Album Review: If You Want Loyalty Buy a Dog by Little Axe
Very Good, Based on 2 Critics
AllMusic - 80 Based on rating 8/10
Guitarist and singer Skip McDonald has long been an anomaly in the On-U Sound stable, and that's saying something, given that On-U Sound has been the musical home to such magnificent oddities as African Head Charge, New Age Steppers, and Little Annie. What sets McDonald's work apart is the fact that it's equally deeply rooted in dubwise reggae as it is in Delta blues. If You Want Loyalty Buy a Dog finds him distilling his sound: assisted by legendary reggae studio bands Dub Syndicate and Roots Radics (whose backing tracks are a mish-mash of previously recorded material, reworked and rearranged for the album), McDonald moans and croons bluesy lyrics and plays aching slide guitar; the sound is dark and rich but strangely spare, with little of the dubbed-up craziness that usually characterizes the production style of On-U Sound producer Adrian Sherwood.
Skip McDonald is a singer and guitarist with a mission. Born in Ohio, and once a member of the Sugarhill house band, he played on early rap albums for the likes of Grandmaster Flash, but then moved on to create a style of his own, updating and transforming the classic blues songs he first heard as a child. As Little Axe, he works with the British producer Adrian Sherwood, best known for his dub recordings for On-U Sound, and their latest collaboration is a light, rhythmic and live-sounding fusion of blues, reggae and dub, driven on by the commanding percussion work of Lincoln "Style" Scott, famed in Jamaica for his work with Dub Syndicate.