Glenn Washington Solitary Red Rose

This album is as smooth as the calm surface of a lake on a still, windless morning. Solitary Red Rose is composed of 12 new tracks that travel along a path from lover’s reggae to conscious roots-rockers that bring substance to Mr. Washington’s sweetness. Jamaican born, but raised in the U.S., Washington first came into the reggae spotlight as a drummer, and a fine one at that. Having played with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Toronto’s Resinators, his versatility and good nature is apparent in the honey tones of his voice and cadence. His background as a “drummie” is evident in the strong rhythms on Solitary Red Rose, which features dub versions that I actually preferred to some of the vocals. Strong tracks include “Reggae Music,” a carousing tune bound to wake up the dancehall with its refrain of “let’s get ready to play reggae music all night” (plus a wicked dub thereof). “Harvest Time,” with himself on drums and a rollicking skank; “Crazy World” lets “the light of Jah shine through” and is also followed by a better-than average dub. The title track is one of his love songs par excellence that has helped earn him recent gigs like a short tour with Leroy Gibbons (“This Magic Moment,” “Missing You,” “Cupid”). Winner of the 1998 Canadian Reggae award for best new artist, Washington and talented producer Junior (Baugh) Ewart have dished up a tasty bowl o’ beats and Solitary Red Rose is hopefully just a hint of things to come from their gang at Ruff Stuff Studio. (Ruff Stuff)