|Luciano is one of the few reggae singers from recent years that's been able to maintain the quality that brought him his initial notoriety. Luciano brings "The New Day Tour" to the 9:30 Club at 9 p.m. on March 25. Joining him are special guest Dean Fraser, Mikey General and Jamaica's newest sensation, Junior Kelly. All are backed by the music of The Firehouse Crew.
But if you can't experience Luciano live and in person, here's the next best thing, a live disc recorded in Brixton (London, England) -- the same place where the live Sizzla disc from earlier in the year was recorded.
Luciano has proven himself to be the foremost messenger of Rasta-centric roots reggae today with a number of very successful singles and albums. While his first album on VP, After All, didn't make all that much of a splash, his major label debut on Island, When There is Life spawned one of the biggest reggae hits of 1995, "It's Me Again Jah." Following that was Messenger, also on Island, with a title track that may have done even better than his previous album's hit single. In 1999, Luciano released Sweep Over My Soul, his best all-around effort to date.
On Luciano Live! Luciano lets loose with 16 killer tracks, including three Bob Marley covers. Luciano's voice is in top form, proving that he's not just a studio singer. While "Messenger" doesn't quite have the punch of the original version, he more than carries tracks like "How Can You" and "He is My Friend," each sounding better than their studio counterparts. And just wait until you hear "It's Me Again Jah" and "In This Together" and the crowd response -- absolutely awesome!
If anyone can rework Bob Marley, it's Luciano, as proven on the covers of "Crazy Baldheads," "Running Away," and "War." "Crazy Baldheads" gets wonderful crowd response and "Running Away" is quite powerful. But the real chills come during "War," based on a speech on racial discrimination by Haile Selassie -- words can't do this cover justice. The passion in Luciano's voice is overwhelming -- it's almost too bad the track itself lasts under two minutes.
Really the only complaint I can make is that rather than splitting the lengthy introduction from the opening song ("Messenger"), VP decided to put it on one 12+ minute track. When something like that is the only criticism of a disc, you know you have a keeper in your hands. If you haven't seen Luciano in concert, pick up this disc and feel the positive vibes.
For more information on this disc, click here.