Soul Almighty
Anansi Records
0 Stars

BARELY INTO '96 and already a front-runner for worst album of the year. Soul Almighty is a travesty. Through no fault of Marley's, the album sounds like an unholy cross between thick Trenchtown grooves and some Holiday Inn reggae band drunk on daquiris. Following the dubious methods of posthumous Jimi Hendrix producer Alan Douglas, Danny Sims and David Simmons saw fit to take unreleased Marley tracks and scrub most of the original instrumentation in favor of drum machines, cheesy organ and heavy-metal guitar. In a stunning move of audacity, one song has been turned into what can only be called the world's first Rasta Power Metal ballad. The shame is that Bob sounds in pretty good form when you can hear him over the din. Horrible stuff unless you believe that if he were alive today, Marley would be jammin' on your grandmother's Wurlitzer.
--Sean Murphy


Backyard Barbecue Broadcast

Goods And Services
Brake Out/Enemy

THIS IS A PAIR o' live recs from some damn Tucson band. Backyard is culled from two WFMU-FM (New Jersey) radio broadcasts. The July '94 segment is one-half improvisational genius (Elms even segues into a couple of Friends Of Dean Martinez numbers), one-third "unplugged"-style pickin' 'n' grinnin' for a small outdoor audience (Gelb playing occasional mad scientists with the effects) and several eighths' worth of hemp-fueled inspiration. The April '95 in-studio cuts (with Mike Semple in the lineup) include a sizzling, feedbacky "Lean" and the good timey "Get To Leave." Up close and personal this be. (An unlisted bonus track from '93 is hidden at disc's end.)

Goods, recorded in '95 in Tucson, New York, Germany and Holland, is more focused in a pure "rock" sense and sports a denser, more expansive production. Opener "Back To The Black & Grey" quickly establishes the electric Sand's strengths: snarling geetar blooze-skronk over a monsoonoid rhythm section throb, plus some wonderfully malevolent singing. From there it's headlong into the "Solomon's Ride" vortex, a bizarre detour around Carly Simon's "You're So Vain," and finally tossed onto the forgiving shores of a sloppy-tender "Trickle Down System."
--Fred Mills

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