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Jah Pearl and Bouddha Sticks - Motherland

Jah Pearl and Bouddha Sticks - Motherland

Jah Pearl and Bouddha Sticks - Motherland

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Steeped in the roots tradition, but with a very sound of now feel.


Released late last year as download, 'Motherland' the debut album from Jah Pearl and Bouddha Sticks has now just been released on CD. The album was partly recorded at Kingston, Jamaica's Tuff Gong studio and as you would expect from something baring a Tuff Gong name the album is steeped in the roots tradition, but with a very "sound of now" feel over which Jah Pearl displays an array of vocal styles, from a competent singing voice, to DJ chat and singjay with apparent ease.

'Mountain Top' gets the album going with a cheerful and free flowing vibe as he looks down from the sanctuary of spiritual and social pureness of the ‘mountain top’ and watches Babylon fall and burn. Next up is 'Burning Fire', heaping yet more fire and brimstone on the wicked, with the help of Anthony John. This is the first of a few collaborations that appear with selection of artists. I really like the riddim on this one, deep soothing bass, choppy piano and shuffling organ with a solid beat and catchy chant along chorus.

The other collaborations feature the likes of Chezidek (he seems to show up everywhere at the moment, not that I'm complaining), Spectacular and Mabrakat.
Indeed Mabrakat's vocal on, the self explanatory 'Poverty', is almost crazy sounding, with a delivery that had me thinking of US TV evangelists at times, with his pleading and damnation in equal measures, like I say mad but strangely charismatic. Spectacular joins Pearl for a wicked bit of gruff singjay, Rasta promoting on 'Who We Are', while the reliable as night follows day Chezidek applies his unique quavering vocal to a great solid roots tune of struggle and winning through that is 'Rising' and making it possibly the best track here.

Other big tunes that are worth a mention are the bass and echo heavy 'Likkle Breda', a high grade herbalist tune, that leans a little towards dubstep and title track 'Motherland', not a song of repatriation as the title on its own may lead you to think, but an intelligent song that looks to the world as the 'Motherland' rather than just the usual Africa, and speaks of taking care of our planet and showing it some respect, on the back of a simple and classic roots vibe.

There are a couple of weak moments on the album in the shape of 'Baby Girl' and 'Homeless'. Though the latter whilst not being one of the best songs on the album, the riddim is a bit flaccid for me, is at least a true song from the heart, as apparently there was a period in his life when he was in fact homeless. This experience he has been drawn on used to his advantage to bring a real sense of belief and sentiment to the song.

I should also mention that there are two tracks that are sung in Pearls native tongue 'C'est Pour Ceux' (This is for Them) and 'La Route Pour Zion' (The Road for Zion). I'm afraid to say that my French is....well lets just say limited at best, so I'm unable to comment on their lyrical content, but quality of the riddims and the vocal flow still make these, for non French speakers a joy to listen to.

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