DJ Ranking Joe (who has also recorded under the name Little Joe, not to be confused with Little John) is a legend among the cognoscenti of old-school dancehall reggae, although his commercial career and worldwide reputation have always been overshadowed by those of his contemporaries Big Youth and, especially, the great U-Roy, who served as something of a mentor to Ranking Joe during his early career. This excellent new set finds him in the company of session greats from the early days, including trumpeter Bobby Ellis, saxophonist Dean Fraser, and guitarist Chinna Smith; since Ryan Moore (of Twilight Circus Dub Sound System fame) is behind the boards, the rhythms are thick, dark, and heavy -- close your eyes and you could be back in the Channel One studio or even the Black Ark during the roots heyday of the late '70s. And Ranking Joe himself is in top form; he's effortlessly articulate chatting on tracks like "Don't Follow Babylon" (a fine combination track featuring singer Michael Rose) and "Seek Ye First," neither of them breaking any new ground either lyrically or musically, but both demonstrating again that Ranking Joe deserves to be rated with the very best exponents of this venerable style of reggae chatting. Highly recommended. ~ Rick Anderson, Rovi
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