Reviews
[Reggae - The Rough Guide - The Definitive Guide To Jamaican Music, From Ska Through Roots To Ragga]
Lone Ranger - M16 (J&L, US) LP
Essential to any decent reggae collection
This is Lone Rnager at the height of his powers, and "ribbiting" and "bimming" all over the Niney-produced rhtyhms that heralded Channel One's renaissance in the early 1980s. The title track was responsible for reviving the popular "Scandal"/"Secretly" rhythm, and cuts of classics like "Shak I Shek", "I Hold The Handle" and "Cuss Cuss" explain why deejays in general - and this one in particular - were carrying the swing (as they said then).
(Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton)

[reggae-reviews] Lone Ranger stands out from other pioneer DJs due to his voice, style, and rhythm.  I'm not a big fan of early DJs toasting styles - the prototype being U-Roy's rambling, disjointed, incomprehensible near-talking - and that's partly why I do appreciate Lone Ranger so much.  He is the prototype for the modern DJ, chatting more rhythmically (on the beat!), clearly and imaginatively.  Many of the rhythms on "M-16" are classic ones that you've heard before, but they're not so familiar as to sound tired.   The beats here are like old school rap - simple (using little more than a bass, piano, and drums, as exemplified on "Natty Burial"), heavy, and funky.  The key word that keeps popping up when you try to describe this album is "rhythm"; both the music and Lone Ranger's vocal flow is all about rhythm (again, at the heart of great hip-hop also).  The best track on "M-16", "Rise & Meet Jah", finds both man and music at their peak, at their most rhythmic.  The driving bass and piano riff of "Wicked a Go Run" are also top-notch.  Also nice - and more popular - are "Fist to Fist", "Natty Burial", and the title track.

[niceup] I have to admit to a certain prejudice here, because I think that Lone Ranger is the most entertaining DJ who ever lived. Not only that, but Ranger is one of a very tiny group of DJs who made albums that were as good as his singles and/or stage presence. He may not have been as innovative as, say, U Roy or Big Youth, but his presentation was electrifying, his lyrics carefully crafted or stolen to match the music just perfectly and he had the good sense to work with producers who recorded him over state of the art riddims. "M-16" only has nine songs but every one is a dynamite Channel One/Niney riddim with Ranger's endlessly inventive lyrics riding the top. The title track is a stone classic, but so are "Fist to Fist," "Burial," "Skank Steady" and most of the other tracks as well.

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