SHOK WAVE is your weekly new REGGAE music blog. SHOK WAVE finds music that is out there in the form of Reggae, Dancehall, Soca, Ska, Dub, Reggae Rock & anything else musical with a Caribbean origin and in any language.
Here is what we found this week.......Enjoy!
Mr Vegas said he wanted to do a reggae album and that he did in 'ISM.' The whole album is reggae, with one gospel with no real reggae beat & the dancehall single 'Wakanda Jam.' Vegas went as far as re-doing several ol skool reggae riddims, too. The album is a tribute to African culture & starts with a tribute to big up the black woman in ''Black Princess.' Then there's 'Kemet,' which utilizes one of those old riddims (Gun Shot) to stress an important topic of the same name. Mr Smith could never leave out 'Mama Africa.' The 'Heavenless' riddim is the backdrop for 'Give I Strength.' More of the ol time riddims in the 'Far East' really speaks about today's 'Moral Decay Society,' sad yet true. Remember Freddie McGregor's 'Dont Hurt My Feelings,' it's the right riddim for 'Bring Back Reggae.' Vegas pays tribute to his reggae artists and puts to action what he's preaching. In 'Love Up There' his words say it best “Me trust inna God me no trust human… Love me a deal with and not religion / Nuff pastor a liar, God people them a con." Let's hope the people gravitate to it and support it. Be patient with this video, it's Mr Vegas himself playing the album and talking about it.
'In My Brain' is a nice modern roots reggae riddim. My favorite is George Nooks' 'Only Woman' which has such a nice & original melody. The other top tracks are Eljai's 'Don't Need To Change' and Chronixx & Richie Spice's 'Unity We Need.' All are nice though.
Andy Bassford is a renowned reggae guitarist born in America & one of the few to be awarded by the Jamaican Federation for Musicians for his contributions to reggae in Jamaica. He has released his first solo album called 'The Harder They Strum.' Basically, its the 'The Harder They Come' album played with a lead guitar instead of lead vocals. Brilliant with a bit of a jazz feel. The way Andy plays the guitar it's like his guitar is speaking to you and singing too. This album was chosen to take it back where it all began, and to reflect Andy's personal and musical values all the way through, from start to finish. He kept his audiences of the 1980's in mind when he lived & played there, as the core of who he was playing for, on this recording. Guests on this album include Monty Alexander, New Kingston, Soul Sisters Six, Mikey Chung, The Blue People, Sidney Mills, Larry McDonald, Gordon Williams, Derrick Barnett & Karl Wright, and were utilized the most.
The real down tempo & heartical roots reggae is here & coming from Nga Han. The album is called David Stone and was produced by Natty Roots of Puerto Rico. Very reminiscent of that Virgin Islands sound, and Tippy I recorded the drums on that island. There's a guest appearance from Addis Pablo, who appears on both great dubs, one being the dub of 'Behold' & the other the dub of 'Play Your Part.' The album starts with the one that struck me strongest 'Holy Key.' As Rastas in the system we are 'Unmoved' by what babylon does, just aware and move on. The album closes with the appropriate 'Psalm 45.'
Several new tracks have come out that are worth a listen. Many islands (Antigua, Grenada, St Lucia & St Vincent) are gearing up for their respective carnivals and that's the basis for all the good Soca music. St Vincent's Hance has a great tune in 'Deja Vu.'
Klass Money of Dominica comes with a song that is a big part of the culture 'Rude Whine' and it features feat King Dice. A bit 'rude' and catchy, watch out...
Most should know Nadia Batson's 'Catching Feelings' on the great 'Folklore' riddim. Love both. The main version has come out by unknown artist Raiyo and I personally like it better. What do you think?
There are many elements to soca songs and many times, especially these days they are more about partying, drinking, wining, jumping & having fun. That's just Soca. Well, Michael Robinson of St Lucia has come with the rare topic in Soca 'Who Jah Bless.' A very pleasant surprise for me.
With the above in mind we still 'Thank God For Soca.' We love the groove, regardless of what they sing about.
Solo artists Wayne Anthony as the sweet voice & Dejavu as the songwriter, both from Jamaica, have joined forces to make up the group Room Temperature. Boiling Point is their album and is a very raw project with lots of underlying talent. There are songs that are way off and then there are others that show so much talent that it can't be denied. It's mostly an album of Soca with hints of Reggaeton & Dancehall. The melodies and lyrics are simple yet so good that they may come across as pop. This is 'Good Time' music as much of Trinidad's music follows that pattern, like in "Back up on me like a Ducati.' It's about the process of finding love ('Ma Senorita'), falling & being in love ('4am In California') and then falling out of love ('Ego' & 'Radio'). Lastly, "you have to count your blessings give thanks & praise, remember life's a lesson you've got to count your days.......'Happy Days."