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Album Review

Before signing on with the Shanachie label and going relatively big-time, this Ithaca, NY-based roots reggae band made this remarkably well-realized and nicely produced debut album. The band's distinguishing characteristics are already well established here: an overriding concern with lyrics of spiritual and social uplift, a rhythmic style based on the classical pre-dancehall reggae of the mid-'70s, and an explicit sonic debt to such great Jamaican studios of the period as Dynamic and, especially, Lee "Scratch" Perry's Black Ark; in fact, "Vanity," on which bandleader Kevin Kinsella sings in a sweet falsetto while the drums push their way through tight compression and guitars splash around in a puddle of reverb, sounds like a specific tribute to Perry's work with singer Junior Murvin. The loping rockers beat of "Rockstone" leads into a dark and mystical one-drop groove on "Superstar," and "Give Some Love" drops a little steel guitar into the mix to add a strangely countrified element to the mix. Though maybe not quite as great overall as Among Them, All Time stands easily with the best of this fine band's recorded work.

Biography

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Named in honor of the legendary abolitionist, reggae unit John Brown's Body was led by singer/guitarist Kevin Kinsella, a longtime fan of Caribbean music who formed the group Tribulations while attending college in Boston in 1989. Three years later they took top honors in the annual Yamaha Soundcheck contest, touring Japan as a result; in 1993 Tribulations also recorded in Jamaica, releasing the LPs The Gate and Daddy Good Pieces before disbanding. Striving for a more organic roots reggae sound,...
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All Time, John Brown's Body
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