This past February, I was fortunate enough to visit Nasio Fontaine in his homeland
of Dominica. It was an inspirational, uplifting and righteous journey and while
there I was able to hear his upcoming, yet-to-be-named cd on numerous occasions.
Believe me when I say I was absolutely blown away. The songs were simply amazing.
Fast forward three months and that disc, now titled "Universal Cry," is finally
ready to be released to the world. Containing 12 songs and just over 50 minutes
of outstanding music, it's exactly as I remember: stronger than strong songwriting,
fantastic musicianship, gorgeous female harmonies and Nasio's vocals sounding
better than ever (if that's even possible).
This talented bredrin has come up with another true masterpiece, following in the footsteps of his other classics; "Reggae Power," "Revolution" and "Living In The Positive."
The song order on "Universal Cry" is impeccable, as things start off with a slow,
absolutely crucial R&B-tinged number, "She Lost Track," and from there it's back-to-back
killers until ending with the fabulous nyabhingi tune, "Behold."
In between, the remaining songs - "Hypocrites," "Crucial," "When," "Babylon," "Show Me," "Rough Road," "Jah Calling," "Prophet" and "Reggae Music" - will go down in history as some of reggae's best ever. Words can barely do these tunes justice. Nasio even re-recorded the forever topical "Armed And Dangerous" from his debut and the result is out of sight.
The players on this exemplary disc are exceptional. The basic tracks were recorded at Longview Farm in Massachusetts, with S. "One Drop" Richards on bass, Dean Pond on drums,
Robbie Lynn on piano/keyboards and Nasio on rhythm guitar. They then used Peter Gabriel's
"Real World" studio in the U.K. for the recording of the live horns, which are just outstanding. Special mention also goes to the excellent harmonica played on almost half the tracks.
The music was mixed at Longview Farm by Kevin Killen and was mastered at Gateway Mastering in Maine by the world-renowned Bob Ludwig.
Along with the clean production from Richard "The Butcher" Evans and Nasio
himself, the resulting sound is absolutely golden.
Each and every song is truly incredible. Hear me when I say that Nasio is as real as it gets. His love for mankind and Rastafari is again evident through his concise, crystal-clear lyrics. And that voice - it's pure magic. His unique inflections and solid delivery are unparalleled. There's a lot of great talent out there - no doubt - but to these ears this gifted artist is head and shoulders above all others.
"Universal Cry" should, without question, win reggae album of the year honors. Even though we're not even halfway through 2006, I can't see anything overtaking the brilliance of this disc. This stunning release is a must-have for all record collections. Get this one at all costs.
To check out my review of "Reggae Power"... REGGAE POWER
To check out my review of "Revolution"... REVOLUTION
To check out my review of "Living In The Positive"... LIVING
IN THE POSITIVE.
To check out my feature article on Nasio in the BEAT... ARTICLE
To listen to my interview with Nasio... RADIO
To check out some pictures from my trip to Dominica... PICS
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