Pama International - Trojan Sessions
Release Date: September 4th, 2006
Record Label: Trojan Records
While I'm certain we're all eternally aware of how impaired and deluded advice often is, one can't refuse a willing aid, regardless of it's elevated credibility, or otherwise ground-level validity. For example, imagine for one moment that you are lost deep within a vast forest, with not a sole to guide you, and no compass to point you home. You encounter a hooded figure, and despite your fear, this anonymous character offers you his assistance. With caution, you accept his proposal, as in your time of need no room exists for praise or hints of reliability. From a birds-eye view, this risk, albeit dangerous and insecure, appeared as one's only hope for survival. The shadow's guidance has sent you home, and may you put yourself to sleep with ease. I, the critic, am this figure. You, the readers, are my ready audience. If you would be so kind as to grant me your attention, may I urge you to read on.
Now, with all preliminary babbling aside, please allow me to explain myself. While I do hope I've found you all warm and safe inside your homes, and in no dire need for bearings, as consumers I wish to offer you my encouragement. We, as human beings, work hard for our income, and speaking from an individual perspective, it pains me to witness a purchase sacrifice little to no exclusive value. Thus, without any further adieu, may I introduce a suggestion that not only deserves commercial recognition, but loyal admiration. This advisement emerges in the form of Pama International, the United Kingdom's critically-acclaimed ska, reggae, and dub collective, and their newfangled collection of immediate classics, Trojan Sessions. Featuring members of legendary outfit The Specials, as well as contributions from Galliano, Bentley Rhythm Ace, Special Beat, The Loafers, and Pop Will Eat Itself, it's baffling to believe that Trojan Sessions is not a revisited assortment of forgotten gems, and for that may ska and reggae fans worldwide brace themselves for music's next seasoned unfolding.
While Pama International certainly play off of an aged, tried and tested formula, their modern, albeit nostalgic, approach to a definitive recipe is refreshing. Furthermore, in addition to the group's all-star cast of performers, Trojan Sessions enlists the services of yet another series of famed musicians, including acclaimed ska artist Derrick Morgan, cultural-enthusiast Dawn Penn, and undisputed Jamaican trombonist Rico Rodriquez. Yet, fortunately, while the album's guest exhibitionists do prove to boost both the release's overall appeal and lasting value, Pama International's precast line-up demonstrate their own timeworn adeptness for pleasant craftsmanship. On "Neither High Nor Dry," an airy ska hymn where the collective recruit the assistance of Jamaican roots-reggae artist Dennis Alcapone, lead vocalist Finny boasts his soft, yet bright vocal style, amidst handsome brass arrangements courtesy of trumpeter Simon Wilcox and saxophonist Lee Thompson. On "Betterment Blues," the album's third offering, Penn utilizes her soulful, glossy voice, and while the chorale may not equate with a handful of her intimate work, it is by no means worthy of extinction.
As we delve deeper within Trojan Sessions, we discover more of the act's rare accents. For one, the record's production, courtesy of Sean Flowerdew and the United Kingdom's leading reggae executive, Nick Mannaseh, while archetypal in comparison to Pama International's members' former material, is near flawless. Moreover, guitarist Lynval Golding, who is better known for his endeavors as the ringleader for the historic English septet, The Specials, attests to be an awe-inspiring asset to Pama International's troupe, as his lustrous creativity shines through the album's context. On tracks including "Life Is What Happens," "One Step," and "Penny Wise Pound Fool," Golding's distribution is conspicuously proficient, but more often that not, his entrapments create exceptional foundations for the act's outstanding efforts.
But, to conclude this wordy prattle, as consumers the final election is yours. If you are one to admit counselling from a pseudo personality, by all means, garner my advice. I, as the critic, wish for nothing beyond a reader's satisfaction, and Pama International possess the necessary endowment to warrant your fulfillment. While Trojan Sessions may fail to establish the degree of acclaim the act's earliest attempts acquired, please, at the very least bless it with your concentration. To be quite clear, it's plainly evident as to why Pama International have been branded as the United Kingdom's dominant ska collective, and Trojan Sessions, in truth, falls far beyond an everyday release.