COUNTRY LIFE features vocal tracks, as well as dub versions of the songs by Mad Professor.
Personnel includes: Sandra Cross (vocals); Black Steel (guitar, piano, bass,
background vocals); Jeffrey Beckford (guitar); Victor Cross, Cleveland Neunie (piano, synthesizer); Preacher, Bernard Cumberbatch (bass, percussion); Drumtan Ward, Billy Cross (drums).
Recorded at Ariwa Studios, London, England.
There was a time, back in the late '80s and early '90s, when it seemed as if every female reggae singer worth hearing in Britain was securely locked up in Mad Professor's Ariwa studio, churning out smooth lover's rock over his trademark digitally clean reggae grooves. Sandra Cross was perhaps the best of that lot, a sweet-toned crooner whose silky voice was a perfect match for Mad Professor's modern roots sound. Her version of Country Life's title track, a song originally recorded by the American soul group the Stylistics, followed in the footsteps of a similar version by the Mighty Diamonds, but hers is more cool and laid-back. Even better is her performance on "You're Lying," a deceptively lighthearted admonition to a faithless lover, and "We Miss You" is almost as good. The CD includes ten dub mixes (yes, that's one more than there are songs on the original album -- Mad Professor seems to have thrown in an extra dub track for some reason), and all of the dubs are perfectly tasteful, subdued complements to Cross' vocal versions. Highly recommended. ~ Rick Anderson