About a year ago veteran roots legend Ronnie Davis – of The Westmorelites, The Tennors and The Itals – dropped his sixth solo album Iyacoustic, a 14 track set where he covered reggae classics and sings some of his own biggest hits set to unplugged and acoustic arrangements. Only five months later after its release he sadly passed at age 66 suffering a major stroke.
I missed the album at the time of its release, but caught it only a few days ago and have been spinning it on repeat ever since. It’s his first in over 20 years and it’s superb. Such a pity that he didn’t share his heartfelt and emotive singing more during these years. His voice is just as great on these new recordings as it was back in the days.
Ronnie Davis delivers ultra-solid performances throughout the album, but best of the bunch are his versions of Got to Go Home, also recorded by The Itals as Ina Dis Yah Time, the dread No Weak Heart, the blazing and burning False Leaders and particularly the version of John Holt’s Strange Things. The musical arrangements and Ronnie Davis’ singing are exceptional and goes straight to the heart.
Singing with a band or singing a cappella or just backed by a guitar might be something like holding a presentation with or without a PowerPoint. It can be a demanding setup where you are naked, vulnerable and exposed.
The latest addition to the increasing number of acoustic or unplugged reggae albums is Jahcoustix’ Acoustic Frequency, an uncut reworking of his excellent and very rootsy Frequency album, which was originally released last year.
This brand new acoustic version comes with the same amount of cuts, but three of these are dub versions and included are also a few exclusives. So, it’s not a full album that has been recut. No worries though.
Acoustic Frequency is just as great as its uplifting predecessor. It offers a new and different perspective to his music. It’s intimate, personal and raw with an organic feel throughout the set.
According to an interview with Jahcoustix it only took five days to record the album and he and his producers – Irievibrations – didn’t put too much thought into the production. They just let the vibes flow. And simplicity is often a tasty recipe for success. Acoustic Frequency is a telling example of that.