This originally ran in Reggae Report in 1997.
Lucky Dube is one of the greatest artists in the history of Reggae music
and the recent release of "Taxman" only solidifies that fact.
This South African superstar has crafted complex and infectious songs
since his first Shanachie release almost 10 years ago. The dozen tracks and
just over one hour of modern Roots on this disc is no exception.
There are no surprises, just the same great sound the world has come to
expect from the man many have called the next Bob Marley. Kicking off with
"Guns and Roses," it’s immediately apparent that Dube is once again in fine
form. His backing band is exceptionally tight, his passionate delivery at times
sounds incredibly like Peter Tosh and his lyrics - as usual - are conscious and
evocative ("our differences are world’s apart, just like guns and roses").
"Taxman" finds Dube producing for the first time (he co-produced his
last record) and he brings forth a full and powerful sound. His female
harmony vocalists again add a great dimension, as do the scorching guitar
work, the Soweto String Quartet, the horns - you name it, everything works.
Although the musicianship is outstanding, things wouldn’t connect
without the extraordinary composing talents of Dube. The way this man
writes smooth, offbeat songs - then adds unexpected bursts of power - never
ceases to amaze. Each song is exceptional, but especially check out the
aforementioned "Guns and Roses," the title track, "Is This The Way" and
"You’ve Got A Friend." Some of the best modern Reggae you’ll ever hear.
Lucky Dube is a remarkable artist and when it’s all said and done,
"Taxman" will go down in history as yet another exceptional release from one
of the genre’s most exceptional talents.
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