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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
Review: George and Glen Miller are undoubtedly best known for their West End Records released 1982 boogie-soul classic "Touch Your Life". They released plenty of other records that flitted between soca, reggae, disco, and - in the latter stages of their career - electrofunk. "Easing", which appeared at some point at the turn of the '80s on London label Third World, remains one of their most potent releases - and, in its original form at least, formidably hard to find. This Soundway reissue wisely replicates the track list of the original release, beginning with the title track - a deliciously percussive, musically intricate chunk of peak-time disco smothered in sharp, Afro-funk style horns and George and Glen Miller's lilting reggae-soul style vocals. The flipside "Version" strips out the vocals, allowing listeners to hear in greater detail the pair's impeccable arrangements and instrumentations (particularly the fine orchestration and rich groove).