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Direct Hit! (Live)

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Album Review

Sister Carol has been around long enough to become a reggae icon, and is one of the few strong females to consistently release records. But this is her first live disc, and that's always the test. She acquits herself very well, covering roots with plenty of conscious lyrics and handling dancehall rhythms and speed very well on songs like "Call Mi Sister Carol" and "Can't Stop Reggae," which veers close to R&B territory with its backing vocals sweetening the sound. While there's a definite rawness to it in parts, that's merely an indication no one's been messing with tapes later on in the studio — and makes it all the more real. Of course, "Black Cinderella" is here, and the whole affair rounds off with her biggest hit, "Wild Thing," but this is a full show, with "Womb-Man" and "Rasta Girl" paying tribute to women and "70 Sump'm Pieces of Bob" paying homage to Bob Marley, giving guitarist/singer Junior Jazz a workout (and a fine voice he has, too). With a small but strong band behind her, her set is as much about spreading the gospel of reggae and strong women as it is about entertainment. "Natty Live Up" is a statement of strength about being a Rasta, and "Herbal Is Natural" and "Herbal Affair" speak for themselves as the Rasta sacrament. But after all that seriousness, her "Wild Thing" is playful joy — with a political edge at times, but made for release rather than education — and a perfect end to her show, including the truly wild lead guitar break. While she's never achieved the prominence she deserves, Sister Carol remains an important reggae performer and a female symbol who can deliver the goods on-stage.

Biography

Born: 1959 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '90s, '00s

One of the dancehall era's few successful female DJs, Sister Carol was something like reggae's answer to Queen Latifah: a strong, positive feminist voice who was inspired by her faith and never resorted to sexual posturing to win an audience. Leaning heavily on socially conscious material, Sister Carol delivered uplifting and cautionary messages drawn from her Rastafarian principles, while always urging respect for women. She was more of a singjay than a full-time toaster, capable of melodic vocals...
Full Bio
Direct Hit! (Live), Sister Carol
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