Review: Essential cover version in a reggae style of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'' originally by Nivarna coupled with a sulty late night rendidtion of Kool & The Gangs classic 'Summer Madness' . So , so good !
Review: Emotional Rescue return to the work of Noel Williams as King Sporty. The Miami-based Jamaican made some seminal, stunning music that presaged the increasing importance of synthesisers in disco and dance music overall. This time the label have decided to give a regal airing to a cut previously only available squeezed onto the Deep Reggae Roots LP. "Safari" is a heady brew that keeps a necessary skank in the groove while channeling the nagging funk of The Meters and heading somewhere exotic. At just under four minutes, it's the kind of jam that warrants an extended treatment, and who better to do a respectful job than Lexx, who more than doubles the run time of the track on the B side.
Review: Once again Night Owls have cooked up a soul-stirring 45 with classic grooves and reggae rhythms from some of LA's finest. Dan Ubick of The Lions, Connie Price and the Keystones is on the guitar, Blake Colie plays drums, The Lions man Dave Wilder slaps the bass and Roger Rivas of The Aggrolites plays organ and piano. "Gossip" is a swaggering tune with sunny percussion and organic riffs that whip up all the right feelings. "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" is another happy, bubbly tune with fine vocal acrobatics and a rhythm section that you never want to stop playing.
Review: Pressed in Japan exclusively for Juno from The Park Rangers formally known as Inokasira Rangers. New issue of two killer skanking funky reggae instrumental versions of two crossover classics with a skanking organ led instrumental version of Pharrell Williams ''Happy'' on A side & on the flip a jangly guitar and reggaefied cover version of ''Kiss'' by Prince .Infectious and quite simply.... Essential
Peter Huntingdale - "Rocking You Eternally" (3:40)
Christine Lewin - "Juicy Fruit" (3:56)
Pure Silk - "Don't Let Love Get You Down" (4:24)
Al Charles - "Outstanding" (5:51)
Karen Dixon - "I Want To Be Free" (6:06)
George Posse - "Touch A Four Leaf Clover" (feat Toyin Adekale) (4:24)
Misses Misty - "Mellow Mellow Ride On" (8:39)
Trevor Hartley - "The Look In Your Eyes" (4:48)
Family Love - "Do Me Baby" (5:20)
Michael Prophet - "Body Fusion" (3:43)
Michael Gordon - "What You Won't Do For Love" (4:52)
Simplicity - "For The Love Of You" (5:35)
Review: Edinburgh's Athens Of The North label is endlessly flawless and this time around they pull together the special lovers rock covers they put out at the end of last year onto a superbly strong 12 track compilation. It arrives just in time for the warmer months and has been curated by Sam Don and overseen by label boss Euan Fryer. Standouts include Christine Lewin's lush take on the heavily sampled "Juicy Fruit" while the lo-fi bliss of Al Charles's "Outstanding" is another one to swell the heart and sooth the soul. For more sentimental moments check Family Love's "Do Me Baby." Overall, though, this is a must buy.
Review: Nearly five years after the first seven-inch appeared, the seventh volume in J Rocc's on-point "Funky President Edits" series lands. As with the tracks contained on previous volumes, the showcased cuts have long been staples in his DJ sets and should be considered "tried and tested bombs". First up on side A is "Flight #2", a shuffling, ear-pleasing affair that combines jangling elements from a semi-acoustic Afro-Soul cut with borrowed chorus vocals and languid, laidback percussion. "Greddy Foot", on the other hand, is a low-slung funk bomb -a slightly dubbed-out revision of a James Brown original with additional vocal samples from other Godfather of Soul workouts.
Review: The Kingstonians were a relatively short-lived Jamaican band whose greatest work was produced by Derek Harriott between 1968 and '70. It was at the tail end of this period that they recorded their sole album, "Sufferer", an early reggae classic featuring a swathe of sought-after cuts. It's from that set that these two tracks are taken. For the record, both have appeared on 7" singles before, but are so hard to find that collectors are willing to spend up to 500 Euros to find original copies. A-side "Hold Down" is particularly potent, with the vocal trio's fuzzy vocals rising above a killer early reggae rhythm much in Hammond organ stabs, warm bass and clipped guitars. "Nice, Nice" meanwhile is a more up-tempo affair that gives a little more prominence to a typical early reggae guitar riff. Together the two tracks make for a suitably scintillating package.
Sam Carty - "Milte Hi Akhen Aka Bird In Hand" (Full vocal version) (3:53)
Mystic I - "One More River To Cross" (3:09)
The Upsetters - "One More Dub To Cross" (3:18)
Junior Murvin - "People Get Ready" (3:23)
The Upsetters - "People Get Ready Dub" (3:18)
The Silvertones - "Feel All Right" (2:40)
Review: Barely a week goes by without a new release that has Lee "Scratch" Perry's name on it somewhere. This one from Rock A Shaka in Japan brings together all the best bits from the famous Black Arc studio and features big names like The Upsetters, Junior Murvin, The Silvertones, and Perry himself. There's a laidback air of sun kissed Caribbean grooves from top to bottom, with various Dubpate Mixes, full vocal versions and dubs adding up to a feel good collection of loved-up riddims that will slide their way into your affections.
Review: Given the anger in the United States surrounding the antics of President Trump, it was almost inevitable that we'd see a cover version of Roy C Hammond and the Honey Drippers' Nixon-era funk bomb "Impeach The President" at some point. It's a great cover, too, with Fysah Thomas providing a sassy, venomous lead vocal over a fine, horns-and-drumbreaks-heavy funk backing track courtesy of backing band The Get Down Underground. On the flip they completely re-build the track, re-casting it as an authentic dub reggae workout complete with delay-laden vocal and horn snippets and an all new rhythm track. It's rather brilliant all told and arguably even better than the A-side version.
Review: Radio DJ, studio engineer, singer and producer, Dread At The Controls label owner and sometime The Clash collaborator Mikey Dread debuted with this record in 1979. It's filled with mesmeric studio trickery, and really takes the dub sound into the future on a wave of sci-fi imagery and cosmic rays. It has a sense of humour too, in some of the more tongue in cheek sound designs as well plenty of fat and flabby dubs to provide you with plenty of smokey moments and lazy grooves to sink into to.
Review: For the second salvo in their "loud cut series", the Harlem Shuffle label has raided the vaults of Lee 'Scratch' Perry's legendary studio band, "The Upsetters". On the A-side you'll find "Popcorn" from 1970's "Eastwood Rides Again" album, a hard-edged, Ska-era rhythm & blues rump-shaker that sounds like a Jamaican take on James Brown. The flipside plays host to "Tight Spot", a dubbed-out reggae riddim over which tight saxophone riffs ascend impressively while deejay/singer/mic man attempts to get the dance going with some choice words and phrases. Like the A-side, it's a genuine dancefloor workout.
Review: The legend of Bob Marley lives on and is as strong as ever every time a new germination comes along and connects with his universal messages of peace, love and understanding. The man with a million hits of course had the eternal support of The Wailers to help him spread his good vibes and Legend is an album that shows this off best. This special edition picture disc is a real collectors edition and comes with all the standards - "Could You Be Loved", "I Shot The Sheriff", "Buffalo Soldier" and many more.
Review: From The Roots was the fourth album by The Maytals and their first after signing to Island Records in 1973. It found them move away from their earlier ska days but not quite settle into the slower tempos the rest of the big players were exploring. As such it's a speedy listen with uptempo vocals that most frequently muse on love. There are plenty of standouts such as "Got To Feel," "Koo Koo" and "Pee Pee Cluck Cluck" that still sound fresh today, especially on a limited edition individually numbered orange vinyl.
Afrika Bambaataa & Family - "Reckless" (feat UB40) (3:53)
Breakfast In Bed (feat Chrissie Hynde) (3:14)
Homely Girl (3:21)
Kingston Town (3:44)
Robert Palmer - "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" (feat UB40) (3:24)
Tears From My Eyes (3:45)
Here I Am (Come & Take Me) (4:17)
(I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You (3:26)
Review: It was right back in 1980 that UB40 secured their first big hit with "food For Thought." In the years following they became a hugely popular dub outfit and this new Music on Vinyl release captures all their various different musical phases across double 180 gram audiophile transparent vinyl with a four page booklet adding plenty of context and backstory. All the band's biggest hits are included such as "Red Red Wine", "Food For Thought", "One In Ten", "Cherry Oh Baby" and more, as well as duets with Chrissie Hynde, Afrika Bambaataa and Robert Palmer.
Earl Lindo - "Wear You To The Ball" (instrumental) (2:32)
Alton Ellis - "Puping In" (2:37)
The Tennors - "Hopeful Village" (2:29)
Hugh Roy - "Rule The Nation" (2:35)
Tommy McCook - "Dynamite" (2:21)
Hugh Roy - "Catty" (2:37)
Alton Ellis - "What Does It Take" (3:16)
Neville Hinds - "Sunday Gravey" (2:37)
Jamaica National Anthem (1:11)
Review: At the tail end of the 1960s, Treasure Isle producer Arthur 'Duke' Reid began to slowly move away from the ska and rocksteady sound with which he'd made his name. Reid embraced the emergent style of reggae, producing a string of local hit singles. 1970 compilation "Gay Jamaica Independence Time" gathered together some of these, adding a handful of previously unheard tracks to help sales. Here the sought-after set gets the reissue treatment courtesy of music on vinyl. There's much to admire amongst the 13 tracks on show, with highlights including the soulful shuffle of Hopeton Lewis's "Boom Sha Ka La", the Ethiopians socially conscious "Condition Bad A Yard", Alton Ellis's rhythm & blues influenced "Puping In" and the seductive "Catty" by Hugh Roy.
Review: The Pioneers were pivotal during the skinhead reggae period and their 1970 album Battle Of The Giants on the mighty Trojan Records is as fine as they come. At the time it was released, the band was spending lots of time in the UK and taking cues from ska, but always returned to Jamaica to record. It shows in a record that mixes driving reggae grooves with more pop leaning songs and flourishes of soul. Swaggering rhythms like "Samfie Man" sit next to love struck tunes like "Consider Me" and it's not hard to see why this outfit was one of the first to have international reggae hits in the post-rocksteady era.
Review: Charlie Bethel Wilder has been recording as Captain Planet for the best part of 15 years. In that time he's delivered a string of vibrant, kaleidoscopic albums that draw heavily on Latin and Afro-Cuban music in all its forms. "No Visa", his latest album, is another deliciously summery affair that adds a heavy dose of reggaeton rhythms and mutant R&B beats into his tropical synth-pop pot. The results are uniformly excellent all told, with highlights including the humid, synth-laden bubbliness of Patty Cake, the radio-friendly rush of Chico Mann hook-up "Rebosando", the rainforest-ready weight of "Fly Where You Want" and the head-nodding tweaked R&B/triple-time eccentricity of "Yalla" featuring KarenBe.
Review: Only Roots come through with a classic wedge from Barry Biggs. These pure vibes first came in 1976 and on this package you're also treated to the Clarence Wears guitar piece from the same year, plus a couple of spicy dubs. "Work All Day" is a golden offering with an aloof and soulful vocal that drifts up top like a wispy cloud on a summer's day. Muted chords enrich things and the natty riffs keep things subtly funky. That original Wears guitar piece is a real heart wrencher - the guitar rings out into the sky with oodles of reverb giving it even more poignancy.
Review: Rock A Shaka's "Prince Buster Classics" series of seven-inch singles has served up some scintillating Ska of late, mixing tracks from the great man with ones he produced for other artists. The latest "45" in the series is more straightforward and simply gathers together two of the Ska pioneer's greatest cuts. First up on side A is 1966's "I Won't Let You Cry", a super-sweet fusion of mid-tempo ska rhythms, dewy-eyed soul vocals from the man himself and nods towards the American rhythm and blues style that so inspired him. That rhythm and blues influence comes to the fore on flipside "I'm Sorry", a loved-up, organ-rich number that features some of Buster's most heartfelt vocals.
Bob Marley - "Is This Love" (Redmo acoustic takedown)
Redmo - "Sadi Soul"
Review: Sam Redmore has quietly been doing his thing in hometown Birmingham for some time, crafting soul-soaked re-edits, bootleg remixes and mash-ups that tend towards the tasteful end of the spectrum. Having previously built up a solid fan base via his own Bandcamp page, he's finally made it onto wax. The two cuts featured here are amongst his best. The A-side revision of Bob Marley's "Is This Love" is particularly potent. It strips out the drums, thus emphasizing the genuine sweetness of Marley's original. Flip for "Sadi Soul", an upbeat, headnodding rework of a vibraphone and double bass-laced jazz-funk jam with added hip-hop swing.
Review: Standby for KC White's excellent 1973 version of the song made famous by Dawn Penn. The submissive message of the lyrics rings out over fat bass and has just as superb an effect as first time round. This wasn't White's only cover, because he is best known for covering hits like "First Cut Is The Deepest", always adding his own spin and at least equally the quality of the source material. The version on the reverse is a heady one and these are such enduring tunes that this is the fourth time they have been reissued since first time round. Crucial.