Ras Batch Know Thyself

Bob Marley's "Talking Blues" has proven to be one of his more influential recordings. Its atmospheric blend of acoustic guitar, spacious reverb and chant-like vocals has touched many hearts around the Caribbean over the years. Ras Batch is such disciple. Another artist signed to a label releasing consistently superior records (Virgin Islands-based I Grade), Ras Batch brings the dialled-in intensity of Burning Spear to a more willowy voice, featuring a strong falsetto. From the majestic production of opener "Jah Children," songs of utter faith and conviction in Rastafari set the pace. Even versions of previously released riddims like "Give Jah Thanks For Life" and "Trees" bring out new life from the backing tracks. Especially the latter, which although given an intense treatment by Jahdan Blakkamoore not so long ago sounds very differently exciting. Mind you, Batch doesn't have Jahdan's versatility and there's sameness to these tracks when taken together, but only to a slight degree: one man's sameness is another's focus. I defer to the latter. Recommended. (I Grade)