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Gideon Boot

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Album Review

Richie Spice, younger brother of the legendary dancehall crooner Pliers (of Chaka Demus & Pliers fame), is now four albums into a career that seems to be on a solidly upward trajectory. To his credit, on his latest effort he has chosen to focus on both conscious lyrical themes and rootsy rhythms that take full advantage of modern technology without losing sight of the one-drop verities of the old school. Gideon Boot is full of uplifting messages and rock-solid rhythms, and if some of the songs seem to be just a bit on the facile side, well, there are several others that grab hard and hold on tight. The title track nicely updates the "Johnny Too Bad" rhythm, while his version of "Bad Lamp" does the same for a classic Upsetters track — an interesting and unusual choice for a cover version. On "Getting Harder" and "Rise" his voice tends to drift a little bit flat, but "The Plane Land" is a wonderful complaint about constantly being searched for drugs in airports, and "Why" boils everything down to a spare and minimalist groove and lyrics that are beautifully sung. The album ends on a touchingly hopeful and encouraging note with "Hang On." Richie Spice's heart is clearly in the right place, and when his voice is in the right place as well, the results are consistently impressive.


Born: 1975 in Rock Hall, St. Andrew, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '00s

Kingston-based dancehall singer Richie Spice (a.k.a. Richell Bonner) comes from a reggae family: his brothers include DJ Snatcher Dogg, vocalist Spanner Banner, and producer Pliers of Chakademus and Pliers. Spice began his career opening his brothers' shows and started recording singles with producers like Clive Hunt and Dennis "Star" Hayles in the mid-'90s....
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Gideon Boot, Richie Spice
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