Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
One of JA's Finest Talents. . .
Achis | Kingston, JA/Philipsburg, SxM | 12/12/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is a healthy slew of well powerful, yet virtually unknown singers here in Jamaica. These artists, all, once ruled some part of reggae music, however, even here in Jamaica have for whatever reason fallen from the well populated musical map. Some of them have moved to foreign lands, some have spent a great deal of their time touring which has kept them away from JA studios, and some even still have fallen on ill health (such is the case for Peter Broggs). Names like Peter Broggs, Earl 16, Earl Zero and Iqulah are not only lost to youths of today, but also many of todays musicians as well.
In the case of fine fine roots talent Peter Broggs, who suffered a stroke in the past couple of years, his music has become so unbelievably difficult to find and his fanbase has dwindled to the few older fans who were lucky enough to have discovered his vibes during his prime from the late 1970's through the mid 1980's. Broggs' talent and most distinguishing characteristic had always been his lyrical capabilities (and even when singing songs written by others, his slight changes have always improved the song). So, although he may not have had the vocal capabilities of some of his peers such as Dennis Brown or Hugh Mundell, Broggs always found some of the strongest vibes in all of roots through excellent writing and overall diligence through perfecting his craft.
This album, the Ras Portraits, is a virtual greatest hits album. The series has, over the years, been a nice series releasing greatest hits albums for soem of the greatest singers to record for Ras Records such as the aformentioned Brown, Cocoa Tea and Gregory Isaacs. However, even though his Portraits album matches up well to his peers' Peter Broggs is the sole claimant to one official title that none of them can ever have.
Ras Records began in 1979 and has to date been one of the finest distributors of reggae music the genre has ever known with nearly 30 years of service to the vibes. Way back in 1982, the label released its first full blown studio album, Rastafari Liveth. The artist? Peter Broggs! Dread, who founded the label saw the immense talent in the then 28 year singer from Hanover, and nearly a quarter of a century later, it is clear he chose the perfect artist.
Ras Portraits does a good solid job of capturing the artist at the heights of his powers. When I looked at the tracklist I was most happy that it contained my favorite Peter Broggs track, and the best on the album, #11, International Farmer. The sweet sweet herbalist track was recorded over a fine and heavy lush reggae one drop provided by the legendary Roots Radics band and it goes to the end in providing the listener with everything he/she needs to know about the fantastic vocalist (and I'm definitely hoping he gets better, would LOOOOOOOOOVE to see he and Marlon Asher do a track together!).
Nearly every track here is a winner: Definitely check the title track from that first Ras album, Rastafari Liveth which takes care of explaining everything International Farmer didn't. Broggs was not bashful in his beliefs and it reflected in his music as everything takes a backseat in praising Jah, and he, perhaps, never did a better job in doing so in his career than on Rastafari Liveth. However, if he did, it would be on the MASSIVE Rastaman Chant Nyabinghi, one of my other favorite songs from the artist. Chant Nyabinghi is slightly more laid back than most of the rest of the material on the album, but that is the very reason why it stands out, its a very beautiful song.
Of course have to mention one of his later hits, Cease the War (which would eventually become the title track of his final studio album to date for RAS, *Progressive Youths was release in '99 but recorded 2 decades earlier*) and the following track, Military Man, a song which echoes the sentiments of the previous track. And I have to mention, lastly the beautiful beautiful Cheer Up! I had never heard the song prior to listening to this album and its definitely one of his better songs overall, with a message declaring that because JAH will take care of things, just cheer up!
Overall, hope the best to Peter Broggs in his recovery. I would definitely love to see this talent back recording (he last released a studio album in 2000, for Jah Warrior of the UK on Jah Golden Throne) and spreading the excellent messages and the good vibes. I definitely would see newer fans attracted to this album as it does a relatively good job in covering Broggs' career and a great deal of his tracks (also would recommend the more readily available This is Crucial Reggae compilation, also from RAS which has virtually the same tracklisting and was released just in 2005). Broggs enjoys a standing here which is not too fitting for such a fine artist, however, just by the simple trod to your favorite record store can cure that, Peter Broggs is definitely top notch."