Monday, September 25, 2006

Percy Dread on top form

Percy Dread and the author - August 2005
One forthcoming CD to keep on your radar is Percy Dread's debut solo CD, Upside Downside, which is scheduled for release soon. Percy Dread was the lead singer and songwriter with one of Britain's best-loved reggae combo's, The Natural-Ites, back in the '80s, and this CD marks a polished return to the reggae fold for this Nottingham-based artist. I've been fortunate to hear a pre-release copy and its an excellent collection of old and new tunes, with Percy Dread's soulful voice dominant throughout. Produced by his former Realistics compatriot Lenroy Guiste, Percy Dread has continued to write and diversify himself into different musical styles such as hip-hop though as a rastafarian, reggae remains at his core and the new CD never strays far from his beliefs. To listen to samples of his new music, go to Percy Dread's recently updated website here. My own webpages on Percy Dread and The Natural-Ites can be found here.

My personal review of the new CD is: 'Percy Dread has produced a solo CD of superior quality, combining together a heady mix of fresh new tunes and old classics, revamped and brought up to date, that demonstrate his voice has lost none of its exquisitely soulful qualities. He never strays far from his Rasta beliefs and engages the listener with a series of strong harmonies and catchy chorus lines that hook you into the moment. Fourteen tracks and fifty-five minutes of powerful roots music, kicks off in fine style with one of the album's strongest offerings in Pollution, followed by the title track (with video), Upside Downside. Percy Dread's strength is his stirring and emotional voice quality that surges through both of these songs. Black Roses is the first of three Natural Ites' classics, Love Jah (always one of my personal favourites) and Jah Works Mamma are the others, which recall the heady days of the '80s when the group were at the height of their success. These refreshers and other revival songs like Dungeon and Foggy Road which Percy Dread has breathed new life into, jockey for position alongside sturdy brand new offerings like Guide Me and Can't Look Back. Straying from his rootsy sound into a more mechanical vibe, Many Will Be Called was my least favoured tune, though the rest of Percy Dread's gifts to us more than compensate. An impressive return to the fold for one of Britain's best-loved roots singers.'

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