Friday, September 9, 2016

ROOTS SYNDICATE-Colours (1993)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: September 9, 2016

Speaking of things out of the ordinary..... I must confess that reggae music is something that is indeed outside of my normal everyday music-listening routine, but all it takes is one listen to one reggae album before I'm reminded of how delightful this style of music is to my ears. So in the aftermath of my African safari with the Belgian singer Jean-Bosco Safari and his very colorful "Blue" album, I get newly acquainted with another artist who's not afraid to show off some true colors as well. There was the all-male pop troupe named RHYTHM SYNDICATE, and then there was the all-male Dutch reggae/pop troupe named ROOTS SYNDICATE. It's possible I might've discovered this bunch much earlier in my music-listening lifetime on accident without actually listening to them, considering how the two groups share the 'syndicate' in their respective names. Well no accidents this time around; I had every intention of finally check them out. My colorful expedition began with the instantly ear-pleasing "Take You To The Top", followed right afterwards with the fellow instantly ear-pleasing "We'll Meet Again", a typically sunny, upbeat reggae tune whose confident and positive words of reclaiming that special significant other somewhere down the road makes me happy. I'm starting to believe that, just as seemingly every song I hear with the word 'angel' in its title is always a beautiful listen, almost every new song I hear nowadays with the word 'heaven' in its title is a beautiful listen as well. The third track on this album follows suit with its marvelously jazzy intro before the wonderful words describing the heaven-sent woman and how heavenly reggae music is itself fill my ears. Bill Withers and Grover Washington, Jr. coined the lyrics 'we can make it if we try' on their very memorable "Just The Two Of Us" smooth jazz hit back in the 80's. Looks like this ROOTS SYNDICATE bunch had the same idea on their adorable feel-gooder "We Can Make It", which just so happens to share that same breezy, smooth jazz goodness of that Bill Withers/Grover Washington, Jr. classic and reminds me of any number of those other beauties I sorely miss from a former local smooth jazz radio station that was sadly taken over and changed into a variety station over a decade ago. The songs only become even more colorful after that, beginning with the mid-tempo title track, which offers up a lot of truths about the real significance of the various representations of the color spectrum. On a different album, "Dark Days" would surely be riddled with words of pain and negativity, but on a reggae album, there is always a bright and sunny light somewhere at the end of the tunnel. As the sweet jazzy music belies any sadness, so do the inspiring words of triumph that speak about those dark days being replaced with good days to come. Surprise—and a bit of coincidence—met my ears once again on "Showbusiness". As soon as I took in the chords, something familiar struck me and got me all excited: the theme music to the original 80's run of "The Oprah Winfrey Show"! WHAT??!! I'm definitely sure that's where the music comes from! This is why I love music—there is always a surprise to be had! As for that coincidence, that would be me having heard a song with this particular "Showbusiness" title (and lyrical theme), as I'd recently just treated myself to the fellow Dutch group, THE STAR SISTERS, whose "Hooray For Hollywood" album was all about stage and showbusiness! Ironically, a second coincidence pops up on "Contradiction", which becomes super-catchy with the repeating chorus at goes 'your love is a contradiction, science fiction'. Seeing as I myself have been treating myself to a lot of science fiction lately—in the name of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" reruns on DVD, to be precise..... My favorite selection on this colorful expedition is the happy sing-along "Mockin' Bird Hill"—The super-perky beat and the sweet melody totally have that refreshing, revitalizing, wake-you-up-out-of-bed feel as you listen to their joyous story about their adventure to this exotic place—though the cool drum n' bass/reggae jam "Sensi" and the concluding cut, "O Na Na Na" (gotta love all that wild laughing going on in the party at the very end), got me all rooted into their groundbreaking music as well:

1. Take You To The Top
2. We'll Meet Again
3. Heaven
4. We Can Make It
5. Colours
6. Dark Days
7. Showbusiness
8. Contraiction
9. Fire
10. Lovers In The Dark
11. Mockin' Bird Hill
12. Sensi
13. O Na Na Na

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