A while back the crew at UK’s Reggae Archive Records headed from Bristol to Wolverhampton to meet Capital Letters’ bass player JB. When they headed south again they brought with them tapes and a scrapbook with photos and press clippings from Capital Letters’ short career in the late 70s and early 80s.
Capital Letters only released one album – the acclaimed Headline News in 1979. They also dropped a number of successful singles, and they’re probably best known for the marijuana anthem Smoking My Ganja.
Could the treasure found in JB’s house be a second album from Capital Letters? Yes, but the original tapes were unusable. But that didn’t stop Reggae Archive Records. Instead of shelving the tapes they gave the unmixed recordings to producer and mixing engineer Dave “Oldwah” Sandford.
Reality is the result. It’s a brand new, yet vintage, 14 track Capital Letters album from 1985, the year when everything was recorded. Five of the tracks are the band’s original 1985 mixes, one track is a live recording and the other eight are newly mixed from the original session tapes.
Among the 14 tracks are several dub versions and another mix to their hit song Smoking My Ganja. The album is mostly up-tempo in a punchy, almost ska-driven, style. Check the skanking This is Club Dance or Cocaine.
It also no less than four versions of the title track – the original vocal and the original dub as well as Sandford’s vocals and dub.
Not as great as the band’s rootsier debut album, but it’s nonetheless nice to hear previously unreleased vintage British reggae.