I choose Ray Darwin

My first encounter with Jamaican singer Ray Darwin was through BMC’s excellent reggae mixes. First the People’s Choice mix in 2007 and then the celebratory (Nothing can Touch) My 45 mix in 2009. Both named after the Ray Darwin tunes by the same names.

Even though both tunes received great response when issued Ray Darwin hasn’t been over exposed at all. He has actually been rather quiet over the years. Until now.

His debut album with its boisterous title People’s Choice reached the streets on July 19th.

It compiles 15 tracks recorded in Germany, Italy, Jamaica and the U.S and is produced by Ray Darwin himself, sometimes with a little help from Piet Abele, Rootical Records, Philip Meckseper and Lloyd Campbell.

The latter is also responsible for putting out People’s Choice through Joe Fraser Records, a label recognized for some fine lovers rock and roots reggae.

People’s Choice gathers both relicks and original riddims. The former includes the title track, a version of the Mean Girl riddim originally recorded at Studio One, and New York Minute, a superb cut of The Wailing Souls Jah Give Us Life.

Ray Darwin is a great singer in the soulful Beres Hammond vein. Sometimes on fire, but never aggressive. Sometimes a crooner, like in the Sara Lugo duet Good for You.

Therefore it’s a shame to ruin the singing with auto-tune, which is the case on the strong album opener Time Flies.

Despite the too heavy use of auto-tune on some tunes, this is a strong album that needs your support. Do I as do and give Ray Darwin your vote.


Filed under Record reviews

7 responses to “I choose Ray Darwin

  1. I was not even aware of the auto tuning–I guess for the critical experts it is obvious…But i am so move by the songs that it hardly matters to me.I also like Gappy ranks and even i can tell auto tuning was used..I do not know what the cure is about auto tuning? I just went back and listened to the peoples choice album…and especially the first track. The effects is so subtle that it hardly needs mentioning..I will definately take your advise and choose Ray Darwin ..It is a big relief to NOT hear another gun, marijuana and bad boy typical lyrics..a BIG relief…a breath of fresh air..intelligent creative writing..rare,,bless ..

    • Hi! Thanks for your comment. Yes, you are correct – the auto-tune is subtle. But I feel that Ray Darwin has such a great voice that the auto-tune effects didn’t add anything. Therefore I believe it deserved a mentioning. I really like this album. Might be a contender for one of the spots on albums of the year. And stay tuned for an interview with Ray Darwin. Soon come. / Erik

  2. my sentiments exactly, it is ASHAME to spoil such a good review with making such a big deal about auto tuning…i read this article because i am a fan of ray darwin..and after listening to the songs and then reading your article again..I feel like you invited your readers for dinner and then asked them to pay as they leave…It is like being concern about the color of a house that was given to homeless people…I trust you are intelligent enough to get my point..Ede style..

    • Hey! Thanks for your comment. Sorry you feel that way. But I believe that the auto-tune deserved a mentioning, since it in my view didn’t add anything. Sure, it’s suble, but it’s nonetheless present. Stay tuned for an interview with Ray Darwin. Coming soon. Cheers / Erik

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