Album : Easy Star All Stars : Thrillah

Rather as it is with deceased icons Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson will probably remain a hot topic for as far as the eye can see – whether everyone loved his music or not. The beat churners known as the Easy Star All Stars throw their collective beanie in the post-Jackson release ring with Thrillah. It’s the latest in Easy Star’s transformation series, which got its feet wet with Dub Side of the Moon.

You could tweak, twist, and make goofy faces at most of Jackson’s output without a murmur of dispute from me. But this isn’t the sort of transformation we could expect from the Bran Flakes or Residents – as tends to be the Easy Star case, it’s about musicians playing with the material on a reggae/ska/dub island. There’s some great stuff here – so much so that, for me, it doesn’t matter how it originated. “Baby Be Mine,” for instance, is  a chillin’ slice of sexy dance fodder. The “Girl Is Mine” melody gets the kid-glove (ummm… whoops) treatment; resulting in a treat that could pass for one by the Heptones or Mighty Diamonds. And “Billie Jean” is stretched into a dub-spiked opus.

Producer/arranger/guitarist Michael Goldwasser and his crew are dropping Thrillah this week. Check it out at the Easy Star site.

Post by Mary Leary

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