This is my second review of Ranglin’s music and my feeling about the music is just as positive the second time around. He’s worked with great artists like Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, Jimmy Cliff, and Les Paul and this disc features special guest artists like Robby Krieger of The Doors, Elliot Easton of The Cars, and Adrian Young of No Doubt. A few of the tracks offer vocals, while most are instrumentals in the reggae genre or heavily influenced by it. Other artists featured in this set include Jeff Lorber, Alana Davis, and Monty Alexander.
The sound is full, liquid, and offers tremendous separation and sense of space—an audiophile’s dream! Most of the tracks make heavy use of the surrounds with the listener right in the center of a circle of musicians. The first track is very playful and catchy. The second is lively, hip music you’d hear at a live event. In fact, this track sounds a lot like what you’d hear at a Playboy Jazz Festival—you can close your eyes and imagine yourself in front of the performers. The third track has Davis on vocals and its excellent. If she were a heavy smoker I bet she’d do a good impression of Janis Joplin. Track seven is a pretty guitar duet that flows beautifully while track nine has some offbeat sounding vocals, but is one of my favorites along with track 11. All in all, the album is consistently good.
Like other AIX releases the DVD disc offers both an interactive version and a standard version. The linear version contains lots of interviews and behind-the-scenes footage in between the music performances. The interactive version contains a biography, an interview, photo gallery, “The Roots of Reggae,” and different extras—so you’ll want to check out both sides for the full experience. There are stage and audience stereo mixes, as well as a full 5.1 surround mix. Still pictures display on the DVD-A side with titles while the music plays. Video is 16:9 widescreen color.
TrackList: Pocomania; 3 Pope; My Boy Lollipop; Satta Massagana; Ball Of Fire; Many Rivers To Cross; Mandeville; Spur Tree; Hurts To Be Alone; Grandfather Clock; Straight Flush; Ranchin’; Pimento Walk.
– Brian Bloom