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Juno Recommends Reggae Classics Best of 2020

Juno Recommends Reggae

Juno Recommends Reggae

Juno Recommends Reggae Classics Best of 2020
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1
Cat: SJR 43112. Rel: 27 Jan 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Oboe (9:39)
  2. Wall Street (7:10)
 in stock $13.57
2
Cat: SJR 43012. Rel: 11 May 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Trouble Maker (4:01)
  2. Run My People (2:18)
 in stock $13.57
3
Cat: HSRSS 004. Rel: 20 Jul 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Pumping In (2:31)
  2. Knock On Wood (2:37)
Review: For the latest volume in their ongoing "Reggae Cut Loud" series of seven-inch singles, Harlem Shuffle Records have gathered together two suitably rare gems from the undisputed king of rocksteady, Alton Ellis, neither of which have previously featured on a "45". A-side "Pumping In", an early rocksteady treat, is rich in R&B style guitar riffs, warm bass and an echo-laden vocal from Ellis. It was recorded in 1970 but for one reason or another only surfaced a few years ago. Flipside "Knock On Wood", a cover of the Eddie Floyd soul favourite, was recorded a number of times by Ellis; this version is the superior 1972 Joe Gibbs take, which boasts some superb Hammond organ sounds and a defiantly dub-wise reggae riddim. It's absolutely essential.
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 in stock $14.71
4
Cat: FFSPT 1017. Rel: 31 Aug 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Gossip (2:51)
  2. Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get (3:30)
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.
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 in stock $11.04
5
Cat: OGR 797. Rel: 10 Aug 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Time Is Rocksteady Tight (feat PK Brown - take 2) (3:41)
  2. Rocksteady Lockdown (2:35)
 in stock $13.30
6
Cat: 060181 1102619. Rel: 17 Aug 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Nuh Skin Up (7:23)
  2. Felt We Felt The Strain (6:36)
Review: Keith Hudson's Nuh Skin Up is the dub companion to his 1979 vocal album, From One Extreme to Another, and is often talked about in hugely hushed tones. It is well removed from what you might expect of a record record in Jamaican during that time and two lead cuts for it are presented here. Swampy, earthy dub is the order of the day on "Nuh-uh Skin Up" with wiry synths extended off into space. It's futuristic still today, and the flip is an even slower, more spaced out dub with tape hiss, distant pad and gently riffs all taking you to another head space entirely.
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 in stock $8.49
7
Cat: OGR 789. Rel: 06 Apr 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. The Regulators - "Mek Wi Rukumbine" (2:42)
  2. Brentford Rd Soul Rebels - "It's Alright Now" (feat Dennis Alcapone - version) (2:52)
 in stock $11.31
8
  1. The Regulators - "Why Why Why?" (2:26)
  2. Woodfield RD Allstars - "Coast To Coast" (2:50)
  3. The Regulators - "Why Dub Why?" (2:54)
  4. Woodfield RD Allstars - "Soul Flute" (2:30)
Review: Original Gravity is run by label owner Neil Anderson, who has a tireless work ethic and superb devotion to ska, reggae, and everything in between. His love of boss rhythms comes to the fore once more here with new tunes from three pseudonyms - The Regulators, Woodfield Road Allstars and Prince Dolly - all of whom, in actual fact, are him. Regulators cut "Why Why Why" opens up with a heavy bottom end, "Coast to Coast: has a big organ led groove and "Why Dub Why" reworks the opening tune into a rocksteady roller.
 in stock $16.69
9
  1. The Chose Few - "Collie Stuff" (2:55)
  2. Groovemaster All Stars - "Collie Dub" (3:02)
 in stock $17.26
10
Cat: CGI 7006. Rel: 16 Mar 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Kill The Devil (3:22)
  2. Bury The Devil (3:36)
Review: Original copies of the original 1978 seven-inch of 12 Tribes Of Israel's debut single are not only hard to find, but also exceedingly expensive on the rare occasions they do come up for sale. This reissue then is well overdue. "Kill The Devil" is that rarest of things: an instrumental roots reggae workout that peppers a dancefloor-friendly groove with fluid piano, Hammond organ and jazz guitar solos. The flipside dub version - re-titled "Bury The Devil" - is also superb, with a stripped-back, reverb-drenched version of the track's killer groove rightly taking pride of place throughout.
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 in stock $14.44
11
  1. Drums & Steel Song (5:01)
  2. Sunshine Steel (4:50)
Review: Way back in 1980 Montego Bay outfit The Golden Sunshine Steel Drum Band self-released their sole, self-titled album, a fine fusion of steel pan music and reggae that has long been a collector's item. For those without funds to buy an original copy of that LP (second-hand ones go for big sums these days), we'd suggest picking up this tidy seven-inch single featuring two of its most celebratory moments. A-side "Drum & Steel Song" is superb, with the band layering hand percussion and ear-catching steel pan melodies atop a sturdy, dub-wise reggae groove. "Sunshine Steel" explores similar sonic territory and more than lives up to the promise of its title.
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out of stock $10.76
12
Cat: RF 278. Rel: 13 Jul 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Groovy Situation (3:33)
  2. Groovy Dub (3:34)
Review: Seventies dub talent Keith Rowe had a small but perfectly formed discography under this alias and it includes the 1977 gem "Groovy Situation". Like most tracks of the era it had Lee 'Scratch' Perry production so the riddim is crucial. Super smooth, super sunny, super stoned, it's an archetypal stoner dub that will never age. The dub packs less of a cerebral message without Rowe's caramel vocals but delivers just as much goodness through those sweet riffs and gentle percussive flutters. Snap this one up for authentic dub bliss.
out of stock $11.31
13
Cat: 054645 707572. Rel: 03 Aug 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Wailing Souls - "Shark Attack" (feat Alborosie) (3:40)
  2. Alborosie - "Shark Attack" (dub) (3:38)
Review: The Wailing Souls are a big part of the classic roots reggae cannon. They heavily featured on the Greensleeves catalogue and now return with new single "Shark Attack." European reggae artist Alborosie is featured on this re-make of what was initially a big hit in 1992. It is a taster of the group's soon to come full length, which is their first recorded work in Jamaica since the 80s, their first LP on the label since the same key period in their history, and the first material they have had produced by label associate Alborosie.
 in stock $8.77
14
Cat: RF 302. Rel: 20 Jan 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Better Herring (2:12)
  2. Mama Look Deh (3:13)
Review: "Better Herring" has become a big money tune from the Pioneers and it was last available as part of the mega-comp "The Story Of Trojan Records". Before that, the title tune had only been released in England on 7" on Attack in 1970 under the Soul Directions alias but thanks to Boss Records, this lo-fi bit of ska and retro soul is now available to DJs and dancers once more. "Mama Look Deh" on the flip is a much more laid back tune, with a happier outlook, gorgeous guitar riffs that seem to grow ever quicker and tight drum playing to get you moving.
 in stock $10.17
15
  1. Duke Reid, Tommy McCook & His Skatalites - "Night Food Ska" (2:49)
  2. The Skatalites - "Latin Goes Ska" (3:02)
Review: Treasure Isle's latest seven-inch single dusts down and offers up two fuzzy, all-action gems from the label's bulging vaults. On the A-side you'll find the Duke Reid produced "Night Food Ska", a 1964 B-side from Tommy McCook and the Skatalites that layers duel male/female vocals atop a rich, life-affirming backing track full of jaunty ska grooves and mazy horn solos (trumpet, sax). Over on the flip you'll find the Skatalites' superb "Latin Ska", which featured on the same Jamaican single all those years ago ("Latin Goes Ska"). Entirely instrumental, it features a wealth of Latin-influenced horn lines and solos over another skanking ska rhythm.
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out of stock $16.96
16
Cat: RF 263. Rel: 20 Jan 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Busty Brown - "My Girl" (3:23)
  2. Upsetters - "My Girl" (3:14)
Review: Busty Brown's early reggae cover of the Temptations' smash hit "My Girl" from 1964 is presented here in all its glory. It's a glorious makeover that has soaring trumpets filled with optimism, deep cut drums that wriggle and rumble nonstop, as well as Brown's buttery, authentic vocals up top. Legendary dub outfit The Upsetters then take care of an instrumental on the flip side that goes a little slower and more purposefully about its business. It's not often that a cover outshines the original but in the case of this one, that might be what's happening here.
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out of stock $10.17
17
Cat: FTR 025. Rel: 06 Jul 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Eastern Ska (3:02)
  2. Western Ska (3:50)
 in stock $12.44
18
Cat: FTR 029. Rel: 19 Oct 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Short Break (3:48)
  2. Revenge (3:17)
Review: Cosmic Shuffling is a Geneva based combo who distill funk, ska and soul into their own unique sound. They last appeared with double a side ska 7" single 'Eastern Ska' and got plenty of people in the game excited. Now they follow on with another winner that opens with some brilliantly instrumental work. 'Short Break' has natty little riffs and swaggering drums, with a playful lead that takes you back to the heat of a mid-60s Jamaica when rocksteady sounds were all the hype. A shuffling ska rework takes care of the reverse and takes off with great horns from a six-piece band.
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 in stock $11.04
19
  1. The Paragons - "Joy In My Soul" (feat Tommy McCook & The Supersonics) (2:24)
  2. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics - "The World Needs Love" (instrumental) (2:11)
Review: This fabulous "45" features two more gems from the seemingly bottomless archives of Arthur 'Duke' Reid's legendary Treasure Isle studio and record label. First up on side A is "Joy In My Soul" by the Paragons, a vocal group best known for their rocksteady-era output. This particular number is a sweet slab of reggae soulfulness that was first released in 1975, though the Reid-produced cut sounds like it may have been recorded earlier. Turn to side B for Treasure Isle Tommy McCook and the Supersonics' "What The World Needs", an instrumental rocksteady cover of the Hal David/Burt Bacharach easy listening classic later made famous by Dione Warwick (and later fellow Motown stars the Supremes).
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out of stock $16.96
20
Cat: HR7S 154. Rel: 23 Nov 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Take Me With You (3:25)
  2. Take Me With You (version) (3:30)
Review: With sunshine becoming a regular occurrence again just in time for summer, two of France's more soulful producers have decided to join forces and offer up something suitably warm and relaxing. With the assistance of vocalist Kahina Ouali, Blundetto and Booker Gee have recorded a killer, Hammond-laden version of Lyn Christopher classic "Take Me With You" that sits somewhere between the organs-and-lo-fi-drum machines flex of Timmy Thomas' "We Can't We Live Together" and the soulful reggae grooves of 1980s lovers rock. The fine A-side original mix, which boasts Ouali's full vocal, is our pick of the pair, though the flipside instrumental "Version" mix, in which Booker Gee gets busy on the organ, is also superb.
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 in stock $22.63
21
Cat: OGR 796RE. Rel: 16 Nov 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Tune Up Ska (3:16)
  2. Time Is Ska Tight (Aternative take) (3:53)
Review: While this record looks and sounds vintage - like the majority of Original Gravity's output - it is in fact a revivalist, turn-of-the-60s style ska production from Welwyn Garden City's Neil Anderson. A-side 'Tune Up Ska' is particularly potent, with Anderson and his studio musicians serving up a classic ska groove (think walking bass, up-tempo rhythm and blues drums and tight horn blasts), onto which a variety of fuzzy saxophone and organ solos are layered. Clubs may not be open right now, but when they do, we can see it lighting up ska-loving crowds. Over on the flip, Anderson and company turn their attention (sorry) to Booker T & The MG's cut 'Time is Tight', reinventing it as a boisterous, horn-heavy affair featuring some superb trumpet solos.
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 in stock $11.31
22
Cat: ORD 23. Rel: 03 Aug 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Barry Biggs - "Work All Day" (3:26)
  2. The Dynamites - "Play All Night" (3:29)
  3. Clarence Wears - "Working Mood" (2:50)
  4. The Dynamites - "Got To Work" (3:05)
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.
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 in stock $15.28
23
Cat: DTWS 002. Rel: 16 Mar 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Jonny De Ambassador - "Country Boy" (4:16)
  2. Krabah Aka Daniele Cesarotti - "Country Dub" (4:14)
Review: Dig This Way Records is back with a second sizzling 7" release, and this time it's a brand new collaboration with Italian-Jamaican label Tebel. It features Jonny De Ambassador and Abeng (Claudio SugarCube) as well as a serious group of musicians. "Country Boy" is well schooled in classic dub and ska, but comes with some slick contemporary flourishes in the form of production techniques and some groggy riffs. The vocals are lazy and louche, the drums cut deep and vibes are pure sunshine. The dub on the flip is even more roomy and horizontal for those lazy afternoons in the park.
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 in stock $16.41
24
Cat: PUNKIN DUB. Rel: 20 Jul 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Astro Zombies (2:27)
  2. London Calling (0:19)
 in stock $13.01
25
Cat: RSPB 7011. Rel: 27 Apr 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Prince Buster - "Islam" (3:17)
  2. Don Drummond - "Sudden Attack" (2:39)
Review: Hot on the heels of their fine compilation of classic Prince Buster tracks and productions, "Roll On Charles Street", Rock A Shacka delivers a tidy "45" featuring two of the collection's most potent cuts. On the A-side you'll find "Islam", a driving but punchy classic from 1964 that should be familiar to all but the newest ska fans (the vocal refrain, "my people, my people, do you not wanna go", is the killer hook). Over on the flip it's all about Don Drummond's "Sudden Attack", a Prince Buster-produced gem from the same year which like the A-side features all of the original Skatalites band as back-up. This is an altogether cheerier dancefloor number which boasts a suitably heavy rhythm and some suitably firing horns.
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 in stock $17.26
26
Cat: RSUPLP 001. Rel: 22 Jun 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Upsetter Revue - "Play On Mr Music" (feat The Heptones & The Congos & Junior Murvin) (6:50)
  2. Carlton Jackson - "History" (Dub Plate mix) (3:22)
  3. The Silvertones - "Rejoice Jah Jah Children" (Dub Plate mix) (3:45)
  4. Jimmy Riley - "Give Me A Love" (2:12)
  5. The Upsetters - "Give Me A Dub" (2:17)
  6. Lee Perry - "Soul Fire" (3:55)
  7. Sam Carty - "Milte Hi Akhen Aka Bird In Hand" (Full vocal version) (3:53)
  8. Mystic I - "One More River To Cross" (3:09)
  9. The Upsetters - "One More Dub To Cross" (3:18)
  10. Junior Murvin - "People Get Ready" (3:23)
  11. The Upsetters - "People Get Ready Dub" (3:18)
  12. 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.
 in stock $31.42
27
VARIOUS
Cat: HSRSSLP 001. Rel: 19 Oct 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Stranger & Patsy - "Tell It To Me" (2:57)
  2. Glen Miller - "Rock Steady Party" (2:19)
  3. Des All Stars - "Walk With Des" (3:22)
  4. Andersons All Stars - "Intensified Girls" (2:37)
  5. The Cobbs - "Space Doctor" (3:06)
  6. Clancy Collins - "Brother Moses" (3:10)
  7. The Gaylads - "I Love The Reggae" (2:48)
  8. Johnny & The Attractions - "Coming On The Scene" (2:49)
  9. The Itals - "Dawn Patrol" (2:35)
  10. Willie Lindo & The Charmers Band - "Drum Song" (3:48)
  11. The Hardy Boys - "Black Out" (3:15)
  12. Dave Collins - "Smooth & Sorts" (3:19)
  13. Hippy Boys - "Nigeria" (3:28)
  14. Audrey - "You'll Loose A Good Thing" (2:41)
Review: Since launching late last year, Harlem Shuffle Records has reissued a string of killer reggae recordings from the 1960s and 70's. Here the imprint offers up its first compilation, a 14-track selection of early reggae, dub and rocksteady hand-picked from the vaults of such legendary labels as Black Swan, Blue Cat, Duke, Doctor Bird, High Note and Trojan. It's a fine and hugely entertaining collection all told, with highlights including the easy, laidback skank of Stranger & Patsy's 'Tell it to Me', the trumpet-laden instrumental shuffle of 'Walk With Des' by Des All Stars, the Hammond-powered dancefloor heaviness of Clancy Collins' 'Brother Moses' and the prototype dub brilliance of 'Black Out' by the Hardy Boys.
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 in stock $24.05
28
Cat: MANIADUB 017LP. Rel: 28 Sep 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Prowling Lion (4:25)
  2. Philosophers Stone (4:15)
  3. Philosophers Dub (4:18)
  4. Dancing On A Rainbow (4:46)
  5. Seven Colours Of Dub (4:23)
  6. Elixir (5:01)
  7. No Peace In The City (4:27)
  8. Eternal Dub (bonus track) (4:03)
Review: When Inhmost made their debut on Greta Cottage Woodpile in 2015, we remarked on the quality of their picture-perfect tributes to the cosmic, soul-warming sound of 1990s ambient labels such as Fax and Apollo. "Everything Is New", their belated second album, takes a similar widescreen, retro-futurist approach, with the publicity-shy duo delivering impeccably crafted, exceedingly atmospheric workouts that variously doff a cap to Global Communication ('Aurulia'), Pete Namlook (the quiet and contemplative 'Break Down'), Space Time Continuum ('Deeper Thoughts'), the Irresistible Force ('Sleep Walk'), Ninja Tune's almost forgotten N Tone label ('Spectrum'), and the more ambient end of Richard H Kirk's Sandoz project (the warm and wonderful 'Sometime For Time').
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 in stock $27.45
29
Cat: MOVLP 2108. Rel: 27 Jul 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Saturday Night Style (4:37)
  2. Industrial Spy (4:37)
  3. Headline News (3:08)
  4. Mikey Dread in Action (5:09)
  5. Tribal Dub (2:58)
  6. Resignation Dub (4:55)
  7. Technical Selection (3:40)
  8. Comic Strip (3:23)
  9. Pre Dawn Dub (3:02)
  10. Operator's Choice (5:05)
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.
out of stock $20.36
30
Cat: 0054645 271011. Rel: 29 Jun 20
Klassiker/Ska
  1. Jah (3:58)
  2. Cool Rockers (5:46)
  3. Lion (3:45)
  4. Rasta Man (3:58)
  5. Camp (5:07)
  6. Loving (4:33)
  7. Money (4:24)
  8. In The Valley (3:15)
  9. Dreadlocks (5:54)
  10. Guidance (5:29)
Review: Lee Perry's studio band was famously known as The Upsetters but also recorded as Black Ark Players, named after his famous studio. This is their one and only album and it first landed in 1980 as another part in the infinite musical puzzle around Lee Perry. The previously hard to find record marks the end of one era and the start of another as it came right at the start of the demise fo the studio. It is built on a bedrock of heavy beats and bass, with spooky dub styles and spacey synth styles that add layers of intrigue that never let up.
 in stock $15.28
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