Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mind Control - Less Speed More Musicianship (review 2/8/2009)

by Stephen Jackson
The Stephen Marley Mind Control acoustic album is drunk on echo and
three-chord guitar but some tracks have smart riffs and cool solos.
It is as if Marley made a trade-off - less speed more musicianship. The result is that most of the songs are relaxed versions of the original album such as Traffic Jam and The Mission. But others are new songs onto themselves, such as Lonely Avenue, Iron Bars, and You're Gonna Leave, which have hot riffs and solos.

Expect to hear these arrangements at unplugged events, if the release doesn't make it to the stores. Last year, Mind Control won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album besting Burning Spear, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Sly and Robbie and Toots and the Maytals.

Ray Charles' Lonely Avenue goes easy on the echo so the white-squall voice of Marley is undiluted. A slide-guitar plays a revolving riff above the honest rhythm of a second guitar. The second guitar plays minor chords whilst the slide-guitar hints of delta blues. The riff revolves throughout the verse, then changes for the chorus. Midway there is a musical interlude less of a solo and more of a jam. Marley's dry voice adds to the delta feel resulting in a more complex song than on the studio album.
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