Review: He's hardly prolific, but DJ/producer Del Gazeebo has been offering up occasional re-edits, mash-ups and bootleg reworks for longer than some of us have been alive. Here he begins 2020 in fine fashion with two party-hearty reworks guaranteed to get the dancefloor moving. Aside "Barbara Don't Love Me" is a bouncy, subtly beefed-up take on a horn-heavy 1960s soul/rhythm and blues classic that sounds like it would go down well at parties that love Northern Soul. Flipside "Dat Ting" meanwhile is a head-nodding take on a punchy soulful reggae cut underpinned by weighty bass and tight hip-hop beats.
Review: This is some essential original roots reggae from all the way back in 1977. Recorded by Earl (Sixteen) Daley, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Steely, Albert Malawi and Dalton Browne at the legendary Black Ark studios and now reissued by Belgian connoisseurs Roots Vibration, "Freedom" is a real stepper; sweet guitar licks and vocal work with drums and bass piled up on top of one another in perfect harmony. If you're after something deeper, flipover for the "Dub" version provided by The Upsetters. Timeless.
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.
Review: GrandMagnetto, masters of skanking pop reggae covers,
return with 'Everybody's Talkin' by Harry Nilsson, off of
the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack. Blundetto transformed
the track into a killer deep dubby hit. Both tracks are storming.
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: 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.
Review: Vocalist Eva Keyes and producer Dan Taliras first worked together back in 2018 on the joint single "Tired of the City". Since then they've released a handful of other collaborative records, with Taliras handling the obligatory flipside dubs. Like much of their work, "In A Crisis" is a revivalist roots reggae number in which Keyes delivers socially conscious lyrics atop a chunky riddim, crunchy Clavinet lines and hazy horns. As is traditional, Taliras delivers a Dub mix on side B, skilfully re-framing the track as a sparse, echoing and deep mixture of skeletal grooves, echoing vocals and effects-laden instrumental snippets.
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.