Bitty McLean – Forward

by Apr 14, 2023Artist, Reviews

Bitty McLean - Forward

Release Info

Taxi/Silent River/Tabou1
CD / LP / DR
Street date
April 14, 2023
Website Record Label
Facebook Artist


1. Be Accepted
2. Back In My Arms
3. Let’s Make Up
4. The Best Part Of Me
5. Love Has Gone
6. One Nation
7. Beauty You Are
8. The Need In Me
9. Glass House
10. Far As Eye Can See
11. Where Is Your Love?
12. Where Is Your Dub?

Fans of Bitty McLean in Japan were granted the premiere of the UK singer’s new album entitled Forward (30th Anniversary Limited Edition), which was released in the land of the rising sun about five months ago. After Movin’ On (2009), Taxi Sessions (2013), and Love Restart (2018), Forward is the fourth full-length studio album that comes from the successful collaboration between Bitty McLean, Sly & Robbie, and Tabou1’s label boss Guillaume Bougard. It all started with the 2005 single The Real Thing which became a hit and led to the recording of an entire album – Movin’ On. The rest is history.

The Story

Here’s the story behind the album as told by Guillaume Bougard on the website of Tabou1 Records.
“Robert Warren Dale Shakespeare departed Earth on December 8, 2021 after a year long battle. That day, I lost a fantastic musical partner and mentor, but also and more importantly, a dear, dear friend. That distressed me so much I didn’t have the heart to produce music. It took a few months to mentally get it back together. So in 2022, we felt it was essential to record an album in memory of Robbie. We curated riddims among those we had in the vaults, Sly sent a few more. Bitty and I wanted this album to be the absolute best possible so as to be worthy of all the love, the guidance, the friendship that was bestowed upon us by Robbie. Robbie would have never let us release a half-assed, or even a sad and depressed album, and Forward is anything but that. It is an ode to wholesome love and upright righteousness, in other words “uprighteousness” that we hope the notoriously demanding Robbie can appreciate where he is right now.”

Big Tunes

Big tunes roam freely on this album, not least due to Bitty McLean possessing one of the greatest voices in reggae music, the artist’s superb songwriting, and Sly & Robbie and the Taxi Gang’s exceptional musical skills. Apart from a relicked version of the riddim known from Hemsley Morris’ hit tune Little Things, this album features original backdrops that are strongly rooted in Sly & Robbie’s signature sound. Forward represents a continuation of outstanding material from the artist and the legendary Jamaican riddim twins and is a feast for the ears from beginning to end. And although his previous Taxi albums were very good efforts, this new set truly outmatches its predecessors. This album introduces itself in a mighty way with the gorgeous opener Be Accepted (in the sight of the Almighty one). A stunning track that benefits from a very committed delivery, vocally as well as lyrically. It’s the kind of song that causes goosebumps everytime you listen to it. It’s the first of several stunners that are to be found in this collection of tunes. One of them is the first single taken off the album, Glass House. This true killer piece is a reminder that one will face the consequences of their actions. Another one is the second single from the album, the head nodding Let’s Make Up, underpinned by a riddim that harks back to the era of heavy rubadub. The song is an ode to getting things straightened out, to finding ways to live in love and peace. Definitely give the extended version of the comforting Love Has Gone more than a cursory spin, because it’s a track of sheer beauty, Actually the same goes for the absolutely sterling Beauty You Are on the aforementioned relick of Hemsley Morris’ Little Things. Also the rootsy Far As Eye Can See is one of the finest offerings here. In a certain way, the addition of Bitty McLean’s melodica play evokes memories of sounds from Augustus Pablo productions. It’s followed by the last vocal track on this album titled Where Is Your Love. A captivating song that sounds excellent and is a joy to listen to. And so is its dubbed out version, which is also very nice to hear.

This album is dedicated to the memory of Robbie Shakespeare, U Roy, Dalton Browne, Mikey Chung, Nambo Robinson, Daryl Thompson, Uzziah “Sticky” Thompson, and John Johnson.

Glass House

Let’s Make Up

The Best Part


Where to get it

Buy @ Apple Music

More Bitty McLean Music

Buy @ Apple Music