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Sweep Over My Soul

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Album Review

Messenger, Luciano's second album for the Island label, was a revelation for the masses; while its predecessor leaned heavily toward the modern R&B market, this set boasted a dizzying diversity of sounds and styles, a reflection of the album bundling up a batch of recent Jamaican hits. With Luciano now signed to the reggae label VP, Sweep Over My Soul is a truer representation of the artist and his producer, Philip "Fatis" Burrell, and all the better for it. The point of entry for most fans was the gorgeous title track and the breezy bounce of "Ulterior Motive," both of which had already smashed into favor on 45s the previous year. That latter number confronts false friends, as the former Luciano's fervid devotion to Jah sweeps out, a theme that is echoed on "Talking Bout," where the singer joins forces with Morgan Heritage to discuss the glory of Jah's love. For those who have not yet seen the light, "Final Call," another popular single, gives a last warning to the heathens, set to a superb blend of soul and R&B and boasting a superb dubby production. "When Will I Be Home?" is also a dubby delight, wherein Luciano daydreams about returning to Africa. One of the most intriguing numbers is "Can't Stop Jah Works," a number obviously inspired by the singer's meeting with Mutabaruka (Luciano guested on the dub poet's "Psalm 24"). Set to an evocative backing that blends faux flute, Cat Coore's Spanish-tinged guitar passages, and a simmering rhythm, the singer shifts from inspired spoken word verses to the sung chorus. Burrell shows off his own creative genius with a superb soca version of Cat Stevens' 1971 soft rock hit "Wild World," where Luciano insists "You Can" do anything if you believe in yourself. Faith in one's self and in Jah also imbues the upbeat roots of "When Man on Earth," another highlight of the set, while the sublime "Hold Strong" offers a similar message. The superb "Jonah" takes culture to the kiddies, and here Luciano uses Bible stories to help instill pride and self-confidence. "Poor Youths" is aimed at a slightly older crowd, a sufferer's song offered up as a dancehall delight. Both songs were popular singles. Sly Dunbar, Donald Dennis, Robbie Lyn, and Dean Fraser are among the backing musicians, and as always, Burrell's jungly rhythms fire the numbers, but the majority also feature rich arrangements that lean toward roots in their minor keys, but incorporate other flavors. In this regard, Sweep has a more coherent and satisfying sound than its predecessor. The atmospheres are thick and nuanced, and beautifully enhance Luciano's strong and thoughtful performances. Another masterpiece.


Born: October 20, 1964 in Davey Town, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A superstar in his native Jamaica, Luciano combines his love of God and beauty into a soulful, spiritual blend of rock and R&B-tinged reggae. Born Jepther McClymont in Davey Town, he began his musical career singing in church and moved to Kingston to pursue music professionally. After McClymont had worked with prominent reggae producers like Herman Chin-Loy and labels like Aquarius and Sky High, Homer Harris of Blue Mountain changed McClymont's name. Now known as Luciano, he released singles for...
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Sweep Over My Soul, Luciano
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