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Lucky Dube -  Taxman
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Lucky Dube - Taxman When the great Bob Marley died, Reggae seemed to take a step back from its position as the most popular genre in the 'World' music canon. Groups like the Police and UB40 jumped in to exploit Reggae's crossover appeal but the field was still wide open for a new and genuine Reggae superstar. This position seems to have been filled during the past few years by the South African Lucky Dube. Easily the most popular Reggae artist in SA (with not much competition), Lucky Dube has amazed his detractors by becoming South Africa's first Global superstar if we look purely at his phenomenal sales abroad.

Following on the the heels of the enormous success of his 1995 album 'Trinity', Dube's new album 'Taxman' is expected to further cement his reputation and international success and after hearing this album it is not completely obvious why this is so. Reggae was always a music born in suffering yet celebrating the power of the human spirit to rise from oppression. It is therefore logical that South Africa should produce Reggae artists of the highest order. Lucky Dube looks like a Reggae artist with his impressive dreadlocks and slightly stoned-like gaze, sings like a Reggae artist with a South African accent, can write Reggae songs on the back of a postcard sitting at the bus-stop and covers all the relevant Reggae issues such as Slavery, Jah, Love and freedom from oppression. Yet still something is missing from this composite picture that is difficult to pin down. The production on this album is exemplary, the 'Girlie' chorus adds a sweetness and yearning to Lucky's vocals but there is no out-on the-edge heart and passion to 'Taxman'. The lyrics veer towards to the banal and safe; the famous French Philosopher Rousseau said that the only things in life that are certain are death and taxes, well Lucky has made so much bucks that he's now railing against the Taxman ! Not very PC.

The first track 'Guns and Roses' discusses Lucky's obsession with Axl Roses' band (just kidding), actually its a very strong track with enough kick to get the album going. The stand-out track for me is 'Take it to Jah' a beautiful song due to the fact that Lucky has brought the Soweto String Quartet into the studio to create a truly South African Reggae song and if the whole album sounded like this then we would really have something revolutionary on our hands. Sadly the final track , which also appeared on the recent "Serious Reggae Business album, is a cover of the ,um, Foreigner song 'I want to know what love is' which is truly abysmal and a serious lapse in judgement. But hey, this Lucky Dube album will sell in buckets and the Rastas on Greenmarket Square will be waiting for me after work, but it could just have been so much more. Leave the "Taxman' rants to the Beatles please. Stephen Segerman (sugar@cd.co.za)

others in the REVIEWS

Allison Simkiss / Fetish management fetish@iafrica.com Or phone Allison at 021-618 120 The CD costs R79.99 plus R12.00 postage.

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Lots of SA CDs to buy online at One World.

There's also the Two Oceans Trading online shopping mall where you can purchase Springbok rugby merchandising, SA books, jewellery and CD-ROMs, amongst many other items.

Any thoughts, requests, problems, complaints, praise or interesting and relevant SA music news, please email it immediately to: sugar@cd.co.za

editor: Stephen "Sugar" Segerman, webmaster: Alan Levin, maintainer: Brian Currin

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