Thursday, 12 February 2009

Wilberforce 200

This remarkable UK CD celebrates the 200th anniversary, in 2007 of the abolition of the slave trade. However – a wee bit of history for you! - this did not affect those that were already enslaved in the British Empire until 1833! Furthermore, for all of William Wilberforce's reforming zeal it has to be noted that the sheer costs of slavery and importing sugar were, in truth, the main reason for the Empire stopping this sickening activity. Nevertheless, it was a milestone, and many of the UK's finest musical talents of all shades of music draw together here to remember. Some names are new to be – such as Brian Temba who gives a good reading of Marvin's “Inner City Blues”. This gentleman possesses a really soulful voice and I'd love to see more activity from him in the future as a result of this. The evergreen Billy Ocean chimes in with the opening cut, “Chained”; not his strongest effort but I definitely warm to the theme. The edgier Roachford possesses a great voice, one I feel has rarely been utilised properly – but his spirited rendition of Donny's “Someday We'll All Be Free” is superb!

Nice, also to see the likes of Junior and Ruby Turner make an appearance. One of the surprises for me was the Reggae inclusion by Janet Kay. I really loved her song, “Who The Cap Fits” with its lilting canter and soulful sax. Pity it's raining cats and dogs outside, or else it would be a perfect listen! Another fresh name to me is Jag and his excellent soulful number, “Thankful”. I know for a fact you will love this. I can imagine that if the musicality of Connor Reeves is your cup of tea, and Don E is your favour then this will be one for you. I love this, and talking of Don E the man steps up and delivers an awesome slice of UK Soul in the form of “Someday Somehow”. This, for me, is the best thing he has laid down in years, and certainly better than anything on his last pedestrian sets for Dome, except maybe for the excellent Atomic Dread remix of “Slow!” with Lornette Ford. This has a slight early 90s feel to it, and should push a few buttons for you. The compilation is segued in places, but allows the music to flow along nicely. I'm not a fan of this, though, but at least on a themed, commemorative, album is not too offputting. Another nice effort from the UK!

Barry Towler

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