December 17, 2013
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
Just before the end of the year, the - in terms of quality - ever reliable Spanish record label ReggaeLand wraps up its 2013 release programm with the release of Mikey General's 12th studio album entitled "Hailelujah Song". After have worked on full length albums with artists such as Chantelle Ernandez, Singer Jah, Malijah and Anthony Que, it's obvious that Mikey General is the most renown name with whom the ReggaeLand production crew has collaborated to date.
England-born Jamaican Michael Taylor aka Mikey General recorded his first song "Roots Mi Roots" in Jamaica for sound system owner Ruddy Silence's Sounds of Silence imprint in 1980. After his return to England he recorded for Levi Roots, Blacka Dread, Fashion Records and Sugar Minott's Black Roots label and in 1985 he was voted best new artist by UK' Echoes magazine. In 1992, after ten years in and out of London, he returned to Jamaica again and started to record for Phillip "Fatis" Burrell's Exterminator label. At that time a significant shift in Jamaica's popular music started to take place as a new generation of singers with cultural perspectives emerged. Mikey General, along with Garnet Silk, Luciano, Everton Blender, and Daweh Congo, were part of that new roots and culture movement. Phillip "Fatis" Burrell produced Mikey General's first two album releases - "Sinners" aka "Stronger Rastaman" in 1995 and "Just A Rastaman" in 1997 - which established his name among reggae fans worldwide.
Almost exactly a year after the release of his 11th studio recording, "African Story, African Glory", there's the follow up album "Hailelujah Song". The latter kicks off with the light hearted "Roots Rocking Reggae", apart from the name dropping (he mentions pioneers like Alton Ellis, Larry Marshall, The Wailers, Desmond Dekker and Ken Boothe) and the real nice riddim track, this song - somehow reminiscent of Aswad's "Roots Rocking" - isn't a particular interesting effort. And almost the same can be said about the lovers tune "Inna Million Years", although it isn't a bad tune at all. But then things get really started with the "No Follow Babylon", which turns out to be one of the album's best tunes. And it doesn't stop here!! "Early in The Morning" is a standout piece with Mikey General telling us about perseverance and hard work, while the matching "Word, Sound & Power" shows us the singer at his very best. Easily one of our favourite tracks. The slow-paced riddim of the solid "Only For A Time", previously used for Anthony Que's "Beautiful Mother Nation", brings a different mood and vibe. It's a song that grows on you after a few listens.
Next are four songs that can be regarded as the backbone of this album. "Rastafari Never Lies" is Mikey General at his very best, both vocally and lyrically. Special mention deserves the riddim that underpins this effort, because it's simply awesome!! The only collaboration featured here, "Harder They Come, Quicker They Run" with Catalan singjay Sr. Wilson, comes in UK Steppers style and is a powerful cut worth hearing. It's followed by the huge title track "Hailelujah Song", a great spiritual tune that makes a serious impression. It's followed by the equally impressive "Jah Will Be There", an uplifting song across the recently released "The Change" riddim. "Wanna Be Happy" is a nice song to hear, which is followed by more appealing efforts like "Sort Out" and "Let's Pass Love On". It's however the previous released wicked single "King Selassie I Alone" that truly outmatches these three tracks and also the album closer "Won't You Forgive Me".
Both Mikey General and ReggaeLand have delivered a real good album and thus well worth checking out!!