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Barrington launches ‘Acousticalevy'

Published:Thursday | May 21, 2015 | 5:00 AMLeighton Levy
Barrington Levy and Gary 'Dr Dread' Himelfarb.

Veteran dancehall artiste Barrington Levy added another chapter to his enduring legacy as one of Jamaica's most-talented entertainers with the recent launch of his 48th album (including compilations).

The 15-track Acousticalevy album is made up of acoustic, re-recorded versions of past hits and two new songs - Life Is Great, on which the vocals of Germany-based artiste Patrice, who sounds a lot like like Bob Marley, are introduced; as well as Times Hard, a song that reflects Jamaica's harsh economic times.

The album will be available for download on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon.com, as well as in CD and vinyl formats, and is to be supported by a three-month promotional tour, starting this month. It will involve performances in the United States, Japan, Europe, the United Kingdom, and South America.

During the launch held at South Beach CafÈ and emceed by veteran entertainment writer Howard Campbell, Levy and Ras Records founder Doctor Dread rapped with a smattering of entertainment journalists and radio and television personalities about the new album.

"It's you listening to me in a different style. If you have a knack for good music - music that is arranged and put together properly - you're going to definitely enjoy it," said the singer, who also explained that he is satisfied with the songs he selected. He added that had he done anything differently, the end result would have been a double disc.

ALMOST FLAWLESSVOCALS

The tracks were re-recorded mainly at Stephen Stanley's Mixing Lab and co-produced by the singer and hitmaker Handel Tucker, with Harmony House also in the mix on some recordings. They feature Levy's almost flawless vocals, accompanied by the strains of Lamont Savoury's guitar.

Tucker's previous work includes Maxi Priest's platinum-selling record Bonafide and the critically acclaimed The Score, by the now-defunct Fugees.

Savoury plays with the stellar backing band C Sharp.

On the album, Levy's fans get to hear the freshly minted version of the record-setting Under Mi Sensi and Here I Come, songs that held the top-two spots on the UK Reggae Charts back in the 1980s, making Levy the first reggae artiste to accomplish the feat.

There are also other favorites on the record. Levy lists his most-favoured as Life Is Great, Black Roses, Vice Versi Love, Vibes Is Right, She's Mine and Things Friends.

On Times Hard, Levy sings in his distinctive vocal style, "Times hard, times cold, people need some money to control."

The song's relevance makes it destined to become as memorable as any of his earlier hits.

The album, funded by the artiste's Black Roses Enterprises, will be distributed by Ras Records in association with BMG, and is sure to please true fans of reggae/dancehall, of which Levy is one of its purest exponents.