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Various Artists

Reggae Kulcha Volume 1

Review by Gary Hill

One might think from the title of this compilation that you’d know everything there is to know about it. The truth is, while everything here has some reggae in the mix, not everything is really what I’d call “reggae.” This is quite an entertaining set, though. It has some great music with a wide range of sounds. If you dig reggae or reggae inspired pop music, you should check it out. It’s worthwhile.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Miami Vice - Jahfe

Starting with old school reggae, this gets an infusion of R&B as it goes out to the song proper. This is bouncy and fun. It includes some hip hop, too.

Another Man – Innasense
The raps mid-track are pretty much pure reggae. Beyond that, the reggae influence is less prominent. This feels very much like a modern pop tune with some hints of Doo Wop music. The keyboard elements lend a different sound yet. This is an accessible number.
Rain - Rootz Underground featuring Sherita Lewis
Here is the first cut I’d think of as really reggae. Still, the vocal appearance by Lewis brings more of a mainstream R&B sound. This is bouncy and quite tasty. I like the horns on it.
Break Bread - Bobby Hustle
The horns are solid here, too. This is the most pure reggae track we’ve heard to this point. It’s also one of the strongest pieces here. I like it a lot. There are some bits of space rock keyboards at times on this thing.
Peace of Mind - First Hit
First off, I love this song. The thing is, I don’t really hear a lot of reggae on this. There really isn’t that much rap here. Sure, the bass that drives it fits. There is a bridge that’s decidedly reggae. There are some other little bits of reggae here and there. Beyond that, though, this is a great modern pop meets alternative rock tune. It’s one of the highlights of the set, reggae or not.
Good to Be Loved - House of David Gang
This bouncy reggae number has some great horn work in it. It’s a fun piece.
Ella Busca - I Nesta featuring Muoses
With lyrics in Spanish, this is one of the best songs here. It’s got a lot of energy and a lot of pure reggae. We get some rapping and there are some R&B elements at times. All in all, this is just a fun tune with a lot charm and magic.
It Is Alright - Natty Remo
The bouncy reggae on this number is tasty. I like the horns and overall this is another strong tune. Some space elements are heard on some of the bits that dance across the top.
Youths Dem Ball - Hor!zen
With a lot more horn heavy arrangement, this might be the best tune here. It just oozes cool. There is a cool excursion later in the track into some spacey jazz territory. They add a little blast of Santana at the end of this.
Come Back Down - Predator Dub Assassins
Feeling a bit like something from UB40, this is an accessible reggae tune that works well.
Hit the Ground Running - Arise Roots
Rock guitar opens this. It’s another classy reggae tune.
Reggae Party - Barry & The Penetrators
This horn heavy reggae stomper is another winner. It’s a great way to end this thing in style. They even turn in a bit that might be described as “reggae thrash.”
 
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