Write My Name 2010 24 Nov 2010

Reggaeville Album-Review: Write My Name

The recent hot streak of Luciano albums continues with this dynamic second release of 2010: produced by Rawle Collins, recorded at Makonnen Studios in Atlanta Georgia, and mixed by legendary deskmen Errol “EB” Brown (of Treasure Isle and Tuff Gong) and Soljie Hamilton (who balanced some of the key productions of the dancehall era)…

After the socially and politically conscious Frenchie production, United States of Africa, for VP, Luciano has not returned to the mellow crooning that characterized much of his work in the last decade. Over a series of driving, marching rhythms he deals with a variety of contentious topics. These include the need to clean up reggae - opener Taking Off vows to "trample slackness and put the roots music pon the top of the list", while Jah Should prays for divine intervention to take crude dancehall performers' "talents away". Again he focuses on political matters (on Talk To Me he declares himself “the negotiator”, a chosen spokesman of suffering peoples around the world -predicting violent revolution if they are not heard) and even the vicissitudes of his own career ("some people are waiting to see me pass away before they acknowledge me" opens the title track).

The music, motored by the celebrated Style Scott on drums, is clean and shiny as you’d expect from Luciano, but decidedly rootsy in places (check the muscular Grounation drum-driven backing for clarion call To Zion - reminiscent of the work of Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus). Unlike United States Of Africa almost all backings sound like original compositions rather than perennial retreads, and nearly every single track is in a minor key - although with no Dean Fraser on board this time there are, sadly, no horns. The release also includes a free DVD containing interview footage of the great man singing, talking and relaxing in Collins' Georgia home.

Lately, something has galvanized the formerly placid Luciano, giving his songs more fire. Whether it is the state of the world, the increasingly dissolute state of Jamaican music, or the scandals that befell him in 2009 we are unlikely to ever truly know. But if he produces two tough albums in one year, it can't be all bad.

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