Various: Hi Grade Ganja Anthems 3





The strap-line screams “18 Blazing Classics!” but the packaging’s even more impressive than the track-listing as Greensleeves cleverly reproduce the Wailers’Catch A Fire Zippo lighter cover on the inside artwork and include a handy pack of king-size cigarette papers, all neatly kitted in marijuana leaf patterns. It’s a marvellous design – one that’s arresting in every sense, despite the selection itself running out of puff towards the end.

High on the most wanted list is Busy Signal’s Spliff Tail for Shane Brown’s Jukeboxx label, Capleton’s Acres, Alborosie’s Real Story on which he mimics Eek A Mouse and Collie Buddz’ former No. 1 hit Come Around – a veritable anthem that put Bermuda’s finest on the map and remains one of the most graphic descriptions of herb dealings ever committed to hard drive. Reggae connoisseurs will delight in Lukie D’s One Cup A Day and Sizzla’s Free Up The Herbs, both voiced over a Maximum Sounds’ cut of I Know Myself, whilst Tarrus Riley’s Herbs Promotionfeatures De Marco and Vybz Kartel and tells the story of surviving a police raid with their precious stash still intact. It’s unbelievable – and not to say an outright injustice – that people are still being harassed and imprisoned because of a plant, whilst more damaging substances like alcohol and tobacco are freely available. That’s why reggae artists like those assembled here continue to man the barricades and sing about marijuana. They are standing up for something they believe in, and calling for an end to the wilful ignorance and no doubt dirty-handed politricks that continue to make criminals of so many good people around the world.

With this in mind every track here’s a winner, no matter whether it’s Ziggi licking out against cocaine on a cut of Tristan Palmer’s Joker Smoker; Inner Circle saying pretty much the same thing in tandem with West Coast reggae rockers Slightly Stoopid, Bushman reviving Peter Tosh’s Legalise It or Morgan Heritage highlighting ganja’s healing qualities on Plant Up The Herbs, which is the kind of well reasoned defence no doubter could refuse.



About johnmasouri
John Masouri is a long-time author and music journalist specialising in reggae and its many off-shoots including dub, ska, roots and dancehall. The author of Wailing Blues: The Story of Bob Marley's Wailers, published by Omnibus Press in 2008, he is currently working on a biography of reggae singer Peter Tosh, due to appear next year. In addition to book projects, he continues to write articles and reviews for Reggae Vibes (France), Riddim (Germany) and Echoes - formerly Black Echoes - which is renowned as Britain's No. 1 black music monthly. His work has also appeared in Mojo, Music Week, the Guardian, the Observer and the NME, as well as magazines in the US, Caribbean and Japan.

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