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Album Review

Rocker-T is a New York-based singer and deejay who, accompanied by the crack Stubborn Records session crew, consistently delivers the finest in old-school reggae. There's almost nothing he can't do — galloping ska raveups, sweet, rich Nyahbinghi anthems, chest-pounding dancehall boasts; stern, prophetic warnings to Babylon delivered over thick, dark, one-drop grooves — everything that it takes to build a superlative reggae album is here on Rocker-T's full-length debut, and the support that he receives from his backing musicians simply could not be improved upon. Anchored by bassist Victor Rice, guitarist Agent Jay, and drummer Headdie Ocampo (all of whom are members of the label's flagship band, the Stubborn All-Stars), the pickup group that plays on this album represents the cream of New York's ska aristocracy, and their sound is almost breathtakingly perfect, a faithful re-creation of the reggae and rocksteady grooves that dominated Jamaican airwaves during reggae's golden period, the early to mid-'70s. That revival sound even goes beyond the music itself: on tracks like "One More," "Another Way," and "I-Story Lesson" the production harks back explicitly to the sound of tiny, prolific Kingston studios like Dynamic and Channel One, and even Lee Perry's legendary Black Ark. The drum sound is cramped and messy; the reverb is wet and splashy; the mixes themselves, even when they're technically in stereo, have such a limited audio field that they sound monophonic. And yet for all of its studied retrospection, this album never sounds like a museum piece or a Master's thesis on the history of reggae — the music is clearly coming from the souls and hearts of the musicians, so it never sounds dated or formulaic. Wonderful.

Nicer By the Hour, Rocker-T and Version City Rockers
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: World, Music
  • Released: 1998

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