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Reggae Anthology: The Sweet Sound of Cocoa Tea

Cocoa Tea

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Album Review

This fine two-disc overview presents some of the best and most popular singles by legendary dancehall crooner Cocoa Tea, and as such it's also an excellent primer on the evolution of dancehall reggae in general, from the early '80s (when its harder beat was just starting to make itself felt as an alternative to the previously ascendant roots reggae sound) to the ragamuffin stylings of 2006. The program is presented chronologically, and the first disc compiles early productions by Henry "Junjo" Lawes and King Jammy (including the brilliant "Come Again," which hijacks the melody to "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"), up through such late-'80s classics as the three-way combo hit "Who She Love" (featuring Home T. and a young Shabba Ranks) and "Love Me." The second disc is even better, with top-notch rhythms from Bobby "Digital-B" Dixon and Philip "Fatis" Burrell including two brilliant cuts on the classic "Stalag 17" rhythm, the very fine "Rip & Run Off" combination track (with Cutty Ranks) and a great recut of Larry Marshall's roots classic "Mean Girl" here titled "Mr. Neck Tie Man." Cocoa Tea's voice is one of the sweetest and smoothest in reggae music and has been for more than two decades now; this set offers one of the best overviews of his work in recent memory.

Biography

Born: 09 March 1959 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Cocoa Tea was one of the few early dancehall stars to carve out a consistent, productive career as the genre evolved over the years. His cool-toned, laid-back vocals were perfect for sweet, smooth lovers rock, and gave him a distinct identity amid his more aggressive peers. Still, he was also capable of toughening up his sound on his cultural protest material, which was often sharply perceptive. Tea was born Calvin Scott on September 3, 1959, in Rocky Point, a small town in Jamaica's Clarendon parish....
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Reggae Anthology: The Sweet Sound of Cocoa Tea, Cocoa Tea
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