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REVIEW: The Gladiators Featuring Droop Lion – Back On Tracks

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The Gladiators & Droop Lion Photo 24

The Gladiators AND Droop Lion IN THE CENTER

 

Reggae singer, Andrew Brown, aka Droop Lion, could very well be the poster child for that much fabled old soul who is trapped in a youthful body.  Listening to him as lead vocalist on the latest Gladiators CD, The Gladiators Featuring Droop Lion – Back On Tracks,  it is all too easy to picture him actively partaking in a recording session with the group 50 years ago. It is truly a spine-tingling, goose-bump-raising kind of experience.

 

Droop Lion’s searing, soulful vocals blend in smoothly and perfectly with the mood and the message of the original tracks, some of which were recorded nearly half a century ago. “Perfection” was in fact the password used by The Gladiators and Droop Lion while working on this project with genius producer and musician, Clive Hunt, along with co and executive producers Cabel Stephenson and Michelle Jovanovich.Gladiators drummer, Anthony Griffiths, stated during the recording sessions that “every beat and note has to be perfect” and this CD has certainly achieved that goal.

 

Recorded at Mixing Lab and Cave Studios in Kingston, Jamaica, and released on The Gladiators Featuring Droop Lion – Back On Tracks, represents a skillful blending of the past with the present and this bodes well for the future of reggae music.

It is as uncanny as it is mesmerizing to listen to Droop Lion belting out original Gladiators time-honoured roots reggae classics such as Bongo Red, Belly Full, Burning And Looting, Looks Is Deceiving, Hello Carol, and Battle of the Beast, injecting his unique brand of spiritual energy while firmly holding on to tenets of the glorious past.  Droop Lion possesses a deep, provocative, timeless quality to his rich vocals which fuses harmoniously with foundation reggae music and makes for total listening pleasure.

 

His spirituality and sense of occasion cut through to his very soul, enabling him to sing a song likeBongo Red as if he actually participated in that dynamic “walk on Sixth Street” and lived in an era in which he was not even born. He effortlessly convinces the listener of his authenticity and it would be a misnomer to call any of the songs on this 14-track keepsake collection a “cover version”. Additionally, Droop Lion also shows his own mettle as he takes the Gladiators on a journey by contributing his own original tracks. Among them is the starkly hypnotic Ghetto Life, with its haunting refrain that “living aint easy”, even as he extols the virtues of clean, caring ghetto girl named Karen, who “a hold it down slum style”, but “her board floor shine like Rome tile…you want fi see how she take care of her child…It’s ghetto life….”

 

With an all-star cast of players of instruments, including the legendary Sly Dunbar on drums, along with second-generation Gladiator Anthony Griffiths and Wayne “C Sharp” Clarke; Clive Hunt on percussion, keyboards and melodica;  Robbie Lyn, Vernon  Sutherland and Paul “Wrongmove” Crossdale also on keyboards; Cabel “Jeffrey” Stephenson, Noel “Scully” Simms, Alvin Haughton and Christopher “Sky Juice” Burch on percussion and Jackie Jackson an d Daniel “Axeman” Thompson on bass,  it is hardly surprising that The Gladiators Featuring Droop Lion – Back On Tracks , is a keepsake CD that will, like The Gladiators themselves, stand the crucial test of time.

 

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