Jam-Tex Top 10 Albums: August 2008

1. Cutty RanksReggae Anthology: Limb By Limb [VP Records 2008]
2. SeraniThe Future (Doh!) [2008]
3. Girl TalkFeed the Animals [Illegal Art 2008]
4. Randy NewmanHarps and Angels [Nonesuch 2008]
5. Joe Gibbs & Errol Thompson – Reggae Anthology: Scorchers from the Mighty Two [VP Records 2008]
6. Randy TravisAround the Bend [Warner Brothers 2008]
7. Eleven Hundred SpringsCountry Jam [Palo Duro Records 2008]
8. CultureCulture & the DeeJay’s at Joe Gibbss [VP Records 2008]
9. Old 97’s Blame It on Gravity [New West 2008]
10. Luke Doucet Blood’s Too Rich [Six Shooter Records 2008]

Cutty Ranks, the original dancehall ragamuffin, slays deejays with his rough, raw, and precise rhymes on songs like “A Who Seh Me Dun,” “Gunman Lyrics,” “Stopper,” and “Limb by Limb.” But also the boss deejay turns out to be quite the lady killer, toasting over reggae crooners, such as Dennis Brown, Marcia Griffiths, Beres Hammond, and Wayne Wonder, and making panties wet from Oisten, Barbados to Austin, Texas.

On a trip to Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines I found myself listening to the new dancehall sensation Serani. His album The Future (Doh!) assembles some of the newest hits, including “She Loves Me” and “Doh” featuring ragga general Bugle. Since I was with my lady I found the song “She Loves Me” perfectly sensual for afternoon romps. Jah blessed Young Island on St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Serani and the sunset made for a perfect romantic setting. Serani played on the local radio stations in the Caribbean, blazing up digicel’s hot caribbean 30, but also country music emanated from the radios in the Grenadines. Randy Travis was a favorite among local sail boat captains and cooks. Truly country music is global and the people of the Caribbean respect its soulful sounds.

Singer-songwriter Randy Newman took time off from producing timeless movie soundtracks to drop a new album and to unleash a timeless criticism of the current administration. Newman sings in “A Few Words in Defense of Our Country:”

A President once said,
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”
Now it seems like we’re supposed to be afraid
It’s patriotic in fact and color coded
And what are we supposed to be afraid of?
Why, of being afraid
That’s what terror means, doesn’t it?
That’s what it used to mean

And then Newman brings it home:

The end of an empire is messy at best
And this empire is ending
Like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave
And the home of the free

Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

Randy Newman you have got a friend in me!

Jam-Tex Top 10 Albums: August 2008

JamTex Top 10 for July 2008

July 2008
1. DubmatixRenegade Rocker [Dubmatrix 2008]
2. Hayes CarllTrouble In Mind [Lost Highway 2008]
3. Various Artists Reggae Gold 2008 [VP Records 2008]
4. Willie NelsonOne Hell of a Ride [Box Set] [Sony 2008]
5. Joe Ely and Joel Guzman – Live Cactus [Rack’em Records 2008]
6. Alejandro Escovedo Real Animal [Back Porch Records 2008]
7. DJ Yoda Fabriclive 39 [Fabric 2008]
8. Ryan Bingham Mescalito [Lost Highway 2007]
9. EtanaThe Strong One [VP Records 2008]
10. Various Artist Ragga Ragga Ragga! 2008 [Greensleeves 2008]

Dubmatix‘s new album Renegade Rockers offers some true gems with classic dancehall don Pinchers and rocksteady veteran Alton Ellis laying down superb tracks with the Canadian dubmaster. Lining up sensational reggae vocalist like Willi Williams, Linval Thompson, and Ranking Joe, Dubmatix has produced dynamite soundscapes to be played loudly in the hot Texas heat.

Hayes Carll‘s “She Left for Jesus” from his new album Trouble in Mind is the best country song of the year if not the decade. Witty, humorous, and delightfully sounding Hayes Carll embodies the best of roots music.

VP’s Reggae Gold 2008 compiled some of the hottest reggae coming out of the Caribbean, including Mavado, Beenie Man, Bugle, Richie Spice, and Collie Buddz. Syren Hall‘s “Sombody Come Get Me” and Tarrus Riley‘s “Ease Off” play like smooth roots reggae. The compilation contains burning dancehall anthems, such as Stephen Marley and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley‘s “The Mission.” YT‘s “Champion Sound” kills the competition, dropping bombs and crazy bass.

For a trek across New Mexico and Arizona and onto the old casinos of downtown Las Vegas, the sounds of Joe Ely and Joel Guzman‘s new album Live Cactus framed a passing desert landscape. And where eventually the desert plain gave way to mad rapids on the swollen Colorado River rampaging down the truly grand canyons of the American Southwest.

JamTex Top 10 for July 2008