Doctor Dread Presents
Barrington Levy is a Jamaican reggae artist from the old school. His career started as a teen in 70’s dancehalls, and has been an admired international singer ever since. Recently, he released an acoustic album featuring stripped back versions of many of his hits. It is pure gold.
Barrington Levy is a reggae artist, but this is not really a reggae album. Once you take away the drums, you lose the backbeat and the reggae feel. The album has more of an acoustic rock and pop vibe without the distinctive reggae one-drop going on. It is replaced with passionate guitar and a focus on Levy’s exquisite and emotive voice.
Barrington Levy is an incredible singer. He’s one of these old-school cats that really exemplifies the art of the crooner. He’s capable of hitting high notes far above your average singer’s range, and his sense of timing and dynamics can move you deeply.
The album starts off with a very catchy song entitled “Murdera”. It features a steady rhythm from some hand percussion and tambourine. It is one of the few songs on the album to have any percussion at all. It’s one of the only political minded tracks on the album, and it’s hard hitting.
My favorite track on the album is “Be Strong”. It’s a passionate plea from a man to his woman to stop accusing him of messing around and to trust him completely. It is delivered with incredible passion, and Levy’s voice just cuts right through to a deep place where you can really feel the emotions: “…we’ve been together for so long, and we’ve been through so much; I try to do right, yah, but everything I do seems to go wrong; If I didn’t love you baby, I’d be long gone; I need you now, I need you to be strong”.
Another great track is “Things Friends”. It’s a critique of people who are only around because you have money, fame, and other things. “I don’t want no things friends; I want genuine friends; to be with me right through the end, and just not some things friends”. Typical of much roots reggae, the album is full of positive sentiment and criticism of people that waste their time chasing materialistic goals.
I fell in love with this album from the first listen. I’m a sucker for a good acoustic album, and I was blown away by Barrington Levy’s incredible voice and strong lyrics. If you’re looking for something different than the mainstream, check out “AcousticaLevy” – it’s the kind of music just about anyone can enjoy.
Tom Matthew, Two Ton Music