Review Summary: Stephen rerelased his debut album in a great acoustic album including a few guests.
Stephen Marley started his career with his brother and sisters in the reggae band Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers. He then became a well recognized producer, mainly for his work with his brothers Damian Jr Gong and Julian Marley. Yes that's a lot of Marley, eleven brothers and sisters and at least five of them writing and performing music actively. Stephen's debut album Mind Control came out in 2007, winning a Grammy in 2008 for Best Reggae Album. In 2009, he released an acoustic version of Mind Control as a second LP.
One thing that is for sure is that Stephen knows how to get the right guests for his songs. Whether it is his brother Damian who appears twice on the album, Julian Marley, Spragga Benz, Mos Def or Capleton, they all play an important job on the songs. The acoustic versions of the songs get a lot of energy from those collaborations. Stephen being a great producer, rest assured that each instruments are perfectly recorded. Instruments including guitar percussion and bass are the main weapons of this album, backed by flutes, harmonica and pedal steel. The acoustic sound brings us closer to Stephen, like an intimate version of his previous release.
While Stephen writes about his love experiences Iron Bars and Chase Dem remind us of his father's rebellious lyrics. The collaborations emphasize those lyrics and gives a great energy to the songs.
“I'm a prisoner locked up for what
Freedom of Speech ain't that all we've got
Wounded pride my head held up high
Rebels for life, we rebel for the right” Iron Bars (Julian Marley singing)
Stephen has proven that he is a key player in the Marley music family, whether he is producing his brother, singing with them or solo. This is one of his most intimate records bringing us closer to his message. Most of the album is enjoyable, although there are a few highlights none could be called fillers.