10 Ft. Ganja Plant

Shake Up the Place

BY Brent HagermanPublished Aug 30, 2011

The Plant's last two albums (Bush Rock and 10 Deadly Shots, Vol. 1) have convinced me that they are the U.S.'s premiere instrumental reggae revival purists. Recording live-to-tape isn't just a gimmick with this act; it allows them to recreate that lovely, swampy fat sound of days gone by, recalling Black Ark sounds and riddims by the maestro: Jackie Mittoo. But with Shake up the Place, the group shake up their routine, and you know what they say about messing with a good thing. Occasional vocal tracks are common for the Plant, but this time out they enlist two vintage Jamaican vocalists to up the ante. The problem is, while Sylford Walker and Prince Jazzbo bring roots credibility, they have very little to offer lyrically. Walker's "My Roots" needs a few more ideas and Jazzbo's "Recession" needs some original ones. Not surprisingly, the Plant's Ras Jay and Kevin Kinsella ("Shake up the Place" and "Pharaoh's Army") are responsible for the strongest songs. Thankfully, the instrumental tracks are in much the same dub-y vein as fans have come to love and respect. Still, I'm waiting for 10 Deadly Shots, Vol. 2.

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