Words on World Music

Album Review — Byron Lee and the Dragonaires Essential


Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

pix_byron_lee_essential.jpgFidel Castro isn’t the only statesman stepping down.  Apparently Byron Lee might be retiring after a half-century of “revolution”.  Here’s Cal Koat’s review of his newest album, from the worldbeat website.

 Byron Lee & The Dragonaires – Essential (VP Records)  Along with his renowned band, The Dragonaires, Byron Lee pioneered the ‘tropical big band’ sound and continues to record and tour well into his golden years. His legacy is a longtime personal dream; to create a Carnival for Jamaica! Byron Lee and The Dragonaires’ legendary performances have no doubt contributed to increased sales in white towels, as they encourage their legions of loyal fans to wave their soca rags in the air. After tracing Jamaica’s musical evolution, Byron Lee is now preparing to step back from the touring and recording after a lifetime of achievement. But like an old soldier, he’s got some great stories to tell. On the companion DVD, The Dragon takes us back to the start of his love affair with music and then relates his association with Jamaican dance rhythms from mento to ska and soca. Then, his band digs some classic ska out of the vault and a few old friends out of retirement to help him celebrate his landmark achievements.

Key Tracks:  Walk Like A Dragon, Dragon Dance feat. The Mighty Sparrow

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