Tony Roots Tired A Di War Review

Tony Roots – Tired A Di War – Review

Tony Roots and Russ Disciple: Tired A Di War Vinyl Release Review by Mr Topple for

Pauzeradio is proud to have added to its vinyl shop another, new 7” vinyl release – and with this one the quality is undisputable.

Tired A Di War, released via Ras-Guerrilla Music, sees veteran Jamaican/UK artist Tony Roots join forces with producer Russ Disciple across this classy release. Featuring the original plus a Dub version, it shows the quality of Ras-Guerrilla’s selections when it comes to artists and producers. Moreover, it also showcases the talents of Roots and Disciple perfectly.

The track is ostensibly Roots, however, there are other influences at play, too. The ominous, kette drum opening quickly gives way to some pacey, forward-moving Roots. Here, we have some traditional musical devices in play. Drums do a one drop, where the kick hits the two and four with the snare, while hi-hats fill in the spaces in between. Keys run a choppy bubble rhythm with an accent on the four via some pleasing riffs. Meanwhile, the very deep, rich, and resonant bass runs a drop-beat rhythm across a melodic line – which skips the fourth beat directly but comes in on the half after it. This helps build momentum and plays into the drums’ one drop. An electric organ plays off against the keys at times – striking vibrato’d chords across a skank, usually reserved for a guitar.

However, all this is threaded together by some distinctly soulful-meets-jazzy overtones. For example, the horn section has been brilliantly arranged. It veers between running a rhythmic accompanying melody – and breaking out into distinctly funky passages, complete with bridged and blue notes, and some nice staccato play juxtaposed with glissandos. All this is laced with call and responses to Roots’ main vocal, which then are dropped for straight harmonic accompaniment. There’s also a jazzy flute that comes in at points, running fluttering riffs, at times in unison with the horns. Plus, kette and bongos (or possibly djembe) patter relentlessly in the background.

The engineering is also interesting. The mix has been arranged to place the bass and drums directly to the fore – while the keys, usually part of the dominant rhythm section, are relegated to a distant background role. This makes the track feel more Dub than Roots – despite what the musical arrangement tells you. That vibe is then compounded by a stripped-back bridge, where the keys and their bubble rhythm fall away via some pleasing reverb, and the rest of the instrumentation strips itself back.

Overall, Tired A Di War’s musical backdrop makes for interesting listening. Then, Roots’s vocal and lyrics on top finish the entire package off perfectly.

All things considered, Roots has not lost any of his power as a vocalist across the years. Here, his performance is forthright yet measured. He sings with a generally forte approach, but not to the point where it feels too hard. His rhythmic arrangement matches the music perfectly – applying staccato notes where the instrumentation needs it, before winding these back to legato similarly. Roots has painted a vivid melodic picture as well. Crafting an infectious, memorable chorus, he has then given himself space to break free on the verses – concocting freer rhythmic and melodic runs and riffs, with a solid mixture of singjay and vocal elements. He also works around his tenor range well – dipping high, then low, then back again – and the rolling of the ‘r’s’ on ‘rub-a-dub’ is delicious. Lyrically, Roots has delivered a veritable sermon on how all decent people are caught up in Babylon’s eternal war – which has infected many of us, too. As he says, “mankind is in a bad situation, the human race becomes a marketplace” – calling for “divine intervention”; that is, faith delivering us from Babylon’s evil agenda.

The B Side of Tired A Di War provides Dub-Out Di War – which is thrown by its almost Dancehall clave opening, before it settles into some evocative Dub – which hones in on the classy horn lines, removing the keys altogether at points.

Overall, Tired A Di War is a quality release from Roots, Disciple and Ras-Guerrilla. The musical arrangement is strong, the finished product clean, Roots delivers an on-point vocal and some compelling lyrics – and this would make an excellent addition to anyone’s collection.

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Tony Roots Tired A Di War Review by Mr Topple / Pauzeradio PR Services (28th March 2023).

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