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Rise Up by Anthony B

Rise Up by Anthony B

Rise Up by Anthony B

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Business as usual for the Anthony B Frenchie alliance.


Anthony B’s striking yet limited delivery is less suited to the album experience than the short, sharp shock of a killer 45. But, while he’s no student of the bel-canto, his passion, grit and consistently meaningful lyrics (in his roots output at least) have ensured his status as a modern reggae great.

Anthony B - Rise upHis new release continues his association with London-based Parisian producer Frenchie, for whom he cut 2004’s 'Powers Of Creation', 2005’s 'Black Star' and 2007’s 'Higher Meditation'. Of these 'Black Star' felt the most like a fully unified album, and therefore sets the standard for the duo’s work.

Frenchie loves remaking vintage rhythms as much as building new ones, and for this reason could be described as a European answer to Massive B’s Bobby Konders. Unlike Konders, Frenchie’s creations are a sometimes-jarring split between organic (live instrumentation) and brightly synthetic (usually synthesised string) elements. Some may come out better than others, but each is distinctive in its sound.

'Rise Up' bears all the hallmarks of the Frenchie/B partnership. There are collaborations: with Horace Andy on Enter The Kingdom of Zion, with Lukie D on Be Wise (which appeared on Lukie’s 'Deliver Me' album) and Chezidek (on Better Haffi Come). There are retreads of established rhythms like Party In Session, Blackboard Jungle and General Penitentiary, over which, Anthony barks out strong couplets like “I was a slave working for Backra, now them vex to see me own the plantation and tractor” for big UK sound system style herb tune Nothing But The Highest. And there is plenty of tough, less familiar material like Iley Iley Iley Selassie I, whose 70s Hammond organ and swooping faux-cello showcase the producer’s old-meets-new approach at its best. Occasionally Anthony overstretches himself, holding the notes on Rise Again until the chorus becomes a dirge, but mostly he gets the balance of shouting and strained - surprisingly emotive - singing just right.

Anthony B has been criticised of late for straying too far from the conscious path. 'Rise Up', though not as consistent as 'Black Star', should satisfy the critics that he maintains his roots.

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Read comments (1)

Posted by kay on 07.25.2010
Its laughable to say Anthony Bishop is a limited deliverer. However opnions may vary depending on tastes and thus critique is also prone to bias. Whatever might be said of The artist, Rise up is yet more testament to the avid reggea roots lover that the bishop has not forgotten his flock...

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