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Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band (Bonus Tracks Version)

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Album Review

After their full coverage of classic albums from both Radiohead and Pink Floyd, the collective known as the Easy Star All-Stars go way back to the band and the album that pretty much changed everything. The accent, as always, is on the Easy part of the band's name, meaning this easy-skanking tribute to Sgt. Pepper's flows effortlessly, never getting caught up in overly ambitious detours or ridiculously huge arrangements. Tracks like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" with guest vocalist Frankie Paul and "Within You Without You" with natural mystic Matisyahu have slick studio touches, but the heavy lifting is left up to the performances, and both guest vocalists are perfect choices who simply nail it. Having been on the road frequently the previous two years pays off, as the players are suitably loose, creating grooves that feel natural and alive. The ever growing importance of the horn section comes to fruition as they shrink some of the original album's elaborate arrangements into smaller packages, ones that could be imagined in a live setting or — in the case of Ranking Roger's "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" — at some wicked ska-fueled pool party. The warm voice of Michael Rose closes the set on a dubby "A Day in the Life," a cover version drenched in reverb with a clever imitation of the locked groove gibberish found at the end of the original Pepper's LP. [Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band was also released with a bonus 7" single feature two dub versions.]


Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '00s, '10s

New York City's Michael G. (born Michael Goldwasser) and Ticklah (born Victor Axelrod) are the two longtime friends who form the Easy Star All-Stars. Goldwasser had been playing guitar with the R&B band Special Request, but after five active years the band broke up. Around this time, the guitarist turned his attention to reggae and formed the Easy Star All-Stars with former Special Request keyboardist Ticklah. Ticklah had been gigging with Cooly's Hot Box, worked with DJ Spinna and Dr. Israel, and...
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Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band (Bonus Tracks Version), Easy Star All-Stars
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