Earth, Roots And Water Innocent Youths

When Earth Roots And Water’s recently reissued debut Innocent Youths originally came out in 1977, the roots reggae band were studio tight and vibrant on stage. They played around Toronto frequently, gaining notoriety within the city’s fledgling reggae and punk scenes. They were essentially the house band for Malton-based Summer Sounds studios, owned by singer/producer Jerry Brown. The ensemble’s membership included TO reggae notables Adrian Miller and Anthony Hibbert. One day they might record a melodic roots bubbler with Noel Ellis like "Be My Destiny” and later cut tracks with foundation era keyboardist Jackie Mittoo. Of this seven-song set, the dub-heavy tracks are best. The easy steppin’ skank and bright brass riffs on "Liberation” come entrenched in rivers of infinite echo. "Jah Les Lament” follows suit, its sufferah vocals adrift in volumes of reverb. Other crucial tracks here, like the oddly titled funky one-drop of "Lou Sent Me,” which is ironically reminiscent of Lou Rawls’ early period spoken word funk, are sonic snapshots of ERW during their brief existence. Respectfully restored, right down to artist Itah Sadu’s brilliant cover art, Light in The Attic ends its series documenting early Toronto reggae music on a very high note. (Light In The Attic)