by: Jarret Lovell
Roots of Creation – “Grateful Dub” - (2018: Bombshell Records)
There has always been a strange meeting of the minds between fans of the Grateful Dead and fans of reggae music. Perhaps it’s the organic sound; perhaps it’s the laidback vibe. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia for the golden years of the 1970s and 80s. Whatever it is, reggae artists have produced quite a number of Dead covers, and Jerry Garcia himself has covered quite a number of reggae tunes. Now, the west coast band Roots of Creation have added an album to the crossover with “Grateful Dub.” This is no quickly recorded record. The arrangements are great, and the guest stars fabulous. Stephen Marley, G. Love & Special Sauce, and the Aggrolites are but a few of the guests, as well as musicians who have toured with Phil Lesh and the Jerry Garcia band. A great collection.
Blazing Mob – “Words Carved In Stone” - (2018: Dennis Dynasty)
From Southern California, this trio creates nice, mellow, positive reggae music with a soulful and political sound. “Old Abe” laments that even years after “old abe” freed the slaves, things for blacks in many ways remain the same. Nevertheless, the next track reminds us to “still give thanks” for life and love. This is a strong reggae release with a wonderful, authentic sound. Pick any track; you won’t be disappointed.
Diana Rutherford – “Better Days” - (2018: Tiger Records)
From August Town, Kingston (Jamaica), Diana Rutherford delivers powerful vocals over straight-up reggae vibes. “Off the tracks” delivers a female perspective on what it takes to make it in society – a rather timely theme. Likewise with “Strong Black Woman” which begins with a great bassline and funky guitar. The vocals are delivered almost toasting style. Really good track.