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Herbs Music and Food by Guinney Pepper

Herbs Music and Food by Guinney Pepper

Herbs Music and Food by Guinney Pepper

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New album from the familiar voiced singer featuring an all Jamaican all star cast


Guinney Pepper - Herbs Music and Food

Gratifying as all the outernational projects featuring Caribbean talent and US or Euro producers and vice versa may be, it’s good to hear an album of “classical” reggae recorded in JA by Jamaicans. This new release from Guinney Pepper – whose name has been spelled Ginny and Ginnie on past 7’s - was laid down at Tuff Gong, Mixing Lab and Harry J’s, with predominantly live instrumentation by Sly & Robbie, Clive Hunt, Dean Fraser and David Madden. And – overall – it’s a big success.

Issued on UK label Love Injection, Herbs Music and Food places his Garnet Silk-like voice over some nice clean but rootical foundations not dissimilar in their mix of traits from different eras to Natural Black’s Walter Frazier produced Cool Nuh Black. Stand out tunes include the tightly arranged We Pray (with haunting precise backing vocals), the cheeky braggadocio of Woman In A Bundle (How Could This Lion Be Humble?), the authentic old time sounds of As I Rise (on a remake of Niney’s Have No Fear rhythm) and muscular digi-drum roundabout Seli.

One or two efforts are slightly less successful. The set gets off to a shaky start with the optimistic yet somewhat ponderous The Power Of Love, whose Christmassy synths undermine the unschooled emotion of Pepper’s vocals, so that his universal message of harmony ends up sounding platitudinous and fairly limp. His impersonation of a bubbling water pipe on second piece Lick The Chalice is ear grabbing fun - but the song’s languid take on the Tu Sheng Peng/Norwegian Wood rhythm also leaves a little to be desired. Luckily, the record straightens up and flies right from this point on – although some real horns from the aforementioned session men would have done wonders for the title track.

So, while more fussy roots lovers may want to skip the front end of the disc, the bulk of the album makes this a worthy purchase. Not least because roots reggae in the place of its birth is something we should all embrace.

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