Mark Wonder – Remz Of The Dragon Slayer
- Level With Me Idrens
- Another Day
- Brand New Me
- Voyages Across The Sea feat. Crosby
- Nubian Glory
- Blessed Itiopia
- Better Days
- In Tune 2 Di Rockaz
- Same King
- Voices Of The People
A committed Rastafarian, Mark Wonder, born Mark Thompson in the parish of St. Andrew, Jamaica, was influenced by his mother’s love for music and her record collection that included the great early R&B classics of The Impressions, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Patti Labelle and Stevie Wonder from whom he has adopted the name “Wonder”.
He was also influenced by foundation Jamaican music from artists like Burning Spear, Alton Ellis, Bob Andy, The Heptones, Ken Boothe, and Dennis Brown, who in particular inspired him to become a singer who’s committed to the tradition of marrying his militant message with melody in a captivating style.
Although Reggae connoisseurs have no doubt about Mark Wonder’s being a singer who’s saturated in potential to do great things, it’s a complete mystery why this veteran singer isn’t amongst the biggest and most well known Roots artists in the Reggae arena. Mark Wonder started his professional music career in the late ’80s and saw his now hard-to-find debut album “Signs Of The Time” released by Peter Jonker’s Dutch record label Zola & Zola in 1996. From then on he has largely made a great deal of his finest work in operating with European record labels such as Irievibrations Records, Irie Ites Records, and Oneness Records.
For the reputable Oneness Records from out of Germany, committed Rastafarian Mark Wonder voiced notable cuts for various juggling projects and also recorded one of his best albums, the 2012 released “Working Wonders” – in December 2019 followed by the 7-track dub set “Working Wonders In Dub”. And now, about 8 years after “Working Wonders” hit the streets, Oneness Records has put out a second full length Mark Wonder album, which is entitled “Remz Of The Dragon Slayer”. The latter, a 12-track album, is a heady, spiritually and socially conscious mix of Roots, Dub and Funky Soul with flashes of Jazz.
With “Remz Of The Dragon Slayer”, both the artist and record label deliver a special project, one that is outstanding from beginning to end! Without any doubt Mark Wonder has one of the greatest singing voices and here the listener gets a healthy sampling of it. His vocal delivery is truly spectacular, as can be fully experienced while listening to this collection of tunes, especially because “Remz Of The Dragon Slayer” features a mix of styles he seemingly effortless knows to handle to the max.
The album gets going with a tune which is just as impressive as the voice singing on it, the superb “Level With Me Idrens”, coming across a large riddim that sounds familiar to the ears. Compared with the opening track, musically the next two tunes are more subdued efforts. The previously released single “Another Day” tells the listener to take advantage of this day by forgetting yesterday’s bad moves and thanking life. It’s a wonderful inspirational message tune which is just as appreciable for how it sounds as for what it says. This also goes for the impressive “Brand New Me”. Next comes “Voyages Across The Sea”, the collaboration with South African multi-talented artist Crosby aka Digi-Analog. It’s a moving reality tune about the survival struggle of refugees who by the thousands cross the Mediterranean Sea in search of a safer and better place to stay. It’s truly a fantastic start to an album which manages to maintain the heights throughout.
By now it’s clear that “Remz Of The Dragon Slayer” is an album that provides a steady stream of great songs. To those that deserve a special mention belong the sublime cultural piece “Kemetic”, a compelling tune that demands careful listening to its lyrics. “Nubian Glory”, which was a tune from the golden “African Children” riddim, leaps out at the listener. A sparkling riddim underpins the gorgeous “Blessed Ithiopia”, before the gorgeous semi-acoustic “Better Days” drops in. Simply feel good reggae music is offered with “In Tune 2 Di Rockaz”, a solid party tune with a very nice dubby outro which jumps right out at the listener and doesn’t falter at all. The social commentary “Crisis” with its detailed styles of observations is another highlight on this album. And so is “Same King” across the glorious “Retro Locks” riddim (a relicked version of Bim Sherman’s “Golden Locks”). The album’s final offering, “Voices Of The People” with its flawlessly addictive riddim, is on par with the opening track and a joy to listen to over and over again. What a great album this is. Not only is Mark Wonder’s sterling voice so clear and so powerful on his well written songs, the riddims provided by the musicians involved in this project complement him very well.