10 Ft. Ganja Plan | 10 Deadly Shot Vol. 2
album review by John Powell
The enigmatic 10 Ft. Ganja Plant is also incredibly prolific, and on 4/20 released the second album in a series that highlights the different instruments often associated with reggae music. They remain as rootsy as ever on 10 Deadly Shots Vol. 2. The first volume showcased saxophone, searing through the tracks, simple, catchy, and short roots tunes with heavy bass, one drops, and of course plenty of soloing sax. Volume 2 highlights keys. Plenty of organ and rhodes dominates these, well, 10 songs, none of them longer than three and a half minutes except “The Invincible Butcher”, which cools the jets, simmers, and sounds like a baseball organ on vacation in the islands.
Who are 10 Ft. Ganja Plant? An eclectic mix of members of former and continual members of John Brown’s Body, members of Slightly Stoopid, etc.- namely, heroes of the modern reggae revolution, but while its components have really taken to modernizing reggae sounds, (such as Kevin Kinsella, who blends in folk or Slightly Stoopid that does whatever the hell they want), 10 Ft. is pure, pure roots, harkening back to the days when electric instruments were first testing the African rhythm waters.
On top of all this mystery, this album has track names like “Fist Of Yuen Kay San” and “Rooftop Duel”, each a reference to what appears to be a kung-fu legend. There aren’t any vocals to tie them together, but it’s interesting to place these songs in as the soundtrack to some 70s kung-fu epic.
“Rooftop Duel” is the opener, very 10 Ft. in nature. The reggae bass flowing and upbeat, layered guitars, and of course the keys on top of everything, riffing off of a simple but unbelievable pleasant little run. Throughout the album there aren’t any breakdowns, and I certainly wouldn’t say the group goes dub anywhere- not as they have on past albums. Instead, they let the riffing play out as long as it remains interesting, and then it fades out.
“The Challenge” follows in the same vein, a little mellower, and “Asking Hand” after that, which is a bit more baseball, as mentioned: tight notation with the classic organ buzz. “Invincible Butcher” belongs in the hall of fame of strut-to songs.
The ultimate track is “One Inch Punch”, with a funk groove unmatched, the bass totally happy and the drums super tight. The guitar runs a line underneath the keys, which slow down and chat it up for a while. It’s the first song you should listen to on the first nice day of summer.
At this point in their career, 10 Ft. Ganja Plant really can’t do wrong. Every song sounds off-the-cuff, sounds easy to make but hard to make sound so simple. Each song flows. Each song is delicious. It is, however, much more for rabid reggae fans. Anyone drawn to the Top 40 pop train will likely get bored with the lack of lyrics and no catchy choruses or hooks.
But if you’re old school and you haven’t met 10 Ft. Ganja Plant, try on 10 Deadly Shots Vol. 2 and discover what you’ve been missing.
Bottom line: Roots reggae all-star team celebrates the keys with 10 instrumental jams.