Everton Blender
Rootsman Credential
Heartbeat 1999 (www.rounder.com/heartbeat)

Everton Blender's smooth, crooning vocal and upbeat reggae arrangements present even orthodox Rastafarian apocalyptic sentiments so attractively that I am convinced that, in the end days when Bingi Man a come, even the principals of Babylon will be invited to the dance, before or perhaps instead of being cast into the darkness. Blender's voice is a friendly, expressive purr, skipping sure-footedly through and around melodies, supported by varied, bouncy instrumentation rooted in signature booming reggae bass, kept light by lively percussion and bright background vocals.

"I Love Jah Jah" presents Rasta devotion and hope with a touch of reverb on Blender's lead vocal, Derrick Lara's falsetto background vocal eccentrically just off timbre, an exotic effect, mildly dissonant but ultimately pleasant. "We No Fear" opens with an octave guitar homage to a stereotypic Egyptian melody before cantering into a slow, rock-steady groove, a dense arrangement highlighting Blenders liquid vocal, an irresistible trance dance. For a quicker groove, "Why Do Have to War" presents Blender's irrepressible vocal good spirits with a tight female chorus and just a touch of spacey, echoing dub (this is your reggae on ganja). "Bingi Man A Come" matches a swinging gait with Blender's foreboding of judgment, more a celebration than a warning. Rootsman Credential has virtues which unfold incrementally with each listening, especially Everton Blender's velvet vocal stream, chuckling happily and surely through bouncy arrangements. - Jim Foley

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