CD Reviews - Soca by Various Artists (N-Z)
Soca Switch 10 (The Perfect 10)
The Stars of Soca Compilation - Various Artists
Release Date: March 4, 2004
Label: JW Records
The tenth installment of the ever-popular Soca Switch series is loaded with nothing but top-10 hits from Trinidad Carnival 2004. Soca Switch 10 is a must have CD for all serious soca lovers. The 13-track CD contains top hits by an array of some of Trinidad's most popular soca stars including the legendary Machel Montano, Super Blue's baby girl Fay Ann Lyons, Destra, Bunji Garlin, and the list goes on.
The CD opens with Shurwayne Winchester's The Band Coming (Trinidad Carnival's Road March winner 2004). From there we move into Machel's Craziness, another outstanding tune from the repertoire of one the genre's most talented artists. The Carnival vibe continues with Destra's Up in the Air. Then the CD shifts into high gear with Maximus Dan's big-big number-one hit Soca Train. More than worth the price of the CD, Soca Train is OFF DA HOOK! With a serious message and a phenomenal high-energy rhythm that leaves you wanting more, Maximus Dan has arrived as the latest superstar on the soca scene. Maximus Dan (originally Maga Dan) has been growing and developing as an artist over the past few years. With Soca Train, Maximus Dan moves into the league of the big boys. Look for more great things down the road from this rising superstar.
What could possibly follow Soca Train? Well there's Fay Ann Lyons' Freedom. Maybe it's in her genes, but Fay Ann just can't do a bad song. You can't help but love this one. Though every song on this compilation is a hit, one that especially deserves mention is Get On Bad by Onika Bostic of Burning Flames and the 2004 International Soca Monarch Bunji Garlin. The blending of Onika's vocal range with Bunji's mile-a-minute lyrical style makes an unforgettable combination. Let's hope these two join forces again soon.
Get yourself a copy of Soca Switch 10 today. You'll be glad you did. On a scale of 1 to 10, Soca Switch 10 is The Perfect Ten.
1. The Band Coming - Shurwayne Winchester
2. Craziness - Machel Montano
3. Up In The Air - Destra
4. Soca Train - Maximus Dan
5. Freedom - Fay Ann Lyons
6. Stages - Blazer
7. High In The Air - KMC
8. Get On Bad - Onika & Bunji Garlin
9. Carnival is Bout This - Naya George
10. Come Beta - Destra & Shurwayne Winchester
11. Turn Around - Iwer George
12. She Name Macomere - Patch
13. Wine and Bend Over - Shall Marshall
Overall Rating: 5
Soca Gold 2003 - Various Artists
Release Date: June 10, 2003
Label: VP Records
Soca Gold 2003 is a 2-disc compilation of some of today's hottest soca hits. Disc 1 contains 18 tracks including hits by Road March Champion Fay-Ann Lyons, veterans Square One and Krosfyah, as well as Bunji Garlin, Rupee and a multitude of other stars. Disc 2 is a bonus DJ mega mix of the tracks on disc 1. DJ Soca Vibes does the mix on the US version. The Canadian version features a mix by Toronto's top soca DJ Dr. Jay. Aye, Aye, Aye!!!
Favorite tracks include Display, Soca Bhangra, Wine & Bend Over, Power Drill, Doh Want to Know, and I Still Need a Man. What better way to get started than with Invazion Band featuring Fay-Ann Lyons doing Display? Tired of the same old thing? Then check out Bunji Garlin and Shammi on Soca Bhangra, a brilliantly creative and energetic musical fusion. Denise "Saucy Wow" Belfon & Ghetto Flex sizzle on Wine & Bend Over. The driving rhythm and double entendre of Burning Flames' Power Drill is sure to please and tease. KMC just keeps getting better with each passing year, as is evidenced in Doh Want to Know. Bahamian band Visage is hot on I Still Need a Man. Great production by Darron Grant and pointed but fun lyrics make this one tune I just can't get enough of.
Other tracks worth mentioning include the big tunes Tempted to Touch by Rupee and Turn it Up by Square One. If you like soca, you'll love Soca Gold 2003. VP Records has done it again! I can hardly wait till next year to see what turns up on Soca Gold 2004.
1. Display - Invazion feat. Fay-Ann Lyons
2. Soca Bhangra - Bunji Garlin & Shammi
3. 2 Nasty - Flo P.G.
4. By the Bar - 3 Suns (formerly Treason) feat Bunji, Ninja & Scarface
5. Wine & Bend Over - Denise Belfon & Ghetto Flex
6. Tempted to Touch - Rupee
7. Ah Home - Iwer George
8. Bounce - Dawg-E-Slaughter
9. Ride It - Krosfyah feat. Edwin Yearwood
10. Don Perignon - T.O.K.
11. Turn It Up - Square One
12. Power Drill - Burning Flames
13. Be Humble - Maximus Dan
14. Control - Blue Ventures feat. Sanell Dempster
15. Doh Want to Know - KMC
16. I Still Need a Man - Visage
17. Dance for Me - Ruth Collymore & Christal Austin
18. Mi Droga - Kali
Overall Rating: 5/4
Soca Gold 2002 - Various Artists
Release Date: May 21, 2002
Label: VP Records
Soca Gold 2002, the sixth album in the on going Soca Gold series, is an impressive collection of hits by newcomers and established stars from throughout the Caribbean. A 2-CD compilation, disc 1 contains 18 hot hits from the Trinidad Carnival season. Disc 2 is a 47-minute DJ mega mix of the tracks on disc 1 by DJ Rich Lamotte. The pulsating up-tempo rhythms of Soca Gold 2002 are sure to make a big Splash at any summer soca fete.
The CD gets off to a great start with Trinidad by the hot new Invasion Band featuring Naya George (2002 Road March winner). Next up is Blue Ventures featuring Sanell Dempster. In 1999, with her hit De River, Sanell Dempster became the first woman in 21 years to win the Trinidad Road March Monarch title. Since then she has continued to release excellent material, the most recent being Chances. This is one you're sure to enjoy. Blue Ventures with Sanell Dempster on lead vocals is in fine form with Chances.
Bunji Garlin turns up the heat with the blazing hot Hands Up (from his Revelation CD). The hypnotic rhythm of Hands Up combines with Bunji's booming voice to produce pure ear candy. I never get tired of listening to this one. The sound is phenomenal! Written by Ian "Bunji Garlin" Alvarez and produced by the team of Peter Coppin and Terry Arthur, Hands Up is one of the hottest tunes on Soca Gold 2002. Also performing on the same rhythm as Hands Up is Soca diva Alison Hinds along with Peter Ram on Wave Wid Me.
The man who makes you want to Jump says it's not him, just Blame It on de Music. Energetic, danceable, and just plain fun, Blame It is a sheer joy and delight. Celebrated producer Nicholas Brancker makes excellent use of his renowned skills on this one. Without a doubt, Blame It is one of the highlights of Soca Gold 2002. Blame It on de Music (the title track of Rupee's debut CD) is Rupee at his very best.
Another top-notch track is Splash (dip in de salt) by Jany. I love this song. Production by Major & Minor Productions LTD is clever and skillful. Lead and background vocals complement each other perfectly. There's tons of talent here. Jany is sure to make a big Splash on the soca scene.
Newcomer Super P is here with his top-10 hit Peeping. Super P's voice reminds me a little of Shaggy. Will Super P reach the same level of success as Shaggy? Only time will tell, but he's off to a good start.
The soothing sound of My Love by Da Bhann is a pleasant change from the high-energy jump 'n wave tunes that dominate the soca genre. The melody is memorable and the vocals are excellent. I look forward to hearing more from Da Bhann.
Also worth noting is the somewhat controversial Gimme Ah Bligh by Iwer George (2002 Soca Monarch winner). Iwer George's sometimes not-so-friendly feud with comedian Rachel Price is put to music in this track.
Ricky Jai (2002 Chutney Soca Monarch) teams up with Double D on Sting She, the closing track. My only complaint about this one is that it's too short. A mere 2:50 is just not enough. I'd enjoy a longer version of this one.
My recommendation: Get your copy of Soca Gold 2002, crank up the volume and play it Over and Over.
1. Trinidad - Invasion Band feat. Naya George
2. Chances - Blue Ventures feat. Sanell Dempster
3. Thelma - South South West
4. Wave Wid Me - Alison Hinds feat. Peter Ram
5. Peeping - Super P
6. Blame It (on de music) - Rupee
7. Hands Up - Bunji Garlin
8. Bitein Incex (we love de) - Lovey
9. Gimmie Ah Bligh - Iwer George
10. Splash (dip in de salt) - Jany
11. Over & Over - Benjai
12. My Love - Da Bhann
13. Excuses - Traffik feat. Shurwayne Winchester
14. I Doubt - Krosfyah feat. Khiomal Nurse
15. Run For The Road - Atlantik feat. Ronnie McIntosh
16. Mash It Up - Burning Flames
17. Haven't Had Enough - Surface feat. Nicole Greaves
18. Sting She - Ricky Jai & Double D
Overall Rating: 4
Soca Gold 2001 - Various Artists
Soca Gold 2001 continues the tradition of excellence we've come to expect from the popular
Soca Gold series. Opening with the chart-topping hit Jump, performed by triple Road March King Rupee, the stage is set for a non-stop soca fete. You're sure to catch the Spirit to Wave with this 2-CD compilation of Carnival season hits.
The islands of the Caribbean are well represented with selections from established superstars such as Barbados' Square One and soca legend Super Blue. Hits from popular young rising stars Tallpree and Bunji Garlin help round out Soca Gold 2001, the fifth album in the Soca Gold series.
Bunji Garlin has two tracks, Fete Is Fete and the socially conscious Licks. Bunji pulls no punches in dealing with the very serious topic of rape in Licks. Socially conscious soca, it's a concept whose time has come. Much praise goes out to writer Ian Alvarez, (aka Bunji Garlin) producers Joseph Miller and Daryl Braxton, and of course to Bunji who performs it so well. Grenada's Tallpree offers The Grave The Jail The Hospital. This bouncy and infectious tune grows on you more with each listening. Tallpree has a bright future.
Barbados is very represented well with hits from top artists including Rupee, Krosfyah, Square One, Lil Rick, and the always exciting Miss TC. Former Coalishum member TC doesn't disappoint with J'Ouvert Morning. With excellent production work, outstanding musicianship and more in-your-face lyrics from the lady best known for her hit Wrong Name, what's not to like? J'Ouvert Morning is a winner.
And speaking of winners, there's the band Surface with Chutney Ragga Soca Party. With vocals by Terry Seals and Nicole Greaves, this is a really entertaining tune. If you ever need something to lift your spirits, this is it. Traffik has two great tracks with Bounce Me (Accident) and Hickey, both performed by Sean Caruth. For variety, I would like to have seen a Shurwayne Winchester tune also. But Traffik has so many outstanding numbers that it's difficult to choose only two. VP Records made two good choices. Another good choice is Antigua's Burning Flames with Mud Dung. Burning Flames has a sound that you either love or hate. Mud Dung is one of those songs that you've just got to love.
One of the best tracks on the CD is the Inferno Band's zouk version of It Wasn't Me. Shaggy may have gone to number one with it, but his version has nothing on the Inferno Band's rendition of It Wasn't Me. The Inferno Band is HOT LIKE FIRE!
Soca Gold 2001 also includes a bonus CD containing a special 40-minute DJ mix of all the tracks by GB Productions. With Soca Gold 2001, every morning is J'Ouvert Morning.
1. Jump - Rupee 9. Stick On - Square One
2. Fete Is Fete - Bunji Garlin 10. Spirit To Wave - Super Blue
3. Bounce Me (Accident) - Traffik 11. Chutney Ragga Soca Party - Surface
4. Forkin - Krosfyah 12. Same Ole Something - Blue Ventures
5. The Grave The Jail The Hospital - Tallpree 13. It Wasn't Me (Zouk Version) - Inferno Band
6. Hickey - Traffik 14. J'Ouvert Morning - Miss TC
7. Follow The Leader - Nigell & Marvin Lewis 15. Mud Dung - Burning Flames
8. Licks - Bunji Garlin 16. Work Wid It - Lil Rick
Overall Rating: 5
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4: Very Good