed as 'Soul Roots', which is a linking of modern Roots Reggae along with American Soul. For the American born and raised Toussaint to have actually done this is one thing and a very interesting matter, but for him to have done it with Laurent 'Tippy' Alfred and I Grade Records, the leading label for Reggae in the Virgin Islands, is another which pushes the level of fascination in this release to an even higher plain. It is completely unheard of for such an artist to not only jump into Reggae, but to do so within a situation seemingly so perfected and calibrated to make that quintessential Virgin Islands sound of Roots Reggae which has backed the likes of Dezarie, Vaughn Benjamin & Midnite, Ras Army and others - Well, that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever - All the more perplexing is the fact that by its end, 'Black Gold' is a bonafide winner, without question.

Toussaint and company gave a taste of what was to come on 'Black Gold' when, earlier this year, when they pushed the first single of the album, the lovely and vibrant Be You. In terms of sound, it is one of the most fitting characterizations of what Soul Roots music is and to no surprise the song is a standout here. What is surprising is that, despite how glowing Be You is, listeners will be very pleased to know that it isn't the brightest star around. That distinction goes to the album's opener, the supernova that is Nobody Knows. This tune is just very comforting and well carried out to the point where how personal and reflective it is in nature is so easily conveyed to the listener. Also shining bright and perhaps brighter than the first single is the big later tune, Patient, seemingly another very personal tune which chimes in on levels in regards to perseverance and self-determination.

One of the most interesting vibes of the already completely fascinating project is that Toussaint's perspective is quite different than your 'typical' Caribbean Reggae artist and you can definitely hear that in some of the words he uses and in some of his subject matters. A tune like Conquering Cocaine (which apparently deals with the singer's own history of trouble with the drug) is a strong example of that, as is the somewhat gospel nature of This Song, Hello My Beautiful (which is nearly masterful) and a few others as well such as the R&B tinged tunes Unforgettable and Changing. Hardcore Reggae heads need not fret or chalk this one up as something to pass because within those tunes is enough of a Reggae vibes to satisfy and there're big tunes such as the title track, the album's very significant and powerful former title track, Roots In A Modern Time as well as 'Black Gold's' only combination tune, Rise & Fall which features the singer alongside the flaming hot Guyanese chanter, Jahdan Blakkamoore.

Throughout the album, Toussaint proves himself capable of toeing this seemingly very narrow but very strong line between Reggae and Soul Music and it is to his credit that he seems able to play on both sides of that line and ultimately do so without alienating fans who wish he would jump back on the other side. The prevailing sentiment that Toussaint leaves with his brand of 'Soul Roots' on 'Black Gold' is that although these two genres (and perhaps any two genres) are rarely joined, doing so it isn't as difficult or impossible as may've been thought - At least not for Toussaint. Well done.

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Posted by Pat on 08.20.2010
I am very much impress with this young man well done.

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