Spirits in the Material World, A Reggae Tribute to The Police (Shanachie, 2008)
Some of the biggest names in the current reggae scene pay tribute to the music of 1980s pop group The Police. The British new wave band was a pioneer in the use of reggae beats incorporated to mainstream pop music. Reggae musicians now return the favor by performing well known songs by The Police.
Even though many of the musicians featured fall within the category of reggae, the songs included range from pop to dancehall and roots reggae. The artists featured include Toots & The Maytals, The Wailing Souls, Ali Campbell of UB40, Joan Osborne, Junior Reid and Lee “Scratch” Perry.
The best cuts in Spirits in the Material World, A Reggae Tribute to The Police are the ones that bring the true essence of reggae to the pop sensibility of the songs: "De Do Do Do De Da Da Da" by Toots & The Maytals, "Every Breath you Take" by Joan Osborne, "Bed’s Too Big Without You" by Inner Circle, "Wrapped Around Your Finger" by Cyril Neville, and "So Lonely" by Gregory Isaacs. But the song that stands out over the rest is "Spirits in the Material World" by New Orleans’s legendary Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & The Uppressors with Ras Tree. His combination of seductive roots reggae beats with funk and R&B shows the best that reggae had to offer. Many forget that Bob Marley‘s music had a strong American R&B component, which combined with reggae, made it so attractive.
The album was produced by Inner Circle and a portion of the proceeds of Spirits in the Material World, A Reggae Tribute to The Police will benefit The Toots Foundation, which was founded by Toots Hibbert of Toots & The Maytals to build and run youth centers in Jamaica.
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