Albums: Ernest Ranglin

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The Independent Culture

Though at first perhaps too close to "smooth jazz" for comfort, this easy-skanking release by the Jamaican guitarist (the "inventor" of ska's rhythmic downstroke and the man behind Millie's "My Boy Lollipop", as well as early singles by Prince Buster and Bob Marley), turns out to be mellow, tuneful, and almost entirely delightful. Nothing sounds forced, and Ranglin's trademark skittering, percussive, runs are countered by solid reggae grooves from the rhythm section. Gary Mayone's tinkling piano and Antonio Hart's sinuous sax solos wake up what could otherwise be a rather somnambulistic affair.