When I was asked to review “Cliff Marley Tosh” the latest album by Robert “Dubwise” Browne, I thought this would be difficult as it’s an instrumental album of covers of well-known songs by Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, and Peter Tosh. Dubwise is an acclaimed musician, from a talented musical family, and he has been backing artists like Shaggy and Jimmy Cliff for many years. I imagined “Cliff Marley Tosh” to be an album that would be predominantly background music. Was I in for a surprise!
The album opens with a pretty traditional reggae version of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”, with background vocals from Chris Smith and Sherieta Lewis and some beautiful rippling guitar riffs.
Following that is a change of pace with “Coming In Hot”, the Peter Tosh classic. Dubwise’s version of this classic song has a rock influence to it. With subtle background singing from Dubwise himself, I feel I can hear the words to the song coming through the guitar.
“Real Situation”, another Bob Marley song, has the traditional reggae beat but with a smooth jazz influence.
Once again the mood changes with a Jimmy Cliff song “Rebel In Me”. The heavy blues guitar and the sexy melodious voice of Wayne Armond (singer, songwriter, and founder of the group Chalice) makes this one of my favorite tracks on the album.
“Turn Your Lights Down Low”, the Bob Marley classic, retains the “baby-making” atmosphere of the original song with Dubwise on background vocals, and once again the guitar seems to sing out to you.
The Jimmy Cliff song “We All Are One”, with its funk rhythm and background vocals by Chris Smith, will have you up and dancing. It’s hard to stay still listening to this track.
“Johnny B Goode”, originally by Chuck Berry and given a reggae flavor by Peter Tosh, is the next track. Edgy vocals from artist Errol Bonnick with background vocals from Sherieta Lewis compliment the updated version of this iconic song.
Following on, the next classic song chosen by Dubwise is “Why Must I Cry” also a Peter Tosh classic, another favorite of mine. This also is one of the tracks where the guitar seems to be singing the song. You can almost hear the words.
“Journey”, one more Jimmy Cliff song, is the final song on the album and a great way to finish. A jazz-inspired reggae version of this classic summarizes the mellow, inspiring album from Robert “Dubwise” Browne and leaves you wanting more.
I can’t wait for his next album.
Previously published in Island Stage Magazine