Black Roots are one of my all time favourite UK reggae bands. Their sound is in the same great tradition as Aswad, Misty in Roots and Steel Pulse – heavy as lead bass lines, groove and clear melodies. And Black Roots were apparently part of the Bristol reggae scene, a music scene that is now put on wax by Bristol Archive Records.
The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983 is according to the label the first and only attempt to document the local reggae scene from the late 70’s and early 80’s.
According to Bristol Archive Records none of the tunes – except for the Black Roots tunes – have ever been reissued and this is their debut in digital format.
It was certainly a long overdue deed. This is a historical document that includes great music and very informative liner notes about the Bristol reggae scene and the bands and artists that appear on the compilation.
Roots reggae dominates the 14 tracks by eight bands and artists and there are several highlights here.
Four Point Plan, by a band called Restriction that only released one four track twelve inch in 1983 mixed and engineered by Mad Professor at his Ariwa Studio in London, is a deejay lead masterpiece with some nice dub echoing going on.
Black Roots and Talisman are represented by three tracks each; two of Talisman’s are live recordings. All six are classic UK roots with solid brass arrangements.
Sharon Bengamin’s Mr Guy is lovers rock in the Janet Kay tradition and keeps things sweet and smooth.