Personnel: Deadly Headley (horns); Style Scott (drums); Junior Reid (percussion); Janette Denton, Mikey General (background vocals).
Recording information: JR Recording Studio, Kingston 10, Jamaica.
This moving tribute to the late Grammy Reid, who was slain January 1, 1999, is full of anger, pain, regret, and compassion, all voiced over a dub plate known as the Bobo Dread Rhythm. While the lack of rhythmic variance in this kind of collection can often get tedious, it doesn't here, and the sheer emotional intensity that such singers as Big Youth, Luciano, Gregory Isaacs, and Linval Thompson bring to this project more than carries the day, making a memorial suite that verges on the magnificent. "Grammy," the lead track, is sung by Grammy's brother, Junior Reid, and the performance is full of sorrow and rage. A later track over the same rhythm, the hopeful "Live Good" by Sugar Minott, offers the possibility of emotional healing. The accumulation of voices here speaking over the same backing track gives Reggae Singers' Revenge an uncommon singularity in vision, and a remarkable depth and weight. This probably isn't an album for everybody, but anyone hearing it can't help but be moved by its raw emotion and strength of purpose. ~ Steve Leggett