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United States of Africa by Luciano

United States of Africa by Luciano

United States of Africa by Luciano

By on - 2 comments

With more grit in the lyrics and the vast majority of the tracks hitting Luciano's recent best standards, it's well worth your time.


The age when devoutly religious Rasta singers dominated the Jamaican mainstream is recalled through the hugely influential 40-plus-album-veteran Luciano. His follow-up to 2008's Dean Fraser production Jah Is My Navigator, moves the lyrical focus from his special relationship with God to wider spiritual, cultural and even economic issues with impressive verve.

This time the producer's chair is occupied by one of Europe's most established rhythm commissioners, Maximum Sound's Frenchie. Fraser may not be presiding over events but he does play saxophone for this refreshingly horn driven release. Sly and Robbie are still on drum and bass, Toots’ daughter Leba is on backing vocals, while Fraser associate Duane Stephenson, who contributed to one track on Navigator, has co-written many of the songs on the disc.

The result is a far worldlier, more critical stance on current affairs from the political to the personal. In This Recession, on a seventies retro melodica layered backing, is one of the finest reggae compositions to deal with the economic downturn, using financially savvy yet well-crafted words. And the usually placid Jah Messenger sounds like he is reacting to the scandals that hit him in 2009 with the uncharacteristically blistering, previously released single, Be Aware. Over the propulsive Vineyard Town rhythm, he warns "leeches in the night they come out for your life, vampires and backbiters all want a bite".

In a year when all eyes in the reggae and mainstream media have been on Africa both the title track and the Mafia and Fluxy backed Unite Africa make the same call for a stronger continent; while the album's sole love song Nubian Queen (on the Look Who’s Crying base) has an Afro-centric edge. Invasion, over the Frenchman's familiar relick of Ernest Wilson’s I Know Myself, deals with the world community’s hypocrisy regarding the cultivation of his favourite plant. Finally, the mournful chanter Fantan Mojah guests on Frenchie’s retread of Bob Marley’s Zion train rhythm for Another Terrorist Attack.

The rhythms (bar a couple of questionable arrangements) are rootsier than Fraser's productions. Two are vintage revivals: the Chris Peckings donated Duke Reid/Paragons/Supersonics rocksteady of Moving On and the bouncing Bunny Lee/AggravatorsCreation Rebel for Hosanna.

This is not a flawless album and in places it doesn't always hang together. But with more grit in the lyrics and the vast majority of the tracks hitting Luciano's recent best standards, it's well worth your time.

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Read comments (2)

Posted by walter on 06.28.2011
Its a great CD. Please share with me other reggae CD's over the past year that are lyrically as relevant, musically as well organized conceptually, and great to listen to. Interested in other CD's that you recommend or recommend more highly.

Posted by Gilson S. Santos on 12.03.2016
Greetings my friend!
I don't speak English and I'm trying understanding the Luciano's song United States Of Africa. All I want you to do is To Write the lyrics, so that I can read and understand the fully message. May you help me?

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