STYLE: Reggae RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 33603-13393 LABEL: Independent 603408701328 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2007-10-31 RRP: £10.99
Reviewed by Paul Poulton
Solomon has taken a specific era of reggae music from about 1975 to 1979 and used the art of today's programming techniques to reveal the bare bones of the genre. The one time member of Christafari shows us what made that music work so well. Bob Marley released 'Exodus' in 1977, Time magazine said it was the best album of the 20th century, that's quite a statement and shows that although reggae emerged as a local art-form it soon became an internationally accepted form of popular music. 'Firmly Planted' has most of the parts and a few extras that make up that period of reggae, wah wah guitar, brass parts, timbale type triplets and long reverbs. It's also helped along by Solomon's high register vocals which take on spiritual themes, "Prayer And Meditation" works well and probably grooves along as the best song on the album, very nicely played keyboard parts resist the common skank and go for appetising licks instead. Solomon hasn't gone for Marley-type sweet melody; he's probably closer to Peter Tosh, which can give a song longevity or put people off from the outset. The danger of the 13 songs is their clinical precision, whether it works may be open to question. It worked well for Dawn Penn's remake of "You Don't Love Me (No, No, No)" which has the same feel as Solomon's third solo album. But, one important ingredient that makes reggae music work so well is a bit of grit and dirt, some Kingston dust; computers may be great tools but they can also dehumanise music that is meant to have a little unpredictable humanity in it. The tempo of the tunes rarely gets above the plod, I wanted some up-tempo tunes or at least some exciting overlapping modern rhythms.
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Solomon Jabby's first full length vocal album is here! Firmly Planted proves what a modern artist can achieve when he finds the balance between past and present. Solomon has successfully found a way to stay true to the 1970s reggae sound while pushing the art of roots and dub to higher heights!