Top Ranking Albums of December 2012

[Click on the album covers to listen to some samples or to purchase the album]

Samuel YirgaGuzo [Real World Records 2012]

Various ArtistsDjango Unchained [Universal Republic 2012]

Jah CureWorld Cry [SoBe Entertainment 2012]

Various ArtistsStrictly the Best, Vol. 46 [VP Records 2012]

Various ArtistsStrictly the Best, Vol. 47 [VP Records 2012]

Cypress Hill & RuskoCypress Hill X Rusko [EP] [Cooperative Music 2012]

Jah 9Mr. Right [Rorystonelove 2012]

Jah 9Jungle [Rorystonelove 2012]

Damien JuradoMaraqopa [Secretly Canadian 2012]

Irie LoveThis Is Irie Love [Irie Aloha Records 2012]

Wayne WonderMy Way [Singso Music 2012]

Morgan HeritageThe Return EP [VP Records 2012]

J BoogSmoke Bomb Bud [Washhouse Hawaii 2012]

Amy WinehouseAt the BBC [Universal Republic 2012]

Benjamin SchoolsChina Man Vs China Girl [Freaksville 2012]

Kelan Philip Cohran & the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – Kelan Philip Cohran & the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble [Honest Jon’s Records 2012]

The Cactus ChannelThe Haptics [Hope Street Recordings 2012]

Big BoiViscous Lies and Dangerous Rumors [Def Jam 2012]

Skillin JahSkillmatic [GanJah Records 2012]

SerynThis Is Where We Are [Seryn 2011]

Buddy Miller and Jim LauderdaleBuddy and Jim [New West 2012]

Kendrick Lamargood kid, m.A.A.d. city [Aftermath 2012]

The MaldivesMuscle for the Wing [Spark and Shine 2012]

WaxahatcheeAmerican Weekend [Don Giovanni 2012]

Matthew DearBeams [Ghostly International 2012]

Public EnemyThe Evil Empire of Everything [King Midas 2012]

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Top Ranking Albums of December 2012

Top Albums of November 2009

This month’s music selection varies from twangy country to roots reggae to experimental jazz-hip-hop and dub. Robert Glasper‘s Double Booked is chalk-full of creativity and musicianship.  Glasper, a pianist originally from Houston, Texas has performed with Erykah BaduThe Roots, Maxwell, and Mos Def. On this new album Glasper mixes hip-hop, jazz, and experimental music into a beautiful soundscape.
Conrad Crystal and Suga Roy have put together a fine album with help from some of reggae’s icons. The legendary Toots & The Maytals joins the duo on “God Bless You.” The singjay Gyptian performs “Jah Jah See Dem”  in tribute to Joseph Hill and Culture. The dancehall jam “She Call Mi Phone” features “king of the dancehall” Beenie Man and the amazing vocalist Barrington Levy. Deejays U Roy, Dillinger, and Big Youth join the fray while Reggae superstars Lee “Scratch” Perry, Max Romeo, Eek-A-Mouse, Marcia Griffiths, Dennis Brown, The Congos, and Inner Circle all lend their vocals. Even the amazing danechall duo Chaka Demus & Pliers makes an appearance on “Girl You Rock My World.”
The Stephen Marleyalbum Mind Control originally dropped more than a year ago. Now a newer acoustic version of the disc has been released called Mind Control Acoustic. The smooth beautiful track “Chase Dem” features Capleton layering rhymes through the original tune. Brothers Damian Marley and Julian Marley appear on the record as does rude boy Spragga Benz.
  1. Robert GlasperDouble Booked [Blue Note 2009]
  2. Conrad Crystal & Suga RoySuga Roy, Conrad Crystal and the Great Reggae Icons [Fire Ball 2009]
  3. Stephen MarleyMind Control Acoustic [Tuff Gong 2009]
  4. Danny BarnesPizza Box [ATO Records 2009]
  5. Corb LundLosin’ Lately Gambler [New West 2009]
  6. Beres HammondSomething Old, Something New [Penthouse Records 2009]
  7. Morgan HeritageThe Journey Thus Far [VP Records 2009]
  8. DrakeSo Far Gone [Young Money/Cash Money 2009]
  9. B.B. SeatonReady For The World [Soul Beat/Roots International 2009]
  10. Various Artist Joyful Noise [I Grade Records 2009]
  11. Geoff Maldaur & the Texas Shieks – Texas Sheiks [Tradition & Moderne 2009]
  12. James Hand – Shadow on the Ground [Rounder 2009]
  13. Jack Johnson En Concert [Brushfire Records 2009]
  14. SeraniNo Games [Phase One 2009]
  15. The Soothsayers Meet Red Earth Collective One More Reason [Red Earth Music 2009]
  16. Del Tha Funkyhomosapien & Tame OneParallel Uni-Verses [Gold Dust 2009]
  17. Mike Zito Pearl River [Eclecto Groove Records 2009]
  18. Nitty Gritty Dirt BandSpeed Of Life [Sugar Hill 2009]
  19. Various Artists Riddim Driven: Clearance [VP 2009]
  20. LorenzoMovin’ Ahead [Irie Ites 2009]
Top Albums of November 2009

Reggae on the River 2009 – Reggae on the River in Humboldt County

I got to attend this year’s Reggae on the River Festival in Southern Humboldt County, California. The festival had a great local community feel and funds raised went to support the Mateel Community Center in Redway, California. The Eel River flowed through the picturesque venue located at Benbow State Recreational Area. Reggae on the River celebrated its 25th Anniversary in fine style. Positive vibrations flowed all day long. Soul Majestic played early in the day bringing their brand of soul-drenched reggae to the stage. The track “First Light” set the vibe and songs like “Rough N’ Tuff ” displayed the musical prowess of this young group. Soul Majestic also played the single “Better World,” which dovetails nicely with their positive vibe and eco-friendly message.

Queen Omega ignited the stage with soul, dancehall, and roots reggae. A native of Trinidad and Tobago Queen Omega sang “Love Ya Color,” “Judgement,” “Warning,” and “Ganja Baby” to an appreciative crowd.  The Roots Revealers bought Jamaican dancehall to northern California playing the songs “Long Road” and “No More Killing.”

The crowd-pleasing crown princess of roots reggae Etana turned it up a notch dropping the killer hits “Roots” and “Blessing.” The lovely songstress covered some Bob Marley and the Wailers tunes creating a wonderful vibe with the classic “One Drop.” Etana played some tracks from her newest hit album The Strong One performing “Jah Chariot” and “Don’t Forget,” and “Caltariba System.” And I was pleasantly surprised by Etana‘s cover of the Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down.” Etana finished her set singing “I Am Not Afraid,” which is from one of my favorite riddims: the “Rub-A-Dub” riddim.

The legendary vocal group from Jamaica The Abyssinians took the stage under the afternoon sun. Roots reggae filled the air with classic tunes like “Y Mas Gan,” “African Race,” “Let My Days Be Long,”  “Meditation,” and “Know Jah Today.” The Abyssinians took us to the Bible and the book of Daniel with “Abendigo,” turning the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendigo into a wonderful reggae and dub experience. And of course the reggae legends performed their megahits from the Satta Massagana album, including “Peculiar Number,” “Black Man’s Strain,” “Declaration Of Rights,” “Forward Unto Zion,” and “Satta Massagana.”

The Abyssinians at Reggae on the River 2009
The Abyssinians at Reggae on the River 2009
The Abyssinians Dancing at Reggae on the River 2009
The Abyssinians Dancing at Reggae on the River 2009

Tanya Stephens livened things up with a raunchy-rough riding performance that included plenty of references to “long ding dongs” with high-energy versions of “Boom Wuk” and “Good Ride.” The dancehall favorite “Yuh Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet” set a playful vibe and then she played the killer singles “Can’t Breathe,” “It’s A Pity,” and “These Streets.” Stephens showed her soulful side too with songs like “What Ah Day” and “Little White Lie.” But it seemed Stephens dominated with the playful tunes like “Tek Him Back” and “To The Rescue.”

Tanya Stephens at Reggae on the River 2009
Tanya Stephens at Reggae on the River 2009
Tanya Stephens at Reggae on the River 2009, California
Tanya Stephens at Reggae on the River 2009, California

Then the Yellow Wall Dub Squad took the stage to warm it up for The Mighty Diamonds. The bassist sang the song “Overlaod” and then King David sang a reggae version of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.” The Mighty Diamonds entered the stage and played “Poor Marcus Garvey” and “Rise Up” from the album titled Rise Up. The roots reggae gems “Have Mercy,” “Right Time,” “Africa,” and “I Need A Roof” all made the set list. The “I Need A Roof” jam extended and transitioned into a cover of the Bob Marley‘s anthem “Get Up, Stand Up.” An extended version of “Pass The Kutchie” and a sweet version of the Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions tune “It’s All Rightt” capped off the set. Etana, The Abyssinians, Soul Majestic, Queen Omega, and The Mighty Diamonds then returned to the stage and all performed together for a finale. The all-star group of reggae performers sang the Bob Marley and the Wailers classic hit “One Love / People Get Ready.”

The Eel River at Reggae on the River 2009
The Eel River at Reggae on the River 2009
Dancin' Crowd at Reggae on the River 2009
Dancin' Crowd at Reggae on the River 2009

Reggae on the River 2009 – Reggae on the River in Humboldt County