's 1983 first album, a smash hit featuring an all-local band the Natty Rebels, had all the accessibility and directness that made him an international star. Two cuts are agreeable reggae in English; the rest is Afro-reggae and a lot more interesting for that. In some ways Blondy
's music is typical of the Ivory Coast: light, accomplished, and geared to a regional rather than local audience. Though the notes don't tell you so, Cocody Rock
is a re-release of Blondy
's 1984 second album, recorded in Paris and Kingston with a mix of African and Jamaican musicians (plus Kassav
's Jocelyne Beroard
on backup vocals). Pre-superstar Blondy
, it has the freshness you'd expect from somebody pretty much just starting out. He sure believes in touching all the bases. Besides its so-so title song, Cocody Rock
has something for both Muslims and Christians as well as a hilarious cut claiming Ivory Coast's ultra-conservative president as a Rasta.