Ronnie Davis & Idren
Review by David Bowling
Omnivore is one of the leading reissue labels in the world. They have recently turned their attention in a reggae direction. They are currently re-issuing a number of reggae releases from the Nighthawk label.
Ronnie Davis (1950-2017) was born in Jamaica and was a member of several groups including The Tennors and Itals. He embarked on a solo career and by 1995 was fronting Idren. His classic 1987 album Come Straight has now been re-released with two previously unissued bonus tracks.
Idren consisted of Lloyd Ricketts, Robert Doctor, and Roy Smith who provided the harmony and backing to Davis’ lead vocal. They used a basic band to provide the instrumental backing.
They produced a gentle sound that was driven by Davis’ light vocals and the tight harmonies of the supporting trio. They tended to be less controversial and edgy that many of their contemporaries but at times could be powerful.
All the songs are self-penned and in many ways brings their philosophy of life to music. “Repent” is a song of redemption, both personal and corporate, while “Two Roads” explores eternal choices. Through it all runs theological musings and thoughts.
The music has been re-engineered from the original master tapes to create a dynamic sound, which puts the voices up front and picks up the nuances of the harmonies. The new liner notes are by Nighthawk co-founder Leroy Jodie Pierson.
Come Straight is a subtle yet enduring album. It provides an excellent entrance into the world of late 20th century reggae music. It is a world worth exploring.