All Rebel Rockers - Michael Franti & Spearhead
Reggae has always loomed large in Spearhead's repertoire. To follow 2006's reactionary Yell Fire!, Franti's dynamic, emotional response to his first-hand look at the situation in Iraq and Palestine, the band spearheaded it down to Kingston, Jamaica to create a disc with what Franti calls, "a solid reggae feel." And, when one comes to Jamaica in search of a solid reggae feel, the first dudes on your speed dial have to be Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, 'The Riddim Twins'. This bass and drum duo have performed on or produced more than 200 thousand songs!. Indeed, they've reinvented reggae many times over, replacing the classic 'one drop rhythm' with the 'Rockers' beat in 1976. Now they can add All Rebel Rockers to their list of production credits. It's a good fit all around. The Riddim Twins seem to step outside of the box when not working exclusively with Jamaican artists and Franti and company get the real island vibe they were going for. Soulful Sly and Robbie collaborator, Cherine Anderson proves an effective foil for Franti's resonant baritone on three of the numbers. 'High Low' featuring Zap Mama's Marie Daulne is definitely a high point. Once again, Michael Franti & Spearhead deliver a conscious message with authenticity and street cred. Not enough good things can be said about an artist who knows how to make manifest his vision.