Darker Shades of Roots
This LP is an interesting release, a true down to earth record that has integrity and deep spirit. Children’s Prayer from the Darker Shades of Roots label is as natural and real as any modern reggae roots release; it is actually quite humbling how much passion has gone into the record. The album is a mixture of instrumentals and dub poetry, with a concept and vision based on a little known dub poet called Redfoot.
In this review I am not going to focus on the label or the musicians. After checking out their website and exchanging a couple of emails with Dod from the group, their vision soon becomes obvious. In their own words they see themselves as a group of ‘passionate idrens, devoted to crafting authentic roots reggae from our perceptions’. The idea of music first and individuals second certainly comes across in their music. It all contributes to an LP of well put together tunes that celebrate nature, birth and human spirit.
The album is definitely raw, but in a positive way. No over production here, the recordings are all authentically analogue. Once you have had a couple of listens you will come away with a warm, grounded feeling. One of the best named tracks you will hear this year is ‘Earth Bound Pumpkin’, which is a tune that nourishes the soul. This pacey track jigs along following a very determined
path, with vocals drifting in telling a story. In fact my only criticism of the album is that it would really benefit from a lyric sheet. You can pick up snippets, but with dub poetry at its heart, it would be interesting to able to follow the words properly.
My favourite track from the album is probably the most melodic. ‘Iron Blood’ features a nice understated vocal from group member Ras Ico, the song is a prayer of protection for pregnancy and birth. A great example of the ethos of this LP, as there is nothing more natural than birth and this track offers love for all mothers.
All in all this is a wonderfully put together roots album which has a comforting ‘round the campfire story telling’ feel to it. I love the care that has gone into it, it’s great when musicians like to craft records rather than just churn them out. Children’s Prayer is out now from all good retailers, you can hear some snippets at the Jah Waggys site (although do note that the A & B side tracks are round the wrong way on the site!) and make your own mind up.
I hope you will give this album a try, leave a comment below with your thoughts. A share would also be appreciated. If you like the sound of this album try out this release from Dubby Doo and Hugh Mundell, this is another down to earth raw roots release.
Bless, Paper Lion