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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By JUDSON KILPATRICK
Published March 3, 2006

I’ll Be Lonely
VP

First, let’s make it clear that, despite appearances, this is one of those “riddim” albums where all 16 tracks have the same backing track, a mellow, rootsy groove based on John Holt’s lover’s-rock classic “I’ll Be Lonely.” Since listening to the same riddim over and over can get monotonous—no matter how good it is—this is best for DJs buying two copies to mix and for those who own a multi-CD changer. That said, the artists here are mostly top-shelf, and the songs go easy on the ears. George Nooks delivers an uplifting message on the album opener “Don’t Give Up” as does the great Freddie McGregor on “A Prayer.” Sanchez turns in an engaging lover’s-rock performance on “Memories.” And Wayne Wade and Melonie duet on a compelling cover of “I’ll Be Lonely” (Melonie’s solo on “True Love” is also wonderful). Other notables include Pam Hall, Glen Washington, Nadie Sutherland, Mikey Spice, Twiggy and Fiona. The songs alternate between positive/religious material and romantic yearnings. It’s as smooth as guava jelly all the way through.