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Pride's reggae lacks creativity

Father's work proves to be album's only reprieve

Charlton Pride kicked his 10 year cocaine addiction with the aid of a recurring dream during which he led a reggae band. The son of legendary country singer Charlie Pride, formed Charlton Pride & Zion Reggae Music in 1995.

Making a name for itself by opening up for many bigger bands at festivals and clubs, the band had the opportunity to record its debut album in 1998. With the release of What You Need, Charlton Pride, then 37, headed south from Dallas to the San Marcos riverbed to start up a reggae band. The circulating rumor of Pride's interest in starting a reggae band brought out many local musicians, with Pride eventually forming his group and making his dream come true - literally.

After playing some gigs around the Southwest Texas State University campus, Charlton Pride & Zion Reggae Music found itself playing at the Bob Marley Festival. From that point on, the band has been playing small clubs and is a regular on the various festival circuits and college campuses.

What You Need speaks of the common man being overlooked by the government, economics and love for one another. Pride gives an already limited genre nothing new for the audience. Throughout the album, beats repeat to the point of annoyance, while Pride tries his hardest to sing as if he were Bob Marley.

However, Zion Reggae Music's debut album is not all bad. Charley Pride has a guest appearance on track two, "Kiss an Angel." Charley Pride's deep, resonating voice is a relief from his son's forced vocals on the rest of the album. The song has the feel of a country song, speaking of friendship and happiness, while the reggae beats flutter throughout the track. Charley Pride's twangy vocals give relief to the redundancy of the reggae beats and bring a smile to the listener. The remix of "Kiss an Angel" hidden at the end of the album also is a gem, with Charley Pride singing along with some reggae dance hall. The track almost makes up for what the album is missing - originality.

The album What You Need falls short of an easy listen.

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The repetitiveness of the beats and emotionless voice of Charlton Pride suck the life out of the album. There is much better reggae out there floating around that is worth the bucks.

If you still have an interest in Charlton Pride & Zion Reggae music, they will be coming to town on Friday at the El Rey Theater, 620 Central Ave. SW.

For more information, call 764-2624.


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