|"In My Father's House" by Addis Pablo [JahSolidRock]|
Back to Addis. When it comes to making Roots Reggae music these days, in general, you virtually have to have an eye and an ear pointed in the direction of Dutch label, JahSolidRock. Though they make fantastic music, particularly what it is about their releases is just how engrossing and riveting their SOUND is. For everyone who has ever listened to the genre and thought it to be boring or formulaic (of course you're completely wrong), I'd well recommend picking up a project from JSR. Prior to 2014, my largest suggestion would have been one of the pair of albums from Chezidek who had demonstrated a stunning level of chemistry with the label between 2010's "Judgment Time" and its followup from three years on, "The Order of Melchezedik". And while that remains the case, in early 2014 someone else made a very strong case for themselves to be in the discussion as Addis Pablo, son of the legendary Augustus Pablo, linked up with JSR to provide Reggae fans with an album certain to be amongst the very best albums of the year come December. What they would produce would be an album whose overall presentation and sound may be one of the very best of the modern era. Today we go back and take a look at one of the most vibrant albums I've heard in a long time and Rewind! "In My Father's House" by Addis Pablo.
1. 'Road To Addis'
If the year ended right now, I'd likely declare 'Road To Addis' its single best song. Soca song after Soca song after Soca song (albeit in a… fairly average season) (and calling it "fairly average" is probably being a bit generous) couldn't even begin to dilute the WICKEDLY twisting, candy-like melody of this tune in my head, which I still CONSTANTLY find myself humming at completely random moments without even realizing initially. It is a special track and one which, more than fittingly, sets the tone for what follows it - particularly the amazing early stretch on this one.
2. 'Evolution' w/Earl Sixteen
In the second room of this house we found 'Evolution' which featured veteran Earl Sixteen handling the vocal duties. This song, now, just really makes me SMILE and I'm beginning to think that it was, at least in part, the purpose of this song. The ideology here, for me, is Earl Sixteen saying that the most drastic course of action isn't always the best and thinking and planning can be just as effective as the final option. But the way that he presents that thought is nearly just as important as the thought itself. Whatever he says on a tune like this, I'm interested in trying because it FEELS SO GOOD!
"And in this evolving world -
Every man, woman, boy and girl -
Must rule their destiny
And we're all human beings
In whatever way it seems
We need equality
I just can't change the course of history
Cause each and every nation all need to be free
I see the tables are turning
And the enemies would look like a friend
There are some things that we wanna do
So we must be assertive if we wanna make it through
The sun come shine on our face
And we're all apart of the human race
I'VE GOT LIFE, THAT'S ALL I'VE GOT TO LIVE
AND PRECIOUS LOVE IS ALL I'VE GOT TO GIVE
And we don't need a revolution
We need a solution
For this next generation
We've got to find the solution
The children of the revolution"
3. 'Evolutionary Rockers'
"In My Father's House" there is a room separates (or links) 'Road To Addis' and 'Evolution' and that room is called 'Evolutionary Rockers'. This song was absolutely brilliant in what it does as it is a dub featuring elements of both of its predecessors combined into one track. You get bits and pieces of Earl Sixteen and you also hear a great deal of Addis Pablo and his melodica mixed in as well. Not too much of either and you never get the FULL feel of either composition, which is a good point in this case and whoever planned out to do this is clearly a GENIUS! Pablo on the riddim then Earl Sixteen - then both of them… BOOM!
4. 'In A Di Gideon'
The pace of 'In A Di Gideon' has probably over-grown on me just a bit and I've also been listening to it frequently recently. What I have to say here, however, is another testament to what JSR's releases tend to excel most at. The basic riddim here is fantastic and I don't know what you could have possibly done to change that in my opinion. Pablo's additions make it stronger and really highlight so many little different sounds here (there's a drum in there somewhere which I can never quite anticipate correctly, but when it does arrive, is downright intoxicating). But you could play this thing for an hour and after that I'd probably ask for more of it. It's fantastic.
5. 'Gideon Rockers' w/Sylford Walker
And its fantastic-ness continues through to 'Gideon Rockers' which features the venerable Sylford Walker on the vocals. Despite Walker's presence and the fact that he does a fine job -- and he does -- 'Gideon Rockers' is, essentially, another instrumental piece which carries the same riddim as its predecessor. This one is more of a traditional Dub sound with the echoes and the very light vocals and, again, you can't do a think to take away from that monstrous track which, between these two, only grows (and grows substantially) in stature.
6. 'His Majesty'
There is a very nice, but subtle, level of intensity behind 'His Majesty', which kicks off another impressive stretch similar to the trio of tunes which open "In My Father's House". Like that lot, the first here features Pablo offering over this sublime track first. For his part, Pablo dazzles and he doesn't do it in a way which is overbearing. I can recall the first time I heard this piece thinking that even the clean instrumental here would be supreme and, though I haven't heard it (or at least I don't think I have), I'm convinced that, even upon it, Pablo manages to improve with his additions which, as I said, are very clean and easily related to the riddim.
7. 'Giving Thanks' w/Prince Alla
Following names such as Earl Sixteen and Sylford Walker, JSR pulls in another big name of a similar stature as, dealing with the vocal portion of this riddim, 'Giving Thanks', is the esteemed Prince Alla. This song here is a basic praising tune but one which, because of the track carrying it, definitely makes a lasting impression on the listener. Also I should mention how many different things I hear on this one versus 'His Majesty', which includes a very strong guitar highlighting the latter portions of the tune.
8. 'Rockers Trodding Jah Road'
… TEARS! I just didn't give 'Rockers Trodding Jah Road', the Dubbed out accompaniment of 'His Majesty and 'Giving Thanks', its proper due credit the first time around - it is FANTASTIC! The big addition to this spread is a dominant drum which persists throughout the composition. But what I enjoy most in this case is how the tune develops. As it progresses, you hear more and more sounds taking the lead, including vocally from Prince Alla. What you end up with is a piece which sounds MUCH longer than the ~ three and half minutes that it actually is. Not to be missed and one of the brightest rooms "In My Father's House".
9. 'Walls of Jericho'
I still very much credit Pablo's tune, 'Walls Of Jericho', for reenergizing a tune by the name of 'Tumbling Down' by Chezidek from his aforementioned album, "The Order of Melchezedik" by demonstrating just how powerful its track was. Once again, this is a riddim which GLOWS when you listen to it, picking up in power as it progresses along the way. At around the four minute mark (from maybe twenty seconds ahead to fifteen after), Addis Pablo makes one of his most amazing displays during the entire album and he subsequently goes on to be kind of swathed within all of these other big sounds, so it kind of sounds like he's moving as he plays. That's something which is unique to this tune, as far as I can tell, and a now unforgettable moment on this record.
10. 'To the Chief Musicians' w/Jah Exile
Jah Exile also tumbles down (with a little help from Pablo) on his vocal cut of the same riddim, 'To The Chief Musicians'. This tune is a very interesting biblical recitation which almost kind of comes off as an intermission for the album. I can picture in my head Exile hearing this track and not even developing an idea, but just being given an instant inspiration to go forth like this because it comes off as a very organic moment and it helps to lead the album into its latter portions.
11. 'Wareika Mystic'
'Wareika Mystic' is special. There're several truly GREAT compositions on this album and the only one of them which I am comfortable placing ahead of it is 'Road To Addis' and I think that even a strong case could be made that it is better than that, if you wanted to. By this point in the album, my ears are WELL open and I'm listening for every small detail (like a piano playing around two minutes in) [WHAT!] which give songs such a longer life and have made a song like this, recently, one of my favourites from anyone (it also leads me into another critique, which I'll deal with in closing).
12. 'Thanks and Praise' w/Chezidek
"Honour and praises to Jah Jah
Selassie I, The Emperor
He is The Mighty Conqueror
Honour and praises to Jah Jah
For one moment, I thought that I would never get through
I was at the crossroads, frustrated, never know what to do
I couldn't follow temptation, so much things I never knew
For I was searching all over, 'til I found Jah in You
And I praise HIM
Jah set me free, from destruction -
That I didn't see
Gotta change my life
My hands must be clean
And my conscience - it must be free"
As was the case with 'Walls of Jericho' in reference to 'Tumbling Down', "In My Father's House" also gave me a greater (I should probably say "another" in this case) appreciation of another tune from "The Order of Melchezedik", 'Thanks and Praise' [originally 'Praises To Jah']. BEAUTIFUL! I wish Chezidek a loooooooong and successful career, which hopefully includes a stop at JSR for a new album every few years. This was not the best song on that album (it isn't the best song on this album either0, but it was flawless and an absolutely special offering.
13. 'Rockers International' Version
"HONOUR AND PRAISES TO JAH JAH"
I'll just sing it myself when it isn't there - the version of 'Rockers International' was the Dub of the riddim from 'Thanks and Praise' and 'Wareika Mystic' and it brings the full strength of this beautiful track to a pinnacle in a somewhat streamlined form. This track is stripped away and somewhat skeletal, but in this case, that's a good thing. What remains is this gorgeous bass heavy piece which here is afforded an opportunity to shine and shine it does!
14. 'One Love, One Heart, One Family'
'One Love, One Heart, One Family' was LUSH. Here was another selection where, each and every time you listen to it, your ears naturally find something else to focus on, which makes it sound much longer than it is. In this particular case, things are different as, sans a vocal track, it is Pablo left alone to do what he does (you'll find a vocal tune on this track if you want it (and you do) on the "TOOM" album) best on this riddim. Of course he isn't totally alone as this piece is top notch musicianship. I love the drumming on this one as well and just how much 'space' there is, which gives it a very free and kind of improvisational feel to the vibes. You never do know exactly what is coming next, but what arrives is damn impressive.
15. 'Rockers' Version
The version for the track of 'One Love, One Heart, One Family' offers even more room and, sans the constant presence of Pablo, I'm well recommending this one to more traditional fans of Dub. This one, perhaps ahead of any other on "In My Father's House" resonates in that particular way. I'm certainly not that individual, but even for me, it was a highlight here and a song which kind of figured to be buried and lost on an album like this with so many other spectacular moments. But I didn't lose it and now hopefully you won't either.
16. 'In My Father's House'
"Search and you will find…"
The best song on "The Order of Melchezedik" album, to my opinion, was 'Search and You Will Find' and the title track for this album is actually Addis Pablo's song on the same riddim. I've grown to kind of take this tune as an addendum to the original track. It certainly has its own characteristics, but it fits so nicely with 'Search and You Will Find' and, had that album followed its predecessor, "Judgment Time", you may have even saw a song like this actually on the album. For his individual part, Addis Pablo, in a very relaxed way (somewhat similar to the opener) mines gold on one of the best songs on this album, too.
17. 'My Father' Version
And finally is the instrumental for 'In My Father's House' and 'Search and You Will Find', which ends this album with another piece of candy for the listeners. In its basic form, the track is very simple, but undeniably infectious. Like every good piece of work on this album (… "like every piece of work on this album"), this piece also picks up as it goes along and, in its own way, manages to spotlight so many unique prevailing sounds. Between ''In My Father's House', 'Search and You Will Find' and this instrumental, I definitely feel like you have three examples of some of the finest work that JahSolidRock has ever done.
I do want to mention something and I doubt that it's fair (but I'm a fan and we're greedy by nature and immune to worrying about things such as fairness), but I could very happily listen to some of these tunes considerably longer than they go on. For an album which has a duration of nearly seventy minutes, it is a kind of odd point to make, but in the future if JSR wanted to roll out one of these with songs more than ten minutes long - you may get a complaint, but not from me (biggup Lloyd Brown). As it is, however, "In My Father's House" isn't doing bad with tunes primarily in the three and a half to five and a half minute range. It's doing excellent, actually. Haven't heard it yet? Be nice to you and take a look "In My Father's House" by Addis Pablo from JahSolidRock today… it isn't like you have anything better to do.