With winter looming large, especially here in Canada, it's hard to keep thoughts of sunny skies and warm climes front and centre. However I've found a great solution to help trick the mind. Pick up Time, the new release by Third Word vocalist Bunny Rugs and you'll be thinking of sandy beaches in short order.
Besides the temperature-affecting qualities of this excellent record, there's another compelling reason to pick it up; it's one of the best collections of songs released this year. In some cases when a performer has been at it their whole career, they become a bit blasι about their output, expecting their audience to lap up whatever they deem suitable to put out.
With Time, the record is packed to rafters with songs --- 15 in total --- and believe me when I say, there is not one dud in the whole bunch. To start with, the reason most people would buy a Bunny Rugs record is to hear his incredible voice. Rich, deep, and as irresistible as free samples at a chocolate factory, Rugs has never sounded as good as he does here. Not content to simply go through the motions, he uses all the notes, going from the low registers to a cool falsetto that sneaks in occasionally.
Kicking off the record is possibly the most fantastic song in his considerable stable of work, "Just Can't Deny". I mean going up against all the Third World songs as well his previous solo work is a tough assignment but if I had to play one song to convince someone of Rugs' dynamic voice, I think this might be it. I could play this all day. And I do, come to think of it.
From there the quality never dips, going from love songs to more political messages and social observations. Sound-wise, the music veers off to some R&B corners as well as more straight-ahead reggae. The more romantic songs include "We've Got the Formula" (beautiful chorus), "Settlin' Down", "Thinking Bout You" and "Heaven Sent - Dat Feelin'" (one of the best tracks).
Reggae has been a vehicle for the people to voice displeasure about their surroundings for decades and with "Kurfew", Rugs takes the opportunity to talk about an incident in Jamaica a few years back where 80 people lost their lives. And in one of the more notable tracks, and one of the few he didn't write, "Solutions", the day to day life of a young mother in a troubled home is examined.
Among the standout tracks is "Bed of Roses", where Rugs' riveting voice makes you listen to every syllable. Also particularly tasty is "Don't Give it Up" with its awesome chorus. After "Just Can't Deny", my favorite track may very well be the title track with the luscious-sounding voices of the I-Threes type backup singers.
Finishing the set off in a really strong way is the captivating "Land We Love Jamaica", which should become the country's new national anthem. Ya mon!!
Let's face it, I can go on and on and talk about every song, they're really that good. If you like reggae music, this is definitely for you and if you're new to the scene, absolutely grab this record because you'll get no better introduction. When should you buy it? Well, right now of course because it's "Time".