by: Barrington Levy

Whether due to his warm-hearted, almost androgynous vocals or to the simple fact that cynics resent any musician that records anything past 1979, perennial reggae icon Barrington Levy has never reached the sort of crossover Marley-dom that some of his peers enjoy. However, with such a striking piece of stress-free ability so early in his career, historical concerns like these should probably be abolished. Most of Englishman finds Levy in a supernaturally relaxed state of mind, vocalizing an alluring range of sentiment, intelligence, and ghetto patois that more than keep up with the eclectic production hands of Henry "Junjo" Lawes. "Bend Your Back" is pure dancehall geniality (with an affecting rhythm perhaps closer to American blues than anything else), "Look Girl" is disco-reggae merriment, and better still, "Sister Carol" is the kind of song that will quite possibly continue to break hearts forever. Some occasional lapses into failed modernization do put a crimp on things, but this is the sort of album that instantly befriends and immediately signals an important talent. In Levy's own words, this is nothing less than "sweet reggae music." ~ Dean Carlson

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.