John Brown's Body
This Day
Shanachie (

cd cover John Brown's Body has everything a roots reggae band needs but the right accent. This American band delivers solid reggae sound in a classic style; tuneful, conscious, and smooth, the band has created a great album in This Day. From the dread leadoff, "Isle of Spring," to ska sizzler "Can You Let Her Go," to rocksteady "Poor Man's Prayer," and its dub one-off, "Poor Man's Dub," the band thankfully rewards listeners with strong beats, infectious melodies, and best of all, real horns instead of tinny synthesizers. The sound is studied 1970s roots rock, rich, clean, and even danceable. On the other hand, there's something about the anachronistic religious language and false patois in the lyrics that smells like a Peter Tosh/Jerry Garcia hybrid. Listeners who expect a strong dose of Rastafari lingo and philosophy might be disappointed; otherwise This Day is fantastic reggae in the classic roots style. - Craig Tower

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