Like everyone else (c'mon admit it!), I was crushed 3 years ago when Sinead O'Connor stated that she was retiring from the music industry. No matter what opinion one has of her personal life/agendas, it must be agreed that she is one of the best artists to come out of the late 20th century and one of the greatest voices is rock music ever. The music world had definitely lost one of its best assets. During the hiatus, periodically stories came out about Sinead (she was a lesbian, she got married, she was an ordained Catholic priest, etc.), but no new music. Imagine my joy when I found out that the pull of music was too strong for her to ignore any longer and Sinead was going to release an album. Sinead has always been a constantly evolving artist and person and in this incarnation she had become a Rastafarian. She stated that any music she performed or recorded would be of the Rasta type. Throw Down Your Arms is not a commercial reggae album (see: Shaggy, Sean Paul, etc.), but a hard core roots reggae venture. It is a tribute album to the most influential and respected artists in roots reggae. On this album, she covers the songs that she loves to sing. The album was recorded in Jamaica under the guidance of reggae legends Sly & Robbie. They also provide much of the instrumentation along with veteran reggae musicians such as, Mickey Chung and Sticky Thompson. For those of you who still might doubt her intentions I dare you to give this album a listen and argue that she was not being sincere in her professed love for roots reggae. Her reverence for the genre and passion is apparent in every note she sings. Sinead is intelligent enough to realize that these songs do not need any change to make them great pieces of music; that is why they are all considered classics in the genre. One thing that is unique and definitely Sinead about this album is the voice. Wow! Does the lady ever possess a true gift! It is impossible to pick highlights from this album as it is good front to back and must be listened to as a complete body of work rather than 12 individual tracks. Sinead does cover 'Jah Nuh Dead' by Burning Spear (a beautiful a cappella version), 'Downpressor Man' by Peter Tosh, and 'Curly Locks' by Lee Perry. I, along with millions of others, I am sure, welcome this treasure back and hope she continues to make music for many years to come.
- B.B. King & Friends
- 54-40 in Montreal