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Country Life

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Album Review

There was a time, back in the late '80s and early '90s, when it seemed as if every female reggae singer worth hearing in Britain was securely locked up in Mad Professor's Ariwa studio, churning out smooth lover's rock over his trademark digitally clean reggae grooves. Sandra Cross was perhaps the best of that lot, a sweet-toned crooner whose silky voice was a perfect match for Mad Professor's modern roots sound. Her version of Country Life's title track, a song originally recorded by the American soul group the Stylistics, followed in the footsteps of a similar version by the Mighty Diamonds, but hers is more cool and laid-back. Even better is her performance on "You're Lying," a deceptively lighthearted admonition to a faithless lover, and "We Miss You" is almost as good. The CD includes ten dub mixes (yes, that's one more than there are songs on the original album — Mad Professor seems to have thrown in an extra dub track for some reason), and all of the dubs are perfectly tasteful, subdued complements to Cross' vocal versions. Highly recommended.


Born: 1963 in London, England

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '90s

A native of South London, Sandra Cross is the only girl among seven brothers. She started singing in the Pentecostal Church and led the choir when she was nine. At 14, she recorded with a friend as Love & Unity. Their recording was the first prize for winning a talent show with a song Cross wrote entitled "I Adore You." Released on Studio 76 Records, it was number one on Britain's reggae chart for four straight weeks in 1979; They followed with three Top Five hits: "I Just Don't Care," "I Can't Let...
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Country Life, Sandra Cross
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