Original Yard Food
General Jah Mikey
Zion High Productions
May 21, 2013

Original Yard Food - General Jah Mikey Track list
  1. Good Life
  2. Hard Time Pressure
  3. Recession
  4. Love That Is Real
  5. Heartbeat Music
  6. Love Yourself
  7. From Way Back
  8. Set A Way
  9. Deal With It Crabit
  10. Easy Squeezie
  11. Calling Ras Tafari
  12. Inna Light
  13. Rise Up
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
2013 has been a great year for the continued resurgence of Roots Reggae Musik. The organic Roots and Branches continue to grow with another exciting release from the accomplished Zion High Productions crew. General Jah Mikey's latest offering, "Original Yard Food", is an organic musical feast that is thoroughly pleasing from start to finish.

Born Michael Mitchell in Kingston, Jamaica, "The Lyrical Ambassador" has been delivering the goods for over two decades. At the age of 11, he served a studio apprenticeship under the watchful eye of the legendary King Tubby. At 17 (1985), he released his first work on Mozziyah Records. The following year, he embarked on his first US tour to critical acclaim. Though not a household name yet, he cut teeth at such Sound Systems as Kilimanjaro, Jammys, Class One and Zodiac. His distinctive voice has appeared on such labels as Tappa, King Jammys, Jungle Riddim and his own Jah Sky Musik. Besides extensive touring in the US and Virgin Islands, he has worked with a broad range of talent. Everyone from Roots Radics, Sammy Dread, Scientist, Junior Reid to Dr. Dre to Dubstep pioneers Rusko and 12th Planet. The singer, songwriter and producer is now ready for the world.

"Original Yard Food" is a project that features an all-star cast of musicians, producers and engineers. We're talking about Wadi Gad, Aston Barrett, Jr. Batch, Dean Pond and Horseman on drums. JAH David handles bass duties. Guitars are handled by legend "Chinna" Smith, Tippy I, Andrew "Moon" Bain and Chet Samuel. Keys are licked by Peter Pan, Ras Klamps, Dean Fishback and Tippy I, to name a few. The legendary horn section of Dean Fraser (sax) and Nambo Robinson (trombone) -remember the 809 Band? - are alongside Derrick Harris and Jarritt Sheel. Numerous studios were used - JAH Sky, 340, Zion High and Sonic Café. There's great engineering and production work from General Jah Mikey, JAH David (ZHP), Tippy I (I Grade) and Moon (Lustre Kings). These producers/musicians have been so instrumental in creating some of the finest Reggae in recent years!

Good Life is a great opener. Jah Mikey's smoky tenor glides over an impeccable riddim laden with Batch's mastery and some earthy key and guitar licks. It's an insight into the singer's utmost faith in The Most High and keen observations. Hard Time Pressure is an instant classic! Dean Fraser's sensual sax opens up to lyrics that are both urgent and relevant. General Jah Mikey is well versatile in vocal style and he demonstrates it here in a Dancehall style. Recession is a deep Roots injection. Tippy I's melodica work complements the reality lyrics well. The singer's delivery here is on par with Beres Hammond. Love That Is Real is a heartfelt Lover's track that delivers. The arrangement and infectious chorus will resonate and penetrate! Heartbeat Music is a fast paced Rocker that gives Love to our beloved King's Musik. The Lyrical Ambassador was given that title for a reason and he has an ital way with words - pure wit. Love Yourself is one wicked slice. Over a taut riddim block peppered with rimshots and guitar licks, GJM iducates us to truly love ourselves first - pure intelligency.

From Way Back is a pure skanker. A little Funk and a lotta style. Set A Way is the best track on this album! It first appeared on last year's acclaimed "Jah Golden Throne", a Roots compilation from ZHP. The singer takes on a Marley-esque approach and it totally works. An inspirational track that boasts a riddim sweetened by the magic of 'Chinna' Smith and the mastery of Dean Fraser and Nambo - ruff! Deal With It Crabit is a Yard style number that is strong lyrically and potent in chord arrangement. Easy Squeezie has been visited numerous times over the years and this interpretation is convincing and makes it fresh all over again. Calling Ras Tafari boasts a wicked riddim visited last year by Lloyd Brown and Tippa Irie. A triumphant track made extra tight with UK veteran Horseman on drums and legendary singer Norman "Twinkle Brothers" Grant on percussion. One strong message and a really smoky delivery. The final track, Rise Up, is tuff. General Jah Mikey shows wide vocal range over a riddim sweetened by Chinna.

General Jah Mikey has shown true determination throughout his career. The culmination of faith, positivism and endurance has resulted with this massive effort. "Original Yard Food" is tastefully presented from appetizer to dessert. The multi course meal is not overdone or undercooked. The chefs used the best Ital ingredients and it leaves you truly satisfied. This album is a necessary addition to your collection; make sure you check every selection. Highest recommendation. Go deh!