Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus

  • Rally Round [Shanachie, 1985] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Rally Round [Shanachie, 1985]
Lifelong Rastafarian Michael Henry does Jah's work by reclaiming pop music for the folk, slipping a line from Wilson Pickett here and Bob Marley there into hymns and chants whose elemental melodies invoke the most high on rivers of funde drums. Not that the beat is more sinuous than mainstream reggae. If anything it's more direct--Michael is a primitivist's primitivist, and thus he overpowers reggae's all-sounds-the-same dilemma. Some feel that this brightened and clarified compilation foreshortens his hypnotic scope. I say it renders him suitable for outside consumption. A-