October 12, 1999
Xterminator Records
Reggae, Dancehall

Album Review

There are those who compare Cocoa Tea to Marvin Gaye, and that's actually pretty apt. With his warm, smooth voice and his easy way of switching from suave, loverman lyrics to urgent social protest and spiritual testimony, Cocoa Tea may be the closest thing reggae music has had to Marvin Gaye. These qualities are apparent on this album, which compiles singles recorded under the supervision of legendary dancehall producer Philip "Fatis" Burrell for his Xterminator label. The material is almost uniformly fine. Highlights include "Lonesome Feeling," which is powered by one of drummer Sly Dunbar's churning signature rhythms, and "Long Time," with its old-school piano and horns that contrast nicely with the synthetic, dancehall drum patterns. As is often the case with dancehall collections, many of the instrumental tracks featured here are familiar. Some, in fact, are too familiar: "Grow U Locks" is a barely disguised adaptation of the Junior Byles classic "Curly Locks," and "Criminality" borrows even more blatantly from Black Uhuru's "Solidarity." (This would be less of a problem if Cocoa Tea didn't take songwriting credit for them in the notes.) Original or not, there's scarcely a track here that won't accentuate the dance, and Cocoa Tea himself is at the top of his vocal form on every track. Recommended.
Rick Anderson, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Grow U Locks
  2. Africa Here I Come
  3. Getting Closer
  4. Love Me Truly
  5. She Loves Me Now
  6. Good Life
  7. Criminality
  8. Arigatta
  9. Mr. Neck Tie Man
  10. Who Jump the Gun
  11. No Faith
  12. One Away
  13. Lonesome Feeling
  14. Repartriation
  15. Israel's King
  16. Rasta Man
  17. Long Time