We would have preferred to have been able to present you our view on this sixth volume in the annual 'Songs For Reggae Lovers' series running up to Valentine's day, but unfortunately we could only get our hands on the double compilation album now. However, true love has no expiration date, so this collection should still serve its purpose. Unlike the previous edition, the first disc doesn't feature new releases and the second a series of classics, but what binds the tracks on 'Songs For Reggae Lovers 6', is the fact this time all tracks selected are duets, each time with a male and female vocalist (as the cover image kind of illustrates).
The track list counts as many as 30 tracks, so we're spoilt for choice. The first song that caught our attention was 'The Closer I Get To You', sung here by Richie Stephens & Diana King, but originally a soul hit for Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway. In the same vein is 'Show And Tell', in the featured lovers rock version performed by Lloyd Brown & Fiona, but originally a huge soul hit for Al Wilson. The fact tackling an old soul smash doesn't always end well is proven by Pam Hall & Frankie Paul, who really didn't do Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes' 'You Know How To Make Me Feel So Good' any favors. It's also best not to try and spruce up an already established lovers rock classic: the revamp of 'My Number One' by Gregory Isaacs & Marcia Griffiths can still barely hold its ground, but what Dawn Penn and Bounty Killer did with 'You Don't Love Me (No, No, No)', here 'No, No, No (World A Respect)', is a true disgrace.
Enough negativity, back to the better work on this compilation... With their version of Dennis Brown's 'Love Has Found Its Way', Jamelody and Ikaya do the disco-reggae of the original more than justice. If you prefer a soft erotic touch, there's 'Slowly' by Ghost and Fiona, and for the r&b lovers there's 'Still In Love', a poppy duet by Alaine & Christopher Martin. We honestly didn't immediately expect Sizzla to deliver a decent love tune, and 'What Am I To Do Baby', his duet with Conradine Campbell, unfortunately didn't prove us wrong. The same goes for 'Unconditional Love' by Jah Cure, who, for the occasion, is flanked by a certain Phyllisia.
It's Bushman who signs for the biggest surprise on this compilation, as together with Nikki Burt, he proves himself a true soul crooner with 'Lonely'. Certainly not your typical love tune, but a very good track none the less, is 'Trueversation'; Damian Marley longside Queen Ifrica from his Grammy-winning album 'Stony Hill'. Did not really impress us much: Lady Saw & Barrinton Levy with 'Cool And Loving' and Wayne Wonder & Trina whose heavily pop and r&b influenced 'For My Love' proves the absolute low point on this compilation. But we'll end on a high note with Benji Myaz and Yeshemabeth's 'Gimmi Gimmi Your Love', a song yours truly also assumed to be a soul or r&b hit, something which proved erroneous, so respect due! Amateurs of reggae love tunes, we can guarantee 'Songs For Reggae Lovers 6' once again provides more than enough value for money!