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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

Free Joseph

By Judson Kilpatrick
Published October 28, 2005

Speaking In Tongues
Far Island Vision FIVD003

Ironically, considering the title, this set is completely instrumental. It features reggae singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Fitzroy “Free” Joseph playing flute over dub versions from his forthcoming vocal album Believers And Non Believers. These haunting tracks are reminiscent of Augustus Pablo’s classic melodica dubs, but the drums are punchier, and there are noticeable jazz/funk undercurrents. Though he hails from Dominica, the “Nature Island of the Caribbean,” Free Joseph now spends half of his time in Concord, NH, and the album was recorded in New York City. “Chuck-A-Dub,” in particular, exhibits strong American influences. With its funky organ riffs and careening drum rolls, it sounds like a long-lost “acid jazz” cut from 1990. The organ riffs of “Electric Bob” are laid over a rhythm propulsive enough to dance to, and there’s even a rock-style guitar solo at the end. The catchy, up-tempo “Simple” could be a reggae version of that perkiest of hits: Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking On Sunshine.” So, while the idea of flute solos over dub might sound like the ultimate “chill-out” music, this set will keep you groovin’.