Fashion – one of the finest British reggae labels of all time – is currently undergoing a well-deserved reissue program courtesy of music distributor Believe Digital.
On March 10 the first ten albums from the catalogue were released on digital platforms, and each month after further albums will be put out from this exquisite catalogue. To accompany the re-releases a best of compilation has also been dropped.
Fashion Records Significant Hits Volume One collects 20 tunes spanning from the initial release in 1980 to some of the last tunes issued in the late 90’s.
If you aren’t acquainted with Fashion Records already, you need to know it is one of the most successful UK-based reggae labels dropping albums and tunes from the best local talents and Jamaican visitors. It was the brainchild of reggae devotees John MacGillivray and Chris Lane, and was essentially a spin-off from John MacGillivray’s Dub Vendor record store in London.
The releases were produced in their own A-Class recording studio along with musicians such as Mafia & Fluxy.
The first Fashion release was Dee Sharp’s Let’s Dub it Up – of course included on the album – and it hit number one in the UK reggae charts in the summer of 1980. Following this success the label issued many types of reggae ranging from dancehall scorchers and hard roots to sweet skanking lovers and more or less straight pop music.
Significant Hits Volume One is a great introduction the Fashion as it encompasses a broad variation of styles, both vocally and musically.
Some of the finest moments include Tippa Irie & Janet Lee-Davis’ Baby I’ve Been Missing You on a reworked Queen Majesty riddim, Bunny General’s tongue twister Full Up A Class, the echo-laid tough roots tune Herbal Dub from Dub Organiser and Starkey Banton’s amusing jungle dis Jungle Bungle.
The compilation would have been even greater if Nereus Joseph’s Sensi Crisis would have been included instead of Top Cat’s jungle tune Request the Style (Project 1 Remix). I also miss one of Glen Brown’s compelling melodica tunes.
No big faults, but with these tunes an already strong set would have been even better.