In the many years that have passed since Deal’s Gone Bad released their debut Large and in Charge album, the group have undergone dizzying alterations, yet every change has brought the band a little closer to perfection, helping over time to solidify the group’s grand vision, and sharpening their musical skills, songwriting and arrangements. Still fans’ impatience grew as the interim between albums lengthened, building now to a whopping six years. It’s obvious, though, that DGB haven’t been resting on their laurels, for with The Ramblers they’ve crafted a flawless album, so much so, it’s difficult to even know where to begin. The production is superb; clean, but not slick, capturing and distinguishing every note, whilst creating a fleshy, warm sound. The arrangements are inspired – forget the many stellar solos and grand bass lines, those automatically garner attention, it’s the small musical passages – the three bars of organ swagger, the little drum fill, the guitar flourishes – that demand notice by their very understatement. The closer you listen, the more of these subtle interjections you’ll find, each immaculately timed, placed and delivered, all beautifully coloring the songs. Dare one compare it to Jackie Mittoo’s time at Studio One? Close, but I think Gladdy & the Allstars’s stellar work across the early reggae age is more apt. And then there’s the songs themselves, a diverse bunch but sharing one thing in common, their strong melodies, arguably the most powerful in DGB’s career. Be it the plaintive “One More Day”, the funky “Take Time”, the reggae-soul of “Good Old Days”, the rootsy “The Cost”, the exuberantly infectious ska of “You Get the Keys”, or the John Crow styled “Rough and Ready”, every track within is a stand-out. Finally, there’s Todd Hembrook. Hembrook is a stunning singer, and his forceful Staxish vocals give the band brand new soul power, a strength that better balances DGB’s long term predilection for the genre. See-sawing US soul against Jamaican ska/reggae, the band twine the two together in ways even the island originators couldn’t. It may be sacrilege to suggest, but at this point DGB may not just equal, but at times better the Jamaican legends. At the very least they’ve unleashed an album that favorably compares with any from back in the day, and modern times to boot – ALL MUSIC GUIDE Review by Jo Anne Greene. Couldn’t have said it ANY better ourselves!
For Fans of: The Skatalites, The Slackers, The Aggroltes, Trojan Records, Hepcat, King Django, Toots & The Maytals
Yellow Vinyl housed in our signature poster sleeve and comes with white label hand stamped dubs 12″
- Deal's Gone Bad "The Ramblers"
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