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Nostradamus by Winston McAnuff

Nostradamus by Winston McAnuff

Nostradamus by Winston McAnuff

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This will please Winston's fans, both old and new.

Sampler

After his genre crossing experiments A Drop (With Camille Baz Baz’s Baz Baz Orchestra) and Paris Rockin’ (with Java) the electric dread Winston McAnuff has finally returned to his roots. This will please hardcore reggae fans; particularly in Winston’s adopted home of France, where some disliked Paris Rockin’s use of the accordion based “bal musette” they had been trying to escape since birth.

Nostradamus by Winston McAnuff

Outside France, however, these arrangements sounded exotic and brave, and Paris Rockin’ has been hailed as a modern classic by music lovers around the world. The question is, can McAnuff take the spirit of his later works into an album of straight roots and sate both his traditional fanbase and his new less reggae-centric followers alike?

The answer is a resounding “yes”. Nostradamus, produced by Clive Hunt and featuring Earl Chinna Smith on guitar and Leroy Horsemouth Wallace on drums, fuses hard, clean (slightly cold) roots arrangements with Winston’s more mature songwriting for a recording whose 12 cuts all say “I’m a hit”. As with Paris Rockin’, some reveal themselves early, such as the title track – riding a twin onslaught of bass and piano, inspired by Jimmy Radway’s rhythm to Desmond Young’s Warning, with an anti war lyric written by Winston’s brother John. Takin’ It All, the only non-reggae composition on the disc, also stands out. But, soon enough, every tune gets into your head, without ever using a hackneyed pop contrivance or falling back on a dull, roots-by-numbers device.

Nostradamus is another quality offering by an underrated star who continues to blossom with age, but carries one small caveat. Despite reggae’s down to earth image the best Jamaican musicians have never been hostage to received notions of authenticity. For his next album this hardcore reggae fan hopes Winston ignores the doubters, and lets his maverick ideas flow.

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