Release date: 22nd June 2015
Sugar Shack Records
LP (FOD108V), CD (FOD108CD) and Digital Download
One of the benefits of running this review site is learning about bands, producers, labels and songs that are new to me. I have a pretty good knowledge of the reggae scene, not encyclopaedic, but perhaps more than the next man. So when you love a style of music, hearing new gems does makes the whole thing worthwhile.
Thanks to the lovely people at Sugar Shack Records (also see my review of their Midland Roots Explosion compilation, one I keep banging on about!) they sent me an album by Jashwha Moses, a new artist on me. It’s a follow up to his 2013 No War on Earth debut, which took an astonishing thirty five years to craft and deliver! Since No War on Earth’s splash, Jashwha has been performing live, honing his spiritual sound and writing material for this new collection of uplifting roots.
On first listen don’t be fooled by the upbeat melodies, this album is very deep and in the true tradition of quality roots, Mr Moses uses his lyrics to put across some subtle but strong messages. If you listen to ‘I Believe’ which is quite a jaunty tune, (you can even hear some Paul McCartney in there) the lyrics talk about displacement, hunger and coping with hard times or ‘What a Situation’ which talks about pollution, hatred, war and wanton destruction! Great roots territory emphasising reggae as the true protest music.
Other stand out tracks include ‘People of Power’, which has echoes of Bob Marley’s ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ whilst ‘Rise Up’ goes into more frenetic digi territory and includes traditional African influences.
Jashwha has quite a vocal range and his falsetto voice (think Junior Marvin) complements the upbeat tracks, but on my favourite songs he slips into gruffer territory. ‘Bad Situation’ is a heavy roots skank with plenty of horns and vocals reminiscent of LKJ, whilst a live version of ‘Jah Time Has Come’ slows down the tempo for a roots spiritual workout. Ideal soundsystem tracks!
To sum up, The Rising is a very good album, quite varied in places and worthy of a place on your turntable, particularly if you like some lyrical depth to your reggae. I for one will definitely be investigating his earlier work and let’s hope Jashwha doesn’t take another thirty five years to bring us more material!
That’s my view, what do you think of the ‘What a Situation’ track? Maybe you bought the No War on Earth album, how does it compare? Let me know in the comments, it would be great to hear from you!
One final word of condolence, Mikey Taylor-Hall passed away earlier this May after a long battle with poor health. Mikey was a well-known figure in the Bristol Reggae scene and co-wrote, engineered and produced this album. All at reggaerootsreview.com offer our best wishes to his family and Jashwha at this difficult time. Bless