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Playboy Album Review

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  • Playboy Album Review


    It shouldn't be a surprise to hear the sounds of Caribbean nightlife on a record produced by Keith Richards. But when those sounds are made by crickets and tree frogs, something strange is at work. In the case of Wingless Angels (Mindless/Island Jamaica), Keith's recording of a Rastafarian Nyabinghi drum group, it's a prelude to some of the most beautifully organic music ever waxed. This isn't a star's attempt to appropriate roots music. It feels more like a campfire documentary. Richards plays on the record, and he brought along a few friends. Wingless Angels mostly bases itself in quietly sensuous rhythms and sinuous vocal harmonies.

    Parts of it sound so ancient it's easy to imagine they originated in Africa. Other parts are unmistakably the roots of today's reggae. Songs like "On Mount Zion I" and "Rasta Army" are buoyed by abundant mysticism. Richards and his friends join in mostly to make sure the spirit translates to our ears. To me, it sounds as if for Keith, songs such as "Roll Jordan Roll" and "Rivers of Babylon" are as close as he gets to prayer.

    Posted by: WebCrew
WebCrew's picture
on April 18, 1997


It shouldn't be a surprise to hear the sounds of Caribbean nightlife on a record produced by Keith Richards. But when those sounds are made by crickets and tree frogs, something strange is at work. In the case of Wingless Angels (Mindless/Island Jamaica), Keith's recording of a Rastafarian Nyabinghi drum group, it's a prelude to some of the most beautifully organic music ever waxed. This isn't a star's attempt to appropriate roots music. It feels more like a campfire documentary. Richards plays on the record, and he brought along a few friends. Wingless Angels mostly bases itself in quietly sensuous rhythms and sinuous vocal harmonies.

Parts of it sound so ancient it's easy to imagine they originated in Africa. Other parts are unmistakably the roots of today's reggae. Songs like "On Mount Zion I" and "Rasta Army" are buoyed by abundant mysticism. Richards and his friends join in mostly to make sure the spirit translates to our ears. To me, it sounds as if for Keith, songs such as "Roll Jordan Roll" and "Rivers of Babylon" are as close as he gets to prayer.

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