Tuff Lion – “Ten Strings” – [I Grade Records]
Tuff Lion is a reggae guitarist of supreme order who has played on numerous albums with numerous groups. His album “Ten Strings” is a full instrumental album with guitar as the lead, taking the place of vocals. A solid reggae rhythm section starts off and carries through all the tracks while Tuff Lion plays both electric and acoustic guitar. At first I thought it sounded like jazz guitar similar to George Benson. There is a strong jazz guitar influence in the playing, that is for sure. Very smooth and laid back. And that describes the whole album. Very smooth and laid back. Really clean. Easy listening. It’s sort of odd for my untrained ear to hear this music with the complicated guitar lines flowing through the sound. Youtube has an interesting post of Tuff Lion explaining how to play reggae guitar with its stops and starts, downstroke power, rhythm guidance. That I was familiar with. Yet this album is so different. It feels like music you would hear at a spa, lying back waiting your turn for the masseuse. The beginning tracks are the strongest and will make for a nice change of pace in a set or for a bed. Great for a music bed. Stay away from the last five tracks, otherwise enjoy.