In an attempt to carry on the legacy of Phillip ‘Fatis' Burrell and the Xterminator empire, son Kareem ‘Remus’ Burrell, and the revamped XTM.Nation family, dug through his father’s archives to give fans a taste of unreleased tracks and a mere glimpse of Fatis’ unparalleled work. The selection of songs coincides with the the 25th anniversary of the Xterminator label and in this track-by-track review we decode their offering to see if they lived up to expectations or put together a generic production thats not really replay worthy.
1. Part of One Big Family - Luciano
Mirroring the theme of the project, the opening track finds Luciano echoing thoughts of musical and global unity in a vibrato that has become synonymous to his name. The single, which is also featured on the 2009 released LPFatis Presents Xterminator feat. Luciano, blends his spirituality and R&B-esque take on Reggae perfectly and in turn unintentionally sets the pace for the album.
2. Stand in Love - Lee "Scratch" Perry
Hearing unreleased singles from Perry always take you back to the success stories of his early career beginnings. Crafting a story of love (and an update to Ken Boothe’s 1967 single When I Fall In Love), Perry urges listeners to simply ‘stand in love’ and ‘not fall in love’ fashioning a somewhat serious-yet-playful lyrical style he has come to be known for. Perry recorded this single roughly a decade ago on a visit to Jamaica.
“One day coming up from school enuh, I drove into my driveway and I saw Mr. Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry in my driveway,” Kareem recalls. “My father was building a studio at his house, recording the usual stable of artistes - Sizzla, Turbulence, Chezidek, Lutan Fyah— and this particular day we had a surprise visitor, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. You could feel the aura from this man. Scratch, him have a love for Sizzla and Fattis, too.”
3. Shield and Guide - Pressure Buss Pipe
Laced with saxophone assistance from the legendary Dean Fraser, Shield and Guide finds Pressure Buss Pipe putting his ‘trust and joy’ in the most High. A single that seemingly reflects faith being placed in a higher/spiritual being, Busspipe reminds us just why his 2007 mega hit Love and Affection took over varied airwaves easily.
4. Show Them How Fi Blaze - Jahman & Jesse Royal
Laying a modern tone over Tony Tuff’s 1970s hit single Deliver Me, Jahman and Jesse Royal trade thought-provoking verses on a mellow backdrop. With Royal’s ad libs sprinkled throughout the single, hitting that replay button is truly a tempting option and you’re sure to find yourself nodding along after a few seconds in the song.
5. Eyes Wide Open - Gentleman
This enchanting track finds Gentleman in his per-usual empowerment stance for the betterment of humanity. By no means an instant favourite (unless you’re a die-hard fan of Gentleman) but it’s definitely a grower and not a shower.
6. Daylight - Sizzla
Listening to this track in its entirety you can pick up on the fact that this was indeed a demo that was revamped. In no way is the lyrics lacking or the laid-back instrumental arrangement unimpressive but the overall production feels as though it’s missing something.
7. We Pop It Off - Ini Kamoze
Riddled with varying double entendres, Ini Kamoze easily displayed characteristics that propelled his to the top of everyone’s radar when he released Here Comes The Hotstepper leaving us to wonder why we haven’t been getting more singles from him in more recent times.
8. Little Did They Know - Jesse Royal
The militancy of Jesse’s persona oozing out on this track with no apologies, a modern take on Dennis Brown’s Halfway Up Halfway Down, and is one that you truly have to listen to on your own to fully experience his ‘Royal speech’.
9. Oh My Father - Buju Banton
An acoustic performance/demo of Oh My Father finds Banton evoking vocal emotions in a manner only he can. The single indirectly reflects Banton’s currently status as he asks the heavenly Father to take his current struggle and pain away.
10. Do It Now - Beres Hammond
Spinning as the only official tribute to Phillip ‘Fatis’ Burrell, Beres reminisces on their friendship and encourages persons to Do It Now whenever you want to say to your friend what’s in your mind/heart because you can never tell when your last interaction will be.
11. One More Chance - Kayla Bliss
Kayla Bliss, a new addition to the XTN.Nation family, lets her vocals shine on the lush one drop backdrop admitting to her mistakes while pleading for another chance at love.
12. Pair of Wings - Nadine Sutherland
Dubbed the unofficial tribute to the late Garnet Silk following his untimely/shocking death, Pair of Wings plays as the perfect closure to this chapter of the Living HeART series. From the lyrics to the vocal delivery the song closes the album in a manner the leaves you wanting more…which is a good thing!
Final Verdict: In many ways one would assume the album to spin as a tribute to the mastermind producer with each artiste composing heartfelt singles reminisce of better times. But rather we’re presented with a compilation of rare gems (except a select few) which should spill over in Volume two of the Living HeART series. As album goes, this is no way the most cohesive project but it does play as what it was meant to be — a son paying homage to his father, and fans of his work, in a manner that best represents his work; through music.
Check out a few of the tracks below and be sure to check out the album on iTunes!