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Shake Up the Place

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Album Review

For their seventh album, upstate New York's roots reggae ambassadors continue the project that has occupied them since their debut in 2000: the revival of '70s-style, dubwise reggae music. Although the band's exact membership is an increasingly irritating mystery (why are we not allowed to know who the singer is on the title track?), it's an open secret that its musical core consists of current and former members of John Brown's Body — a great reggae band in its own right, but one that has gone off in new stylistic directions in recent years. The very concept of "new stylistic directions" is foreign to 10 Ft. Ganja Plant's modus operandi. Like its predecessors, Shake Up the Place features new compositions written in a very old style, and this time it actually brings on board a couple of voices from back in the day: roots singer Sylford Walker and veteran deejay and producer Prince Jazzbo. Walker contributes vocals on the opening track, "My Roots," which is built on a great groove but offers little of lyrical interest; in fact, it sounds as if Walker may be inventing the lyrics on the spot, and extemporaneous lyrics are not his strong suit. But that relatively weak opening is quickly redeemed by the brilliant "Strength," which sets a delicate but rich horn chart atop a massive, one-drop rhythmic structure. Similarly impressive are the triumphant steppers anthem "Pharaoh's Army" and the Prince Jazzbo vehicle "Africa." And Walker himself rallies nicely on his second outing, the powerful "Hardtimes." Shake Up the Place isn't the best 10 Ft. Ganja Plant album ever, but anyone who has enjoyed the band's previous outings is sure to enjoy this one as well.


Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '00s

Hailing from upstate New York, surely one of the more unlikely locales for an authentic reggae act, 10 Ft. Ganja Plant are a mysterious roots and dub collective and splinter group of the better-known Ithaca, NY-based eight-piece John Brown's Body. Known for impromptu -- rarely announced or promoted -- live shows that incorporate a loose, improvisatory jam band feel, the group garnered some renown in the Northeast U.S. live music circuit throughout the 2000s. 10 Ft. Ganja Plant debuted in 2000 with...
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Shake Up the Place, 10 Ft. Ganja Plant
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Reggae, Music
  • Released: 30 August 2011

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