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Teach Them Right by Apple Gabriel

Teach Them Right by Apple Gabriel

Teach Them Right by Apple Gabriel

By on - 2 comments

Righteous teachings in consummate vocal craft.


We've heard the Dutch double-team of JahSolidRock and Not Easy At All Productions put their glossy but undeniably rootsy rhythms behind a modern throwback to the age of the reflective Rastaman (for Chezidek's 'Judgement Time'). Their latest venture, however, features a genuine elder statesman from that era - Israel Vibration's ex-frontman Apple Gabriel, no less.

Apple GabrielGabriel’s back-story is one that puts most Reality TV singers in the shade. Since his split from the group he met in a Kingston polio clinic, further health problems left him homelessness on the streets of Georgia. That he has recorded an album at all  even would be remarkable even if the music were of middling artistic merit. All the better then, that it is a considerable success.

Apple's delicate dried-honey voice - with its trademark stuttering vibrato - takes both lead and backing vocals, over Not Easy’ gleaming arrangements, heavily processed horns, bubbling sfx, and those lengthy tape delays. Like fellow album-of-the-year contender Gappy Ranks, Gabriel’s rough-sleeping life informs his perspective. First track Mr Conman warns “Same man you pass on the way up, you pass on the way down” to a coolly menacing swinging backbeat; while In The Jungle (on the rhythm for Wildlife's Too Tuff) uses the familiar phrase “cold ground was my bed” with a bite and conviction not often felt in recent years. Even during the record’s lyrically upbeat second act the performance never drops its passion and punch. On Gifted Ones - essentially a list of quotations from soul singers past and present - Michael Jackson's “want to be starting something” line takes on a newfound fire.

At a time when the Jamaican media seems belatedly perplexed by the foreign success of the B side as a stand-alone art form (instead of a perfunctory canvas for deejays to ride) the two organizations have taken the much-missed sensible middle ground. They've continued their tradition of the "showcase album" where each tune melts into a Nether-never-land of dub. 

As a sufferer of polio and destitution Gabriel is no stranger to prejudice. On the same rhythm as Chezidek's Hypocrite World, Give Them Love speaks out unashamedly against anti-gay and religious intolerance. Proverbial lyrics aside, there is much to learn from these righteous teachings. The label duo demonstrate once more how co-operation can get results in these uncertain times while Apple Gabriel gives his younger peers a lesson in consummate vocal craft. Though there's nothing that quite matches Chezidek's blazing opener Ganja Tree, this is a more consistent album than 'Judgement Time' and one you should own.

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Read comments (2)

Posted by pierre marc simonin on 12.29.2010
Nice touch of classic roots. Left to be done? Join skelly and wiss and get them in a studio with a proper band like this one.

Posted by Rootsman on 12.30.2010
Big album indeed.

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