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Friday, February 03, 2006

Matisyahu enjoy chart success ...

By Geoff Mayfield

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - If you can remember a brilliant multi-act parody EP called "Kosher Club" from 1984 or the 1990 sendup of 2 Live Crew that was 2 Live Jews, you might have thought chatter heard late last year about a young Hasidic reggae singer was the punchline to a joke.

Yet here in the early going of 2006, Matisyahu joins English pop sensation James Blunt as illustrations of the chart traction newer acts often enjoy in the early weeks of a new year.

Blunt, whose debut album was the biggest seller in the U.K. last year, reached the top 10 for the first time in the week ended January 22 as "Back to Bedlam" rose four places to No. 9 in its 16th week on the Billboard 200.

Blunt's climb to the top 10 is the slowest by any male artist since Sean Paul's "Dutty Rock," which in its 19th chart week rose three places to No. 9 in March 2003.

Although fewer U.K. acts have charted this decade than we are accustomed to seeing, the presence of a Brit in the top 10 is certainly more common than that of a Hasid reaching the big chart's top 40.

Matisyahu makes that happen in his 11th week on the big chart, as a January 16 stop on "Late Show With David Letterman" helped propel "Live at Stubb's" up 11 places to No. 33. "Stubb's" has held No. 1 on Top Reggae Albums for each of the past five.

The progress shown by Matisyahu and Blunt recalls the change of tide that we see at the start of every year. The flow of big names that splashed on store shelves in the last four months of the prior year subsides; developing artists find chart hikes less daunting in the soft sales weeks of January.

(taken from reuters.com)


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