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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

ANTHONY B

By Judson Kilpatrick
Published September 23, 2005

Black Star
Greensleeves

For years, Anthony B has been one of the leading voices of dancehall reggae’s conscious scene. Promisingly, “World A Reggae Music,” the first song on his latest set, uses the same rhythm as Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s smash “Welcome To Jamrock,” and the album rarely eases up from there. Produced by Frenchie, the lively roots-based tracks offer the ideal support for Anthony B’s plaintive vocals. Veteran singer Ras Shiloh appears on the prayerful “Give Thanks,” while Jah Cure croons the message of  “Poor Man’s Cry.” On every song, Anthony B tears up the mic: He nearly loses his voice during his fiery performance on “Praise Jah,” and he’s at his best on faster-paced numbers like the ska-style lesson “Black History.” Other highlights include the anti-violence “Don’t Buss Your Gun,” the upbeat “Sunshine” and the driven, defiant “Rastafari Crown.” However, this reviewer has one question regarding “Come Free My Mind”: Given Jamaicans’ famous aversion to homosexuality, just what does the lyric “I need you where the sun don’t shine” mean exactly? But seriously, it’s a powerful set.

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   ASWAD