Reggae Rocks: The Tide Is High
Lately, it seems just about every genre of music has delved into the “cover realm” — rock to rap, hip-hop to pop, and there’s always a disco classic waiting to be resurrected. Translating another’s work into one’s own is by no means a fresh concept, but oft times the results are an abomination. But there is hope• The Tide Is High, a compilation of reggae renditions of classic rock, is a breath of fresh island air that blends the melodic roots backbeat and soul to many songs you know by heart.
I was taken by the range of songs chosen, and by the presence of several all-time reggae greats recording them. Toots & the Maytals, Steel Pulse, and The Heptones reflect on “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” “We Can Work it Out,” and “Satisfaction,” respectively. And for variety, you can kick it old school with Chalice on Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster.” or lay back with the whimsical “59th St Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy),” by the ever-smooth Sugar Minott. The title track (“The Tide is High”) has come full circle — having originally been written reggae, then thrust into the mainstream by Blondie, we can now embrace The Mighty Diamonds taking it back to its rightful place. But wait, if a Led Zeppelin or Steve Miller Band cover doesn’t suit your fancy, then keep listening, and you may hear Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” or Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” filled with the sweet Rasta rhythms.
The good news is that Tide kicks off as the first of six compilations featuring pop and rock tunes in a reggae style. Although this may sound like a lofty task, the brainchild and producer, Henry “K” Karyo, is up to the challenge. Having brought two Grateful Dead tribute albums (Fire on the Mountain Vol. I & II) to successful fruition, the Reggae Rocks series is in the capable hands of a man whose passion and history with reggae is sure to yield some great albums to come.
Take comfort in the familiarity of these compositions. Enjoy the new life the artists have given them. Feel the positive vibrations every time you listen and emanate it to everyone you meet•