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10 Deadly Shots, Vol. II

10 Ft. Ganja Plant

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Album Review

As anyone who has come to love the band will know, ever since its debut in 2000, 10 Ft. Ganja Plant's stock in trade has been the kind of slow, loping, and marijuana-steeped roots reggae that came into full, resinous flower in the early to mid-'70s. Their previous seven albums have been almost entirely interchangeable, most of them strictly instrumental and all of them constituting a skillful and heartfelt homage to an art form that is now nearly lost in the gruff shouting of post-ragga dancehall music and the monster-truck rumble of dubstep. The second title in the band's 10 Deadly Shots series, however, finds the group moving out of its usual groove — though not, as one might expect, forward into the realm of early dancehall or digital styles. Instead, they're now moving backward in time toward the rubber-band grooves of late-'60s rocksteady. On this album they are aided by guest keyboardist Roger Rivas of the brilliant Los Angeleno rocksteady revivalists the Aggrolites (in keeping with 10'GP tradition, he is uncredited on the packaging), and his organ stylings evoke wonderfully the sounds of Jackie Mittoo and the early Upsetters. The 10 Ft. Ganja Plant crew slip without any apparent effort into these springy, elastic grooves, creating a mood on tracks like "The Challenge" and "Invincible Butcher" that recall the days when reggae was still in thrall to American R&B and the imagery of spaghetti westerns, when Lee "Scratch" Perry's Black Ark studio was churning out organ-centered instrumental tracks by the bushel and the sound system dances spun them all night long. It's something of a departure for this band, but one that its fans will likely find perfectly acceptable.

Biography

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...
Full bio
10 Deadly Shots, Vol. II, 10 Ft. Ganja Plant
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