Imagine that a nightclub accidentally booked two wildly different acts - one reggae, one country - for the same night, and instead of one backing out, the bands decided to jam together. That's "Reggae's Gone Country," 14 tracks of covers that sound, at first blush, like a musical accident full of twangy guitars and reggae beats, but overall a happy one.
The album opens with Romain Virgo and Larry Gatlin's take on the Gatlin Brothers '"California." It starts out seemingly traditional and makes a sudden reggae turn, setting the tone for the rest of the tracks that blend the best of both genres.
The most enjoyable tunes are those most recognizable to even the least country-fied music fans, including Etana's sweet spin on "Crazy," Tessanne Chin's soulful take on "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes" and the fun meanderings of Freddie McGregor's "King of the Road." ''El Paso" by Sanchez provides the album's most brain-twisting combination, drawing from reggae, country and Latin genres for the musical equivalent of enchiladas filled with jerk chicken and pulled pork. Weird, but actually pretty tasty.
Sample (Busy Signal - Gambler - Romain Virgo & Larry Gatlin - California)
Reggae's Gone Country
Label: VP Records/WEA
1. California - Romain Virgo & Larry Gatlin
2. He'll Have To Go - Luciano
3. Wolverton Mountain - Richie Stephens
4. Crazy - Etana
5. The Chair - Tarrus Riley
6. He Stopped Loving Her Today - Beres Hammond
7. Suspicions - Duane Stephenson
8. Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue - Tessanne Chin
9. Feels So Right - Gramps Morgan
10. The King Of The Road - Freddie McGregor
11. El Paso - Sanchez
12. Flowers On The Wall - L.U.S.T.
13. The Gambler - Busy Signal