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A bubbling ‘Yabba pot’ of musical selections

Published:Monday | February 16, 2015 | 3:30 PMRoy Black
Robbie Lyn
Dean Frazer
Boris Gardiner

The YAHBA album, Jus' Wicked, is a bubbling 'Yabba pot' of musical selections, featuring a galaxy of stars that were popular during the 1960s and 1970s.

If ever there was a collection of songs that linked the present and the future with the past, and was a tribute to women, this must be it.

Appropriately titled, Jus' Wicked, the album is well timed with the rebirth of roots reggae, 'Reggae Revival', now a growing movement in Jamaica.

Jus' Wicked is the debut album from YAHBA who call their music 'soulful sexy reggae', a description that fits perfectly into Valentine and Reggae month - February.

Talking about a galaxy of stars, the group members run like an unending roll call of seasoned luminaries, which includes Jackie Mittoo and Robbie Lyn on keyboards; Dean Frazer and Everton Gayle on saxophone; David Madden on trumpet; Boris Gardiner, Brian Atkinson, Spred Bedassie and Danny Axeman on bass; Calvin 'Bubbles' Cameron on trombone; Mikey Chung on guitar; Joe Isaacs and Derrick Stewart on drums; Uziah ' Sticky' Thompson on percussion and Stephen Stewart on congo drums.

Bagga Case does most of the vocals, with Anne Marie, and Willi Williams contributing one each, while Pam Hall does backing vocals on 11 of the 13 tracks.

One of the sweetest reggae albums to come out of Jamaica, Jus' Wicked was created by songwriter and producer, Tony Stines, who wrote all of 12 tracks and co-wrote the 13th with keyboard genius Jackie Mittoo.

That track, Everyday Sunshine, was, in fact, recorded in 1975 at the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) Studios in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with musicians Jackie Mittoo (keyboards and arranger), Brian Atkinson (bass), Wayne McGhie (guitar), Joe Isaacs (drums), Rick Wilkins (strings), Guido Basso (horns), Diane Brooks and friends (background vocals) and Tony Eden (lead vocals).

The recording was reconfigured and remixed at Harry J. Studios, St Andrew, Jamaica, in 2012, to create a sweeter mix of lovers' reggae with Bagga Case's warm baritone and Mikey Chung's exhilarating rhythm guitar added.

Reggae fusion

YAHBA includes a variety of songs that give the listener soulful reggae, flavoured with a dash of almost everything from R&B to a ska number, Sweet Music. The Jamaican Wedding Song on track number two echoes the familiar tenets of a wedding day, as Bagga Case sings:

'One love we'll share, as we prepare

a life together all the way, we step into the world as man and wife

good and bad times we'll endure'.

Girl's Night Out (track 5) tells the story of a cheater who was rebuked by lead vocalist Case:

'How could you cheat and tell me lies,

pretending you're an angel, your disguise'.

Track six - Tomorrow Night - features the lead vocal of YAHBA star, Anne Marie, one of two female YAHBA stars appearing on the album. In a very haunting melody, she builds the suspense that goes along with waiting one whole night. The other female YAHBA star is Pam Hall, who does backing vocals on 11 tracks. Moments With You is a beautiful slowed-down ska/R&B number, resembling Stranger Cole and Patsy's Come Back of the 1960s, while Always is the only instrumental cut, with Robbie Lyn on keyboards. The final tracks (12 and 13), Children Of The World and Capitalistic Society, respectively, move into the areas of social commentaries, the former showcasing the abuse and neglect of children, while the latter, with Willi Williams on vocals, speaks about the ills that beset a society in transition:

'Capitalistic society, democratic hypocrisy

Capitalistic mentality, only some people free'.

YAHBA Jus' Wicked album is available on the Internet through CD Baby.