UNITY RIDDIM SESSIONS VOL 1
From reggae reviews.com:
Unity Riddim Sessions Vol. 1 (Star
Unity Riddim Sessions Vol. 1 isn't your typical
riddim album with one digital dancehall beat supporting a range of slack
material. Rather, it's a collection
of positive "gospel (i.e., Christian) reggae" featuring a more organic
roots and lovers rock sound. The
artists on this set are a multi-national bunch who aren't very well-known
outside of the realm of gospel reggae, but many of them have released albums of
their own -- including Owen Uriah, Sherwin Gardner, Audrey
Gordon, and the man behind the music, Jah
Servant. Amazingly, this album
grew out of networking through a Yahoo group on Caribbean gospel music.
'Do you Yahoo?' The
riddim that carries the first 8 tracks on Unity Riddim Sessions is a
propulsive and urgent one finely accentuated with Jah Servant's wonderful
electric organ. Audrey Gordon's
superb "Hide Away" signals a shift to the second riddim, a more
relaxed, swaying jam with a piercing drum sound that conjures memories of Henry
"Junjo" Lawes's early '80s work with Don
Carlos and others. The third
riddim, an even more soothing, straight-ahead lovers rock blast, kicks off with
Owen Uriah's emotional "I've Been to the Cross" and also includes
Gordon's terrific "I Am Free". Gordon's
trio of tracks from her Still Waiting album stand out, as do "I've
Been to the Cross" (complete with dub), "Tell Dem" by Arlene
Green & Preacha, and the commanding sound of DJ Bredren Markus I's
"Where the Unity". Certainly,
the appeal of an album with only three different rhythms is limited and not
suited to everyone's tastes, but the music and the performances on Unity
Riddim Sessions are strong enough to sustain
from united by one:
One for the reggae massive by
the reggae massive. This first compilation release is
spearheaded by the Caribbean Gospel Group which boasts an impressive list of
members via its online following.
As reggae compilations go this throws out a specific ‘riddim’ (rhythm) on which you have a selection of artists do their own interpretations. The album has three distinct beats but where it differs is that unlike nowadays where most riddim compilations focus on the dancehall hectic upbeat production, we go down the reggae dub route.
The first half sees some real gems surface like Wayne Stoddart “Highest Praise” and duo Arlene Green & Preacha “Tell Dem”. Those that have picked up Sherwin Gardner’s latest album “Who I Am” will recognise “The Father is Knocking” complete with his distinct vocal-layering production. Even the UK gets in on the action via our very own Owen Uriah how adds his sweet voice-over on “Forward Christian Soldiers”.
The second riddim has a hardcore dub feel moving at a much slower pace. Versions to look out for are Mike Roots “Feed The Children” and a universal message from Breden Markus 1 “Where The Unity”.
The last of the beats on offer has a more light-hearted reggae flow opened by a great singing number “I’ve Been To the Cross”.
As Caribbean Gospel compilations go this one focuses well on the more reggae dub market. With millennium dancehall riddims currently dominating radio charts, it make take a while for people to clock on but once they do – there’s no stopping that rock steady reggae beat on Unity Riddim.
By DJ El Niño © February 2005