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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean


By Tom Orr
Published March 3, 2006

Across The Red Sea
ON-U Sound

Although he remained somewhat obscure even within the reggae genre, Bim Sherman's recent death was a great loss to it. After relocating to England from Jamaica in the late ’70s, Sherman made Across The Red Sea for Adrian Sherwood's innovative On-U Sound label. Now re-released to claim the roots classic status that eluded it to some degree the first time around, it still sounds great 20 years after first emerging. The frail nuances of Sherman's voice sound like something of a cross between Horace Andy and Pablo Moses, and that voice, combined with On-U's (and Sherman's own) atmospheric but solid production style, excels on songs regarding matters of the heart, spirit and social conscience. Factor in musical backing from key players of both the Jamaican and U.K. reggae scenes (including Sly and Robbie, Bobby Ellis, Chinna Smith, George Oban and Bonjo I), and the result is a superb, last-forever sampling of a reggae great.