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.
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.
Review: The Altered Tapes crew's sneaky remixes are amongst the finest around, as this latest must-check "45" proves. "Cherchez" has been doing the rounds for a couple of years digitally, so it's great to see it finally land on wax. It's a flip of Ghostface Killah's "Cherchez La Ghost", with the venerable rapper's verses rising above a weighty backing track crafted from hand picked samples of classic funk jams. Weighty and floor-friendly, it's the kind of bootleg revision that's guaranteed to get the party started. "Cherchez La B-Boy" on the flip strips out most of his vocals and instead chooses to base the action around fat funk breakbeats and an even more sizable bassline.
Review: "Fever" is one of Horace Andy's biggest hits. Amazingly, it has never been given its own release so Studio One has done the right thing and put it out on a super loud 12" for the first time. It first landed way back in 1973 before Andy rose to contemporary fame appearing with Massive Attack on five of their albums, but still hits hard. The lush vocals sit well in the swinging drums and bass, and makes it a sure fire dance floor destroyer that won't hang around. Comes accompanied with a Cedric "Im" Brooks instrumental version on the flip.
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: Nick "Bobby Blackbird" Dean is the Equinoxx producer behind "The Master Blenda" - a new instrumental that nearly never was: in 2015, he was involved in a near fatal car crash that left him hospitalised for three months. Grammy-nominated band Raging Fyah, horn maestro Stingwray and keys legend Franklyn "Bubbler" Wahl all feature on the A side - an upbeat ska anthem with big leads and a high feel good factor. Exile Di Brave takes over the flipside dub, which is an exercise in fantastic studio trickery and oodles of reverb. This is a sweet new 10" from this ever more essential label, especially as it is one that might never have been.
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.
Review: Guillaume Metenier is Booker Gee, a master edit maker and studio wizard who has made his name with some much wanted work on Lucien Entertainment as well as more than once on this label. His second release this month is a trip into the world of ska. 'Out In The Rain' is a perfect sweet spot between rolling reggae rhythms, warm organ chords and skipping kicks. The mood is sensuous and inviting as Gee blends sweet soul with playful funk. The version is only a subtle rework, resining plenty of the charm and allure of the original.
Review: In the early 1970s, a new musical art form emerged on the streets of Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago from the social unrest of the time. A group of young guys started to combine poetry with drumming and created the musical art form that is known today as Rapso. Lutalo 'Brother Resistance' Masimba was one of the pioneers of this movement and his 1987 anthem "Tonight Is de Night" receives a much-needed reissue here on Cree. There's much to enjoy on this 12" - we're particularly loving the groovy "Rapso Space Dub" and funky steel drum riddims of "Crucial Decision ('92 Version)". This is total spiritual life music.
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.
Review: This is a super new 7" from Japan's Rock A Shacka. It finds the Chosen Few tackle reggae cuts from The Stylistics and The Moments and the results are so sweet they'll have your mouth watering. "My Thing" hits a gorgeously soul drenched bullseye between dub, reggae and lovers rock, largely thanks to the gorgeous vocal up top. The gently swaying drums and guitar riffs only heighten the soothing effect. "Children Of The Night" goes slower, with more effects and fatter bass to sink deep into as the horizontal grooves encourage you to lay back and gaze at the stars.
The Groove Master - "I Love The Way You Love" (3:52)
Review: For their latest missive, Rock A Shaka have decided to offer up a new pressing of The Chosen Few's early '70s classic "I Love The Way You Love", a slab of languid, soulful sunshine recorded at a time when reggae as we know it today (rather than rocksteady or ska) was still a nascent musical form. While the original vocal version has featured on a number of the Jamaican band's albums over the years, the accompanying flipside "Version" by producer Prince Tony Robinson AKA The Groove Master has previously been frustratingly hard to find. It's worth picking this up just to get it, as Robinson's additional musical flourishes - think Tommy McCook style sax, fluttering flute solos and harder rhythm guitar - lift the band's fine riddim to even higher heights.