2007-08-09Corey Harris has seldom let himself be conscripted to straight blues even while recording for such notable blues labels as Alligator. Instead, he’s freely incorporated elements of funk, R & B, reggae and hip-hop into his work. This disc, his first on the Telarc label, finds him leaving the blues completely on the shelf in favor of a percolating mix of reggae and ska. True to his roots as a teacher, Harris weaves tales about role of the 10 Commandments in Ethiopian culture, "Ark of the Covenant", the steep price paid by those who supply us with bargains on the clothing we wear, "Sweatshop", the joy and promise of a new day, "In the Morning", the wasted death of Guyanese historian "Walter Rodney" and the need for people of color to unite to improve their positions rather than simply lamenting how they got there, "Heathen Rage". While the subject matter is often serious, Harris avoids taking on the air of mirthless lecturer. Buoyed by the sinuous, horn-powered, reggae grooves the tracks will hook you and keep you on board for the tales that he weaves. This disc will fit nicely alongside the works of such socially conscious reggae bands as Steel Pulse but with the more accessible feel of Third World or any of the Marley clan. Smitty
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