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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

ANTHONY B.

By Judson Kilpatrick
Published June 27, 2006

My Hope
Minor7Flat5

During his decade as one of the major talents on the conscious-dancehall scene, Anthony B. has recorded for a number of top reggae labels. Therefore, seeing him on Spain’s tiny Minor7Flat5, one might understandably be wary. However, the producer Andreas “Brotherman” Christophersen and the Al.Ta.Fa.An team have done an excellent job, using many of Jamaica’s best musicians and singers to provide lively roots-style accompaniment to Anthony B.’s positive messages. The featured artists are not as well known. The German reggae sensation Gentleman lights a fire under the up-tempo “Face Off” (previously released on Gentleman’s album Confidence). “Don’t Cry” is a stirring duet featuring the singer Mark Wonder. And Al.Ta.Fa.An’s Taffari brings a classic, rootsy vibe to “Rise Up.” On the inspirational title track, Anthony B. urges young people to “spread your wings and fly away,” adding that “you can be what you want to.” The moving love song “Strong Shoulder” celebrates the incredible support that wives can provide. And the less-serious “Dancehall Thing” is notable for its use of a string section over the hard-core beats. Practically every cut is strong, making this one of Anthony B.’s best.