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Album Review

The multi-talented Annette Brissett, a protégé of Augustus Pablo, had made her mark as an artist, engineer, and producer before she linked up with Sly & Robbie, who oversaw her self-titled Annette album, which RAS licensed for American release. With Lynford "Fatta" Marshall engineering and the production duo stuffing the album with some of their hottest riddims, this is one stellar sounding set, with atmospheres agilely shifting between swinging, upbeat exuberance and more rootsy introspection. Of course, everyone's come to expect such high quality from the Riddim Twins, so what really impresses here is Brissett herself. The set opener, "Cruising," is so breezy and the singer so insouciant, one imagines one is set for an album full of such sassiness. And one couldn't be more wrong. In fact, Brissett is a serious songwriter and fills the rest of the set with thoughtful numbers revolving around life and love, most incorporating her strong Rastafarian faith. And although the singer often prays or exalts, she never preaches, preferring to use her beliefs as a prism that reflects her faith in daily life. Thus, even her love songs praise Jah for blessing His children with love and happiness. Strong imagery, thoughtful lyrics, and inspiring themes all predominate. If one were searching for a comparison, Beres Hammond would spring to mind, and it's no surprise that in more recent years the two began collaborating. One of the best cuts, "Don't Do Me No Favour" turns the boops phenomenon on its head with a powerful slap-down to the DJs who celebrate the plight of women forced to trade sex for economic security. However, the most potent number is the final one, an untitled version of "Redemption Song" that like Bob Marley's original is accompanied only by acoustic guitar. With extraordinarily powerful lyrics and a heartfelt delivery, she betters the Wailer's own. All in all a stunning album, from a ferocious talent who deserves international recognition.

Annette, Annette Bryn Parri
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