Jah funk

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Let me confess up front that I’m not exactly the local expert when it comes to reggae music, but I do know great music when I hear it. I don’t care what category a band is placed under; it’s readily apparent if they know what they’re doing or not.

But man, these guys are outstanding. It’s no small wonder that Detroit’s own Immunity has won 11 Detroit Music Awards. All that needs to happen now is for them to get the considerably greater recognition they deserve and that they have been working so consistently to achieve. As they write on the inside cover of this, their second live CD, “We have traveled through blizzards, rainstorms, scorching heat and absolutely fantastic weather to fairs and festivals around the Midwest.”

Any day now, fellas …

It’s hard to know where to begin to describe what’s best about this crew, all of whom play at least two instruments on this release. The vocals are excellent — sharp, full of passion and a perfect blend with the music. The hard-driving rhythms are definitely reggae, but they also are distinctly updated and modern. The use of the guitar, both rhythmically and during the solos is probably the best evidence of a slight funk/rock infusion into the mix, but not so much as to betray the authentic reggae feel.

The only criticism is that I wish there were more original tunes by the band. However, when you hear what Immunity does with Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” … Yeah, well, even that might not matter quite so much. Remember what Jimi did with “All Along the Watchtower”?

Keith A. Owens is a Detroit-based freelance writer and musician. E-mail him at letters@metrotimes.com.

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