Roots reggae veteran Max Romeo’s children have stepped into the spotlight. A few years ago his son dropped the scorching Grow My Dread and about a month ago his daughter Xana Romeo put out her debut album Wake Up.
It has been a busy year for the Romeo’s. First Max Romeo’s own full-length Horror Zone and then Xana Romeo’s debut. Two solid sets, but with disparate sounds.
Horror Zone was a throwback to the 70s and certainly a very vintage sounding effort, whereas Wake Up is contemporary with a more modern soundscape.
Wake Up collects eleven cuts of which five are dub versions. The audio landscape is thick and ethereal with both brass and melodica. Xana Romeo sings with great confidence and heavy patois and her musical journey will be a delight to follow.
Last week John Legend dropped his latest album titled Wake Up! The album is a collaboration with hip-hop band The Roots.
Wake Up! is essentially a cover album and features eleven versions of great songs from artists such as Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway. The songs that get the John Legend & The Roots treatment are mostly in the soul and R&B vein, with one notable exception for reggae fans.
Humanity (Love the Way It Should Be) was originally recorded by the late and great Prince Lincoln Thompson. The version included on Wake Up! isn’t nearly as nice as the original, but it certainly shows that the expressive and emotional John Legend should embrace his interest in reggae.
However, John Legend isn’t a rookie when it comes to reggae. Last year his duets with Estelle and Buju Banton hit the streets. And those are actually well worth picking up, especially the remixes provided by Curtis Lynch.
Hopefully John Legend – and other soul singers as well – will pick up on Jamaican tunes and make their own reinterpretations.