Since I am from Sweden it has always made me extra happy whenever i hear good Swedish Reggae. In recent years there has been plenty of good artists and releases but i remember when there was hardly any artists or releases and far between any concerts. Natural Way is among the first, truly Swedish Roots bands there is. They formed 1982 in Uppsala and did sadly split in 2003, after only 2 releases. This is their first album and a classic among Swedish fans. The title, 1924 refers to the year Haile Selassie I visited Sweden and a photo from that visit can be seen on the cover which obviously is not that good looking (couldn't they have found an photo where it doesn't look like H.I.M is hunchbacked?). But as they always say, don't judge a book by it's cover because this is a very competent album. Fans of "Israel Vibrations" will absolutely love this group as their style (and the singers voice) strongly reminds me of them. It's not a copycat album though, far from it!
First up after the intro (which is a lil drum solo, not that awful but hardly an impressive Nyabinghi showcase either) is "God blessed music nah stop". This is not a lighthearted "lets smoke a spliff, listen to reggae and be irie" nonsense track that you might expect but deals more whit musics positive and uplifting qualities and Reggaes spiritual qualities. This is a very solid track whit top notch backing, singing and lyrical content, if "Natural Way" haven't won you over by the time this song ends you might wanna reconsider if you really are the Roots reggae fan you think you are. A couple of great tracks later we come to song 5, "10000 Volts" which is one of my favourites on here and i think I've spent about a week humming "why should the children in a Lebanon die" to myself and will probably hum it for a few weeks more. It's about the poor and unfortunate of the world and how much pressure they can handle. It has a melancholic vibe to it while still being kinda energetic, VERY GOOD!!!
Let's not forget about the next tune, "Remember" who at first seem as an man-woman love song but i really don't think he's singing about that sorta love but more about love to god and RastafarI prophets that we shall always "Remember", this song features an early (at least when we talk recorded material) appearance from Swedens top veteran Toaster, "Governor Andy" who has been very active in recent years. As whit every song on here it's a great one but (even though the message is a worthwhile one) the lyrics may not be as sharp as elsewhere on this album. Other good songs is "Coke locks" about drug dealers and the standout "Barber dread" an personal observation on how it is being a Rasta without dreads and how short hair does not necessarily mean you're a "baldhead". I can very much relate to this as I've struggled whit having dreads but always failed.
Well, I can't praise this album enough as it is everything I could ever ask for as far as Roots Reggae goes, you can tell that "Natural Way" stand firm whit their feet's in the 70'ies sound but that they have not got stuck there and tried to imitate, they have modern feel whit contemporary influences and some jazzy instrumentals to go. As far as lyrics go I would say that this album is very much "on point", they have taken classical "RastafarI" themes and made them their own, this is no cliched wannabe Rasta lyrics. Unf. "Natural Way" only released one more album before they broke up, 2 albums over the span of 20 years is not much but what they do not deliver quantity wise they make up for in quality. It will be hard to find any of their albums wheter you're in Sweden or not so thanks god for Internet and mp3'z, in cases like these i wholeheartedly recommend illegal downloading.