This originally ran in the St. Louis Post Dispatch in 1994.
For over two decades, the Wailing Souls have been one of Jamaica's premier vocal
groups. They began as a quartet, but since their 1992 release, "All Over The World,"
they've consisted of just two original members, Lloyd "Bread" MacDonald and Winston
"Live On," their debut for Zoo Entertainment, is their first effort in two years and
well worth the wait. Matthews has one of the genre's greatest and most recognizable
voices, and from the opening notes of "Bandits," his delivery has never been better.
He also proves once again why he's one of Reggae's finest songwriters, as his
songs (he wrote or co-wrote 10 of the tracks) contain memorable hooks as well as some
of his most heartfelt lyrics.
The 13 cuts offer close to an hour of infectious rhythms, as R&B, funk, rock and
dancehall are liberally injected into their roots reggae sound. The production is clean and
an all-star cast is also on hand, featuring such legendary musicians as Sly and Robbie,
Santa Davis, Dwight Pickney, Earl "Wire" Lindo and Aston "Family Man" Barrett.
Make sure to check out the thought-provoking messages in such songs as the
rootsy title track (with harmonies from the I-Threes), "Don't Give Up," "Rejection," "O.K.
Corral," "Nuff Suffering," "What The World Needs" and the haunting ballad, "What A
The Wailing Souls, like fine wine, get better with age. "Live On" will go down as
one of the year's best releases.
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