VP Records’ collection of roots reggae music celebrates ‘jah’


From the opening strains of Buju Banton’s haunting ‘Our Father in Zion’ to the evangelistic delivery of Luciano’s live performance of his classic, ‘It’s Me Again Jah’ there is no mistaking that ‘Reggae Loves JAH’ is a thoughtful collection of hits that is sure to become a favorite for reggae lovers globally. Released on VP Records, the  sequencing of the songs by Dane “Fatman” Bogle, easily captures the essence of the unique relationship between reggae, Rasta, Emperor Selassie the First, revered by many as ‘Jah’ and the island of Jamaica, from which reggae and rasta sprung forth. ‘Reggae Loves Jah’ contains thirteen tracks espousing Rastafarian “livity” in giving praises to the ‘Most High,Jah Rastafari.’

For executive producer Eisaku “Selector A” Yamaguchi, this album was made “from the bottom of his heart” as a tribute to Rastafarian principles. He says, “I am not Rasta, but I support Rasta and their “livity,” their view on life and what Rastafari I stand for is similar to how I view life.” Selector A’s previous compilation, ‘Reggae Loves Africa’ was “a reminder about Africa…Reggae is known for its strong message and inspiration, it inspires people worldwide.”

Reggae Loves Jah is right on time, featuring a collection of stand alone hits like  ‘Greetings,’ track #4 from Half Pint; track #5, ‘Jah Is By My Side’ from Tony Rebel; ‘Jah Jah Is The Ruler’ with Garnet Silk on track #11 and ‘Jah Works,’ track #6 from Terror Fabulous. Over the years, many reggae stars have said that they learned about Rastafari, Africa and Emperor Haile Selassie the First through reggae music. Songs like Glen Washington’s ‘Jah Glory,’ track#10 and Bushman’s ‘Lighthouse’ track $12 are prayerful praises being given up to Jah, “the Most High.” The album allows new comers to the genre to have a good sampling in one compilation as a solid representation of Rastafarian praise music. Selector A says, “I made this album, ‘Reggae Loves JAH’ as a Rasta baton from the bottom of my heart, to pass on to the next generation.”

Though the tracks represent a variety of singers and producers, the late Phillip “Fattis” Burrell’s Xterminator label is featured four times beginning with track #2, ‘Praise Him’ with Sanchez, which remains a perennial favorite, followed by track #3, ‘Praise Ye Jah’ with Sizzla. This track reminds us of the sweetly poignant vocals and profound lyrics that made us fall in love with Sizzla in the 90’s. Track #9, ‘Jah Blessing’ features Sizzla and at the time stable mate, Luciano, on a very popular track that scored big for them and Xterminator as they were being mentored by Fattis. The final track on the album is also an Xterminator single, ‘It’s Me Again Jah’ which helped to catapult Luciano, who became known as “The Messenger” into becoming a household name. The song is loved by Christians, church goers, Rastafarians and secular folks alike. Tracks like Fantan Mojah’s ‘Thanks and Praise’ and Jah Cure’s ‘Jah Jah Bless Me’ are fast becoming classics and deserve to be among these established tracks.

There is something to be said about the thought that went into compiling these thirteen tracks and paying homage to the muse of roots reggae music. ‘Reggae Loves JAH’ is chock full of songs that we know, songs that have remained in our consciousness. Like prayers we learned as children that quickly come to mind in times of need, these songs though familiar to the average reggae fan, will be well received by the astute reggae collector for all being on the same album. Selector A is convinced that “with social media we can promote this album to the new generation as articles alone can’t get the youth’s attention; we still need music to carry out the message.”–OnPointPress.net.


Reggae stalwarts pass on during month celebrating the music

Wayne Smith changed the course of reggae with his digital tune.

Wayne Smith changed the course of reggae with his digital tune.

By Carmen Glover

When the catchy rhythm “Under Mi Sleng Teng” was released in the 1980’s reggae lovers became immediately enthralled, sampling the smooth tune so often that the musical strains stayed in our psyches on our minds like a longstanding part of life. The death announcement that Wayne Smith, 48, the creative genius who introduced the blend of computerized range and reggae flavor for the memorable “Under Mi Sleng Teng” track, has plunged the reggae community into mourning, two weeks after the death of William ‘Bunny Rugs’ Clarke, 65, the late lead singer for the iconic reggae band, Third World.

The vinyl track for the famous tune.

The vinyl track for the famous tune.

Both deaths have come during February’s Reggae Month, when the music is examined, reminisced about and celebrated in various venues and methods. Clarke died on February 3 and Smith died on February 17. Joe Gibbs also died in February, years ago. When the impact of reggae music is examined, Dennis Brown, who was born February 1 and died in July 1999, Robert Nesta Marley, born February 6 and died May 11 are among the top names mentioned, along with Peter Tosh, Jacob Miller, Sugar Minott and Garnet Silk.

William "Bunny Rugs" Clarke of reggae group Third World.

William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke of reggae group Third World.

With the untimely deaths of Clarke and Smith, the conversation will become broader and more textured to reflect the diversity in reggae music and the expansive span of the creative forces who shaped it over the years.  Smith, who launched a new, digital, era in reggae with his exciting “Under Mi Sleng Teng” tune, will generate conversation as his legacy takes a lead in the hearts, minds and conversations of reggae lovers across the world, as the news of his untimely death continues to reverberate across the globe.  –OnPointPress.net

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