U Roy Now

Now The "ace from outer space" comes out of nowhere with a modern day roots classic! U Roy reigned supreme in the late '60s and early '70s. He made some good albums in the late '70s with Prince Tony, and then took a back seat to the legions of deejays who had succeeded him. Even by 1980, his style was an anachronism. Fortunately, Tabou 1 Records have sought to reinvigorate his legend. U Roy is really on his game and his jazzy flow sounds more contemporary than it used to. As with his last album, they've teamed him up with singers and players spanning four decades of Jamaican music. History has shown that we have good reason to fear the "all star cover band," but for a change, things are way beyond expectations. I'm usually not interested in covers that stick too closely to the original, but these grooves have a life of their own. Part of the secret is in the production. Unlike much contemporary reggae, which is either slavishly analog or surreally digital, these guys have simply recorded and mixed everyone's parts fully and clearly. The singers benefit too. Alton Ellis, for one, has been sounding old on recent recordings, but here he redoes his classic "I'm Still In Love With You" with all the vigour he used to possess. This album should appeal to a wide range of people. These songs are some of the very best in Jamaican history, the band is super tight and the vocals, featuring grandpa U Roy dancing around the rhythms, are universal. (Tabou)