In the last couple of months several French backing bands and production teams have hooked up with Jamaican singers to release albums. Derajah and Ras Daniel Ray teamed up with The Donkey Jaw Bone and Tu Shung Peng for their debut albums Paris is Burning and Ray of Light.
Rod Taylor started his career in the mid 70’s with Greenwich Farm-based producer Bertram Brown, with whom he cut the rough and tough singles Ethiopian Kings and In the Right Way.
His talent was soon recognized and he began recording together with Mikey Dread, Linval Thompson, Prince Jammer and Henry “Junjo” Lawes. Fast forward 20 years and his album Shining Bright for UK label Jah Warrior. And since the early 2000’s Rod Taylor has been recording for various producers as well as being the object of two excellent compilations with hard to find material.
Original Roots collects 14 cuts, seven sung by Rod Taylor and seven with lead vocals from Bob Wasa. Both singers vocal style suits the one drop backing well with the mood often set by a delicious keyboard loop. Rod Taylor’s playful style rides the riddims perfectly, while Bob Wasa’s more laid-back deeper voice gives his cuts a darker tone.
Lyrically this album leans strong towards culturally conscious roots dealing with justice, inequality and the state of the world today.
Original Roots is a strong set of hard roots reggae and one of the best albums so far this year.