David Hillyard & The Rocksteady 7 – “The Giver”

Album Reviews | Jun 6th, 2018

David Hillyard And The Rocksteady 7 The Giver
Image used with permission for review purposes.

Record Label: ORG Music
Genre: Ska
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The Giver is saxophonist and Slackers member Dave Hillyard’s 5th full length effort with his music collective The Rocksteady 7. In the wake of their extensive catalogue, they often leave behind a playful mix of instrumentals, covers, and original tunes sometimes driven by smooth and soulful vocals.

This latest effort continues that tradition and offers a very soulful collection of rocksteady, jazz, and R&B inspired tunes. Rocksteady 7’s current installment once again brings together Hillyard with his friends and usual suspects of the ska and Jamaican music genres such as Jamaican percussionist Larry McDonald, Alex Desert of Hepcat and The Lions, and Sean Wheeler of California punk band Throw Rag. Also included are members from such notable bands of the like as The Beat, The Expanders, Easy Star All-Stars, The Slackers, and Grupo Latin Vibe among others.

Wheeler joins The Rocksteady 7 on this record contributing the soul inspired lead vocals to the jazz and Jamaican music arrangements with a barrage of blues immersed lyrical content combined with his gravelly punk rock yet soulful vocal harmony as displayed on such tunes as the excellent title track The Give and Now That You Know. A nice addition to the multitude of brass and other assorted instruments on this record are the balafon and vibraphone which when noticed add another layer to the musicianship and style on such tracks as Song of the Underground Railroad, an excellent cover of “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” by the late Gil Scott-Heron, and the smooth and ever jazzy closing instrumental track “Dark Before Dawn.”

Bottom Line: Fans of Jamaican roots, soul, jazz, and R&B rejoice for another great mix of smooth and eclectic music brought to you by David Hillyard and The Rocksteady 7. Let the needle drop or press play to set the tone for your mood and night.
Notable Tracks: More Than 2 Sides, Measure of a Man, Now That You Know, The Giver, Song of the Underground Railroad, Home Is Where The Hatred Is , Dark Before Dawn.
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