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Morgan Heritage

NICE UP – ALBUM REVIEW

Morgan Heritage – Avrakedabra
Looks as though reggae’s most successful family band has been whittled down from a core quintet to a threesome, and now lead singer Peter Morgan (truly one of the most engaging front men in all of Jamaican music), keyboardist/vocalist Gramps Morgan and percussionist/vocalist Mr. Mojo are going forward under the MH name. What hasn’t changed is their growing determination (so it would seem) to modernize roots reggae music to the max. Opening track “Want Some More” (referring to reggae, naturally) exemplifies the approach, with guest artist Mr. Talkbox announcing his presence enmeshed in all the electronic ambiance you’d expect from such a name. While Avrakedabra doesn’t hit the heights of the Morgan family’s best works, it’s still chock full of good times, consciousness and crossover-aimed moments including computerized riddims, very contemporary lyrical references and vocal cadences that owe as much to rap as to reggae. From my standpoint, the group still scores highest marks when they go for an earthier vibe, which they do here on the unity-promoting “One Family” (with Ziggy and Stephen Marley lending a vocal hand) and a fair number of the disc’s other 13 tracks. But I gotta say, when the intended audience is more mainstream, as with the poppy but undeniably catchy “Reggae Night” and seductive “Ready for Love,” the Morgans still pull it off with a feel for melodic hooks, vocal interplay, danceable grooves and reasons to rejoice (check “Pineapple Wine” for a hip-swaying example of the last) that they’ve always possessed. So even if your tastes are more tuned to serious concerns (“Selah,” “We Are,” “Tribute to Ruggs”) you’re likely to find Avrakedabra another in a series of Morgan Heritage albums well worth having and listening to from start to finish. –Tom Orr
CTBC Music Group 

Morgan Heritage is a Grammy winning Jamaican reggae band formed in 1994 by five children of reggae artist Denroy Morgan, namely Peter "Peetah" Morgan, Una Morgan, Roy "Gramps" Morgan, Nakhamyah "Lukes" Morgan, and Memmalatel "Mr. Mojo" Morgan. They have toured internationally and released a number of reggae albums.

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