One of my favorite new roots album of the decade is Akila Barrett’s ‘Changing People,’ which he recorded with The Wailers Band in 2003-2004. The album is stock full of great riddims, conscious lyrics, and good vibes. What else would you expect from the son of perhaps the greatest reggae musician who ever lived – the late, great Carlton Barrett of Bob Marley and the Wailers.
Although the entire album is strong, the 5 dubs at the end are what this album is all about for me. The mixes by Steven Stanley, Gary Sutherland, Rohan Dwyer, and Shane Brown are really something to listen to. Unreal production on this album.
I showcase the 5 dub tracks on Mixcloud.
This review by Tim Orr of One Drop Magazine describes this album perfectly:
“Errol “Akila” Barrett is the son of late Wailers drummer Carlton Barrett and nephew of Wailers bassist “Familyman” Barrett. With those kind of genes, you’d expect him to make a good reggae album, and he does not disappoint. Changing People is ten songs and five dubs of blazing Rasta roots, dampened slightly by themes that are less than original (“Love Reggae Music,” “Babylon is Burning”) although the musical feel is consistently powerful and the younger Barrett’s singing and producing skills are evident. The claim “featuring the Wailers band” isn’t entirely forthright. Whereas some past and present Wailers (Familyman, Chinna Smith, Junior Marvin) do pitch in here and there, you could hardly call this a Wailers album. But there’s little to complain about; the instruments are all real rather than programmed, the riddims are solid (particularly evident in the dubs) and Barrett has a commanding, convincing voice. Plus, the funky feel of “In Control,” with its Santana-like guitar, is a gutsy departure from the reggae beat that keeps the pace as far as consciousness goes. This is a strong debut album from an artist with a good deal to offer and a true reggae spirit coursing through his veins.”
It’s a nice album. I like it so much. A shame Akila is missing from the scene.