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Heat by Little Roy

Heat by Little Roy

Heat by Little Roy

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The phrase "roots with quality" is particularly apt here

Sampler

Earl “Little Roy” Lowe is a foundation artist who hasn't always received a fair shake in the business. Yet he has endured, staying true to his musical and spiritual principles all the while. The good news is he’s released a second album with London’s Pharos records: featuring fresh licks of many old tunes and using cream musicians from the UK, where he now resides. If anything it’s an improvement on 2006’s impressive 'Children Of The Most High', which also featured recuts in a timeless style.

Little Roy - The HeatRoy’s single Bongo Nyah (voiced in his teens with the core of the Wailers band as the Hippie Boys) was the first overtly Rasta tune to top the Jamaican charts in 1969. Since then he has noticed that many people who used to reject him for his faith have become Rasta themselves and he calls them out with opener Falla Falla on the massive rhythm. The fittingly-titled My Religion he first recorded as a member of the 12 Tribes organization - with whom he would part acrimoniously - and here he is reclaiming the song for himself.

Others, such as his Tafari label classic Jah Can Count On I, he has re-visited due to a restless perfectionism he puts down to his clear head since giving up smoking three years ago. The title track and the sufferers’ story Membership Card were included on the last Pharos effort. But their typically durable messages, which have seen Roy’s compositions covered all through the dancehall era - and even on Nas and Damian’s album - mean they sit just as well here in new form.

The rhythms produced by Roy and Mafia and Fluxy, with Crucial Tony Phillips, Stephen Marley Wright, Buttons Tenyue and the Topcats’ Japanese sax superwoman Miss Megoo will please the purists. However, Roy and his personally-chosen band haven't simply created a single period retro roots release like, say, Earl Zero’s 'And God Said To Man'. The reality ballad Mama mixes groundation drumming with an almost country and western feel. And while it might seem Roy, who cares little for Jamaican reggae fashions, is mainly interested in re-ploughing old furrows, his next project - a Nirvana covers set suggested by Prince Fatty’s Mike Pelanconi - suggests otherwise. In the meantime, this personal, well-executed venture hopefully closes the door on past tribulations and is a well-deserved success. The phrase “roots with quality” is particularly apt here.

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Posted by Clifford on 07.23.2011
Up-standing

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