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Reggae Knights by Israel Vibration

Reggae Knights by Israel Vibration

Reggae Knights by Israel Vibration

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An interesting, mellow and diverse listen.

Sampler

Israel Vibration

As is so often the case in reggae, schisms between foundation groups can result in various members fighting for our attention. For just as former Israel Vibration lead singer Apple Gabriel has exploded back onto the scene with his powerful new album 'Teach Them Right' (for Dutch labels JahSolidRock and Not So Easy At All Productions), Cecil "Skelly" Spence and Lacelle "Wiss" Bulgin, the two remaining constituents of the harmony trio, have released their own latest, bearing the grand title 'Reggae Knights'.

The release comes via the French conglomerate Mediacom, who got the Congos back together with Lee Perry for the mixed quality collaboration 'Back In The Black Ark'. Israel Vibration - Reggae KnightsCertainly, like the Congos effort, and in contrast to Apple's tense, visceral if rather traditional roots record, this album contains a lot of different musical directions. There's a laid-back summery recut of their debut recording Bad Intention; a banjo plucking mento number in the humorous yet patriotic ode to Jamaica, Cantankerous; and even a tub-thumping dancehall piece called Original Gangster - where the disparity between the hazy vocals and hard beats is an intriguing if not entirely successful melange. Judging by the gentle pop ballad New York City, while Apple has been living a tough life in Atlanta, Skelly and Wiss have been leading a more leisurely existence in their adopted US home.

Musicians include members of the Roots Radics, Robbie Shakespeare, Dean Frazer and Nambo Robinson, and like Burning Spear’s 2009 Grammy winner 'Jah Is Real' (which used the same engineer, Christopher Daley) this record has a good-time boogie demeanour and a fairly soft MOR sound. But while it might lack the unity and diamond-edged social commentary of Apple's album, this is something of a grower - from a more Jamaican perspective than the comparatively Eurocentric 'Teach Them Right'.  An interesting, mellow and diverse listen: with Cantankerous and the deep roots tracks Dig Up The Ground, If You Do Bad, Old Town and Poor and Humble standing out above the rest.

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