Review: By now, you should know Devon Russell's sought-after 1984 cover of Curtis Mayfield classic "Move On Up", a incredible, post-disco era reggae-soul revision that just oozes sun-splashed positivity. It's virtually impossible to pick up the original 45 so this dinked reissue from Mukatsuku Records is most welcome and has been lovingly remastered. The seven-inch is also notable for including another overlooked gem from Russell's even lesser-known 1993 album of Mayfield covers, "Darker Than Blue". His rendition of "Give Me Your Love" here presented for the very first time in a 45 format is blissfully glassy-eyed, colourful and hazy, giving the Mayfield classic a decidedly Balearic reggae feel via head-nodding grooves, fluid synthesizer lines and jazzy guitar solos. In a word: brilliant.Supported so far by DJ Koco & DJ Muro from Japan and Craig Charles BBC 6 Music, The Allergies,Mr Thing, Andy Smith & Boca 45 from the uk....
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.
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.
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.
Foxy Brown - "Oh Yeah" (Featuring Spragga Benz) (4:12)
Review: The first volume in the Lickshot series serves up two almighty slabs of reggae and dancehall-influenced hip-hop from two of the biggest names in the game. On side A you'll find an edited version of Jay-Z's "Bam" from 2017 album "4:44", where the long-serving rapper trades verses with Damian Marley over a sparse beat and sampled reggae horns. Over on the flip dancehall vocalist Spragga Benz guests on Foxy Brown"Oh Yeah", a hybrid hip-hop/ragga workout . Like its' A-side companion, it's a weighty, club-ready rocker that should be in every hip-hop head's collection.
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 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: 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: 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: When Congolese musician Albert Siassia moved to Paris in the early 1980s, it wasn't long before he joined forces with a local reggae band that he re-christened Tokobina ("Let's Dance" in the Lingala language, fact fans). Together, they released a handful of inspired but now notoriously hard-to-find records, from which two of the tracks here are taken. There's "Mama Africa", an unashamedly positive dancefloor workout full of glistening, South African style guitars, dub disco grooves, bustling, rumba-influenced percussion and Siassia's headline-grabbing vocals, and "Pointe Noire", a superb chunk of new wave/Afro-disco fusion that's arguably even better than the EP's title track. The other two tracks have never before seen the light of day on any format, having been rescued from long forgotten demo cassettes. Of these, it's the Congolese reggae sweetness of "Sangi (Demo Mix)" that hits home hardest.A killer first release from a new label brought to you by one of the Sofrito Crew Hugo Mendes
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.
Review: The Skints are a tropical punk four piece from the big smoke riding high off the back of sold out EU and UK tours. This is the second limited-edition 45 to come along with their new album "Swimming Lessons" and it's easy to see why they've chosen "Armageddon". Jamaican rising star Runkus delivers a bold commentary while dark, stepping dub-wise rhythms carry his message. Flip over for the "Gentleman's Dub Club 8-Track Mix" - a trippy one laden with reverb and extra weighty bass.
Review: Studio One have put out plenty of big tunes and this is the latest to get a big reissue on a super loud-cut 12" single for extra devastating impact. It's a well-known classic every self-respecting reggae fan should know and blows up any party, especially when tweaked like these two versions. They were originally produced by Studio One bossman Coxsone Dodd and have been covered by The Clash as well as sampled by The Fugees and hip hop MC KRS One. The snaking lead synth, the rumbling drums and classic ska trumpet are all straight up irresistible.
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).
Review: Timmy Thomas, sometimes known as The Magician, frequently regarded as one of the most sampled men beyond the Brown franchise, he's been referenced by everyone from Drake to Dilla to MC Hammer. Here we find two of his most well known cuts, both taken from his 1972 album, Why Can't We Live Together. There's a wry cosmic sheen weaving and shimmering in the background of the soaking wet Afrofunk groove of "Africano" while the keys of "Why Can't We Live Together" instantly hit with a soul you've heard, felt and loved in so many contexts. Certified classic.
Review: The Slackers are a legendary ska outfit for good reason: they've put out more than 20 albums and countless singles across a fine career that dates all the way back to 1991. Now they're back on Names You Can Trust with a pair of irresistible cuts. "Baba Roots" is a feel good and swaggering ska tune with sliding bass and great lead horns that bring the sunshine. "150 Seconds" on the flip is a slower and steadier tune with laidback horn leads that are more loved up and unhurried.