Throw Down Your Arms

Studio Album by released in 2005
Throw Down Your Arms's tracklist:
Jah Nuh Dead (Winston Rodney)
Marcus Garvey (Phillip J Fullwood-Winston Rodney)
Door Peep (Winston Rodney)
He Prayed (Clements Dodd-Winston Rodney)
Curly Locks (Lee Perry)
Vampire (Lee Perry)
Y Mas Gan (Linford Manning)
Prophet Has Arise (Cecil Spence)
Downpressor Man (Peter Tosh)
Throw Down Your Arms (Phillip J Fullwood-Winston Rodney)
Untold Stories (Glenroy Browne-Donovan Germain-Mark Myrie-Handel Tucker)
War (Colin Eric Allen-Carleton)

Throw Down Your Arms review

Sinead O'Connor returns after two-year music “retirement”

From the start of her career in 1987, Sinead O'Connor has followed her own idiosyncratic path. Her fame peaked in 1990 with her massive cover of Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U, and her fall was swift after her Pope picture ripping on Saturday Night Live. Then she was booed offstage in America after dissing the national anthem, declared herself a priest and abandoned music. Since then, in between "retirements" (2003's album She Who Dwells In The Secret Place was supposed to be her last recording), she has followed her muse and produced worthwhile music. Sinead O'Connor has always taken a close interest in Rastafarianism (not to mention that she has reportedly converted to the Rastafarian faith), so Throw Down Your Arms, an album of classic roots-reggae covers, is an absolutely logical step from a singer who's often gone out of her way to sabotage her career. Those who know Irish Folk will surely recognize some elements of their music when they listen to authentic Jamaican Reggae. These elements could very well be connected with the fact that Jamaica was not only used as a big plantation where Africans in slave labor were kept in bondage. The island also hosted quite a few Irish people too, who were exiled from Ireland by Oliver Cromwell.

Throw Down Your Arms is a “way of expressing gratitude to the Rasta people”

Recorded at the legendary Marley's Tuff Gong Studio in Kingston and produced by internationally renowned producers and musicians Sly and Robbie (who also played drums and bass, respectively, on the album), Throw Down Your Arms has been described by O'Connor as her "way of expressing gratitude to the Rasta people." It stars some of the cream of the scene's elder crop, from guitarist Mikey Chung to Sticky Thompson, Dean Fraser, and many others. The album is really good, thanks in no small part to the wealth of fine musicianship, production, and material that O'Connor is dealing with. While she wisely chooses to bypass obvious material (i.e., no Wailers hits), she does touch upon a few classic protest songs that will be recognizable to reggae fans, notably the track War, which was written by Eric Allen and Carlton Barnett (although it's often associated with Bob Marley). The album starts off in somewhat striking fashion with an a cappella track called Jah Nuh Dread by Winston Rodney, whose band Burning Spear is covered several times here (Marcus Garvey, Door Peep, title cut). Other artists getting the cover treatment include Lee "Scratch" Perry (Curly Locks, Vampire), Peter Tosh (Downpressor Man), and Buju Banton (Untold Stories).

New realm for the Irish singer/songwriter

People who know Sinead O'Connor's music and love her voice may not necessarily know the rhythm of life called reggae. So this release will definitely introduce this music to a wider audience. O'Connor appears very respectful with the material throughout, and she pulls it off much better than you'd think an Irish singer singing reggae tunes possibly could. She is a great interpreter of these songs because she understands they need nothing to be complete. They stand the test of time simply because they are great songs. And while Jamaican music and an Irish accent are certainly an odd combination, her voice is more than good enough to make the experiment work. She wraps herself in the rhythm and the spiritual groove and lets them cover her, saturate her, and come through her into the air. Dynamite singing, a killer band, and wonderful material do a great album. Sinead O'Connor's Throw Down Your Arms is a stellar foray into a new realm for the Irish singer/songwriter. Willful and erratic she may be, but there's no denying her talent and it's high time that people started appreciating her again.

(25.10.2005)
Rate review4.52
Total votes - 19


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