Live at the Grassroots

by: Justin Hinds

This excellent live set serves as something of an overview of Justin Hinds' illustrious career, beginning with the early days of ska and passing through the rocksteady era and into the smokiest depths of the roots-and-culture period. And he could hardly have found more sympathetic backing than that provided by John Brown's Body, which is not only America's finest reggae band, but perhaps the best roots reggae ensemble since the Soul Syndicate. The first 14 tracks on this 15-track album were recorded live at the Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival in Trumansburg, NY, in the summer of 2002, and they cover all the classic material: gently galloping ska anthems like "Teach the Youth" and "Higher the Monkey Climbs," elastic rocksteady grooves like "Get Ready Rock Steady" and "Botheration," and percolating reggae numbers like the gorgeous "Weeping Eyes" and an unusually slow rendition of "Carry Go Bring Come." The program is rounded out by an excellent studio recording of "Never Felt This Way Before," which is a cruel tease -- the only thing better than this live album would be a studio recording of newer material. Highly recommended. ~ Rick Anderson

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