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Rougher Than the Rest

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Album Review

DJ and singer U Brown can be fairly criticized for being a bit too derivative of his idol, U Roy. But on Rougher Than the Rest he takes what could have been a liability and turns it to his advantage; opening the album with a gracious tribute to his predecessors and colleagues and then proceeding to tear up a generous program of modern roots reggae, chatting and singing in fine old-school style over some top-quality Jah Warrior rhythms. Released simultaneously with the Prince Alla album More Love, Rougher Than the Rest features some of the same rhythms (notably the unusual "Ska Roots Rock," which is the basis for Prince Alla's "Good Morning Africa"), but they seem a bit less claustrophobically dense here. Many of the tracks on this album are delivered in combination style, with such A-list singers as Horace Andy (on the excellent "Girl Mind What You Do"), Alton Ellis (on "Youths! Take It Easy"), and Prince Alla himself ("Rasta Business Is No Joke," "Song Unto Jah"). All of these tracks are highlights, but U Brown is more than capable of riding these rhythms solo, as he does to fine effect on "Shine Your Light" and the album's title track. Highly recommended.


Born: 25 November 1956 in Waterhouse, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

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

One of the most significant of the younger generation of Jamaican deejays, U-Brown, was born Huford Brown in Kingston in 1956. One of 11 children, Brown's musical education began by accompanying his father to local bars, as well as spending quite a bit of time hanging out on Bond Street near Treasure Isle studios. While only 15 Brown began his deejaying career in earnest working for the Philip Monroe-owned Sound of Music, developing his skills while recording tracks like "Wet Up Your Pants Foot"...
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