Sgt. Remo

ALBUM REVIEW- SHEPHERD RIDDIM ALBUM

                        

I first met Carson Hoovestol, better known in the music circles as McPullish, during a tour in March of 2008 with Mister Kali and General Smiley. That night we performed in downtown Austin at Lovejoy’s with Heart & Soul  Soundsystem and after the show McPullish invited us to the Dub Compound Studio to listen to some of his riddims and possibly do a General Smiley dubplate. That night we ended up at his studio for hours and General Smiley recorded what would become Natty Natty on the Creation Riddim. This interaction flourished into multiple projects between the Dub producer McPullish and various artists including General Smiley, Ken Serious, and  Sgt. Remo.

I have done some serious listening to the entire album and it’s truly a great production and includes some great artistry by each of the featured performers. The Shepherd Riddim was entirely created by McPullish using live instrumentation. The album includes songs by Tippa Irie, Chezidek, Ken Serious, Jahn TI, Island Rose, and Sgt. Remo. The album includes a serious horn version contributed by Joe Woullard and Derek Phillips. A remix of Jahn TI’s Shepherd was created by Netherlands based Dub master known as Dub Creator.  Also included are two tuff sounding dubs mixed by McPullish.

The album starts off with Jahn TI’s Shepherd which is also the namesake for the album. Jahn TI delivers an upful and heartfelt song that draws heavily from bible passages while never sounding cliché. It is easy to, not only hear his powerful lyrics but also, feel a strong spiritual connection with Jahn TI’s song and message. Tippa Irie may not be a household name for many of the younger reggae listeners but the UK based artists has been a strong force on the scene since the 80’s. His song Babylon Letter is well delivered and touches on several of the topics that plague various communities as they struggle to survive. Before the song is over you will be singing “the system no easy, you better believe me!”

Ken Serious delivery on Bring the Ganja is probably one of my favorites on this album. His vocals are rich and the lyrics are infectiously catchy. The artist from Manchester, Jamaica always delivers on every song and this is no exception.  The fourth, and probably one of the best, songs on the album is by Island Rose. Although I had never heard any of her previous works she has a beautiful voice and some thoughtful lyrics that will have you listening to her song Fear Not again before the album is finished. Island Rose is followed by Shepherds Horn Cut. This is a strictly instrumental version and the horns performed by Joe Woullard and Derek Phillips give the riddim a totally new dimension. The solos on this song are pretty impressive!

Revolutionary performed by me, Sgt. Remo, is the next song on the album. It’s difficult to rate my own music so when you listen to it you can make your own decision. It was a fun experience to do this song. McPullish’s riddims allowed me to explore new areas of creativity. The next song is Chezidek’s Better Way. He is one of my favorite culture singers who continuously delivers great lyrics and vocals. Better Way is classic Chezidek work and is one of the best songs on the album.

Tracks 8 and 10 are Dub Letter and Bring the Dub. They are McPullish mixed dub versions of Babylon Letter and Bring the Ganjah respectively. They both are great cuts that highlight McPullish’s Dub ability to transform these original versions into a complete experience. They are the same as the originals in essence but are completely different at the same time by using a series of effects and dubs of the original vocals. Great work by McPullish! The last song of the album is Dub Creator’s remix of Jahn TI’s Shepherd. The mix is flawless! I think the best thing about this version is Dub Creator’s ability to make the song sound as if you are listening to a live performance with live instruments while still maintaining the signature sound of Dub.

Overall this album is an excellent piece of work and props go out to McPullish for the dedication to keeping the music organic in the truest form of expression. The efforts of all the artists on this release were seamlessly combined by McPullish to make this album an experience from start to finish. I think Island Rose put it best in a recent post. The more you listen to this one, the better it will sound!  

Bless!

Check out the full album at http://mcpullish.bandcamp.com/

 

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