US family band Morgan Heritage are back with a fine album of reggae songs, more consistent and stronger than previously and definitely worth hearing. The band – Gramps, Peetah and Mr Mojo – completed this album from their various locations around the world and the global influences are evident in this selection of tracks. This album is the band’s 12th studio release and the upbeat summery single ‘Beach and Country’ is taken from the album.
The album displays the range of styles and influences we have become accustomed to in hearing Morgan Heritage (see previous reviews on reggaemusic.org.uk. 1st May 2015 and 15th May 2017). The 16 tracks feature a number of collaborators including Diamond Platnumz, Stonebwoy and Patoranking, Reggae Rock stars Pepper and Iration, Dancehall artist Popcaan, and the voice of journalist and broadcaster Jeff Koinange on the album intro.
As on earlier releases there is a pronounced soul influence on some of the songs here, including the title track which develops into a strong reggae song in the classic tradition. ‘All for You’ is a thoughtful and melodic track with a slightly melancholic feel while ‘Slave and Slave Master’ is a further powerful contribution, again in a classic style. The album as a whole is strong on melody and on production. The acoustic ‘Home’ is a sweet tuneful song that sticks in the mind and could be covered far beyond the reggae community.
The single ‘Beach And Country’ was produced by Jugglerz, Haegi and Morgan Heritage, and the video for the song was filmed on location in Sao Vicente, Cape Verde and directed by Mojo Morgan and Adilson Ramos. The group says: “’Beach And Country’ is a song to take away musically any time of the year to a tropical oasis. Music has a way to contribute to our emotions and we hope our new single takes everyone on a journey down memory lane for those that don’t live in a tropical destination.”
Currently performing live at festivals across Europe, Morgan Heritage are due to tour the UK in Autumn 2019.
Morgan Heritage ‘Loyalty’, release August 2019 on their CTBC (Cool To Be Conscious) Music Group label in partnership with Membran.
Here’s a brand new album from family and spiritually-oriented American band Morgan Heritage who are currently coming to the end of their UK and European tour. There have been a number of single releases from the album already, including the most recent single ‘We Are’ and ‘Ready for Love’. Recorded in different studios around the globe, it’s an eclectic and optimistic album firmly inspired by the roots reggae tradition but with influences from further afield. There are fourteen tracks herein, kicking off with ‘Want Some More’ (featuring Mr Talkbox), its solid reggae rhythm proceeding at a pace reminiscent perhaps of Steel Pulse at their peak. ‘One Family’ which features Ziggy Marley and Stephen Marley is interesting melodically, with a vintage reggae feel to the bass line – a great little track with a happy contagious mood.
On some tracks – particularly ‘Golden’ and to some extent the recent single ‘Ready for Love’– there’s a soul/R and B feel and it becomes possible to imagine Lauryn Hill covering these enthusiastically. Elsewhere the musical balance is a little different: ‘Reggae Night’ and ‘Dream Girl’ are pop/reggae that it’s impossible to dislike. The album as a whole is laid-back in its overall tone with occasional flashes of an angrier feel as on ‘We Are’. All the tracks were written by the band and their vocal collaborators on different songs, with the exception of the final track ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’.
All in all, a great album of authentic contemporary roots reggae.
See previous feature on Morgan Heritage, reggaemusic.org.uk 1st May 2015
Morgan Heritage: ‘Avrakedabra’, release 19th May 2017 on the CTBC Music Label, CD/vinyl/digital formats
This new album from highly respected US roots reggae outfit Morgan Heritage features a wide variety of guest performers including dancehall A-lister Shaggy, American reggae and R&B vocalist J Boog, Eric Rachmany of Rebelution, Bobby Lee of Grammy-nominated SOJA and a newer Jamaican talent, Chronixx. Many of the tracks within are firmly and strongly in the roots tradition, including the title track ‘Strictly Roots’, ‘Child of Jah’ (featuring Chronixx), ‘Put It on Me’ and ‘Rise and Fall’, a top Marley-esque reggae tune. The advance single release, ‘Perform and Done’, produced by Don Chandler and BBC Radio 1/BBC 1Xtra’s Seani B is a little different in feel but is likely to have more impact with its elements of hip-hop and dancehall.
The children of legendary reggae artist Denroy Morgan, siblings Peetah Morgan (vocals), Una Morgan (keyboard/vocals), Gramps Morgan (keyboard/vocals), Lukes Morgan (rhythm guitar) and Mr. Mojo Morgan (percussion/vocals) are collectively a powerful force, and this is a strong release. The album is independently released on their own self-funded label and the band’s commitment to causes of social justice and equality is evident throughout.
Morgan Heritage: ‘Strictly Roots’: album release on independent label CTBC (Cool to be Conscious) Music Group, 15th June 2015. Single ‘Perform and Done’ released 25th May 2015