Review - Zion High

Artist: Ranking Joe


"So we started work on the album. We go a King Tubby's, and me tek off me shirt and do the album in two hours -- straight cut, bam-bam -- it was like playing a sound system." That's how Ranking Joe, dancehall legend, describes the making of his 1980 landmark album, "Round the World" (reissued and retitled "Zion High"). And despite the sonic upgrade Blood & Fire has given it, "Zion High" still sounds like the high-as-hell roughneck studio party it was. With Dennis Brown, Black Uhuru and Sly & Robbie all onboard, this was one of the last albums of the "classic" dancehall era, all impromptu verbal tics and dubbed-out production, devoid of the driving machismo that later came to define the genre.