Hot 'n' Spice-y at The Ranch
by Carol Martindale
Sugar and Spice and all that’s nice.
That’s how it was last Friday night when Spice & Company graced the stage at The Ranch Crop Over Village on Spring Garden Highway for its official opening.
A dash of Spice was the savoury ingredient added to the Crop Over pot and when blended, it proved palatable to the hundreds who gathered on The Ranch.
The crowd waited patiently, enjoying a pole-dancing competition and the soca tracks the deejays were churning.
Then it happened at 12:36 a.m. Some familiar faces of the group Spice & Company, among them Alan Sheppard on lead vocals, Dean Straker and Roger Foster, with their equally talented friends including James Lovell and back-up singers Tamara Marshall, Jan Gibson and Mahalia Phillips, sauntered on to the stage to the boomimg strains of Are You Ready To Party?
The loud applause was their signal to get the party started.
Those who packed the venue made some noise, they lifted their legs, and some even did the “mambo jambo” to the songs.
Ranch-goers were singing along to hit after hit, song after song, while dancing their feet off.
The group’s latest song just released for Crop Over - Dem Ban We - was also on the lips of many and unlike the line in the song, the crowd “didn’t want them to go home”.
Band member Dean Straker said it was after 18 years that the group decided to release a Crop Over number.
In a performance that lasted an hour and 24 minutes, Spice did not disappoint even after those years off the festival scene.
The songs were as fresh and crisp as they were decades ago when they were new on the music scene.
They were not forgotten Friday night. A musically satisfying repertoire included Lift Ya Leg Up, De Mambo Jambo, Guns, Take Your Clothes Off, On My Mind, Aware Africa, Give them Freedom and Make Noise.
The crowd, infused by the music and excited about hearing what was coming next, was only too happy to hear a favourite – In De Congaline.
And with that, a human congaline was formed and snaked through The Ranch. Broken, then mended again and again, the congaline continued until the song concluded.
Still the fans wanted more, and when the group got to the end of its set, the chant “more, more” was raised and the band obliged, ending its performance with Dem Ban We, which by this time didn’t seem like a new release at all, given the voices singing along.