Tag Archives: Compilations

A Gussie Clarke extravaganza from VP

Gussie_Clark_-Gussie_Presenting_the_Right_TracksVP Records’ vintage imprint 17 North Parade opens its vaults to present another crucial reissue, this time from one of the most influential Jamaican producers – Augustus ”Gussie Clarke”. He has consistently churned out hits since the 70s until today, and Gussie Presenting The Right Tracks, which was originally released in 1976, captures his early work during the so called golden era of reggae.

The reissue – which drops on July 22 – collects the original LP in its entirety with previously unreleased Gussie Clarke productions for the first time on CD. The double disc set will contain all re-mastered tracks along with extensive liner notes and the original LP artwork.

The cuts were originally recorded and mixed at Kingston’s legendary Channel One studio and King Tubby’s Tubby studio, and the collection includes Gussie Clarke’s work with a parade of Jamaican greats, including Horace Andy, Leroy Sibbles, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Delroy Wilson, Augustus Pablo, Leroy Smart and Jacob Miller.

“There’s no ‘how it comes about’ with these names. I’m that kind of person who’s always thinking outside the box. There wasn’t any logic to it! It’s just a love for the difference and the uniqueness of things. Everybody had a sound and a style and I’d switch the musicians round to get a different vibe and a different feel,” explains Gussie Clarke in the set’s liner notes, and adds:

“I had the songs and in those days compilations were a good idea. I said ‘why not?’ and ‘The Right Tracks’ is appropriate now because they are the right tracks.”

In addition to this 40 track album, there will be a vinyl companion piece (carrying the same name) of eleven tracks from the CD version available the same day.

And on August 5 the label drops a limited edition 7” vinyl box set of rare Gussie Clarke productions designed to augment the two CD collection. The set, entitled Gussie Presenting The Right Sevens, features original recordings of foundation classics from Leroy Smart and The Mighty Diamonds, rare Augustus Pablo and Mikey Dread sides and previously unreleased cuts from Leroy Sibbles and Tommy McCook.

The Right Tracks series is the first installment of several Gussie Glarke collections that will drop via VP Records this year. They will also unleash a newly-compiled LP of Gussie Clarke productions with reggae icon Augustus Pablo titled Born To Dub You plus a three disc Reggae Anthology for Gussie Clarke’s Music Works label slated for late 2014.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

A good time with Super Tough

CS2475123-02A-BIGSuper Tough is the brainchild of California-based veteran musicians Wally Sound and Bruce Benjamin. In 2007 they dropped their debut album, a set that featured several Jamaican and local singers, for example Al Pancho, Rankin Scroo and Tony Moses.

It has taken seven years for the follow-up, which was released a few weeks ago. Super Tough II collects vocal cuts and dub versions and features collaborations with Earl Zero, Lymie Murray, Tony Moses, Toussaint the Liberator, Gina Rene and X-Factor finalist Chris Rene.

Super Tough II is not the usual reggae album and offers rich influences from 60s soul and early funk. It’s non-traditional reggae with a twist. Just listen to album opener and feet stomper Take the Money and Run from Toussaint the Liberator, where his deep soul voice battles the raw drums, bass and guitar. Or Gina Rene’s smooth doo-woper Baby It’s You, a song that resembles George Michael’s top selling single Faith.

This album is rough, rugged and it definitely sounds like they had a very good time when making it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Record reviews

Five reggae superstars in a box

Dennis Brown  & Superstar Friends - Reggae Legends - artworkDennis Brown was on top of his game in the mid to late 70s and he put out more than a handful of excellent albums, including Joseph’s Coat of Many Colours, Words of Wisdom and Visions of Dennis Brown.

But this esteemed singer also dropped great material in the 80s and 90s, as shown on the brand new four disc box set Dennis Brown & Superstar Friends. It collects four original combination albums released between 1984 and 1993 – Judge Not and No Contest with Gregory Isaacs, Legit with Freddie McGregor and Cocoa Tea and Hotter Flames with Frankie Paul.

Augustus “Gussie” Clarke was responsible for production on Judge Not, No Contest and Legit. These collect solo and duo tracks as well as several discomixes, discomixes that showcase the crisp and sharp hi-tech riddims that became Gussie Clarke’s trademark.

Hotter Flames – produced by Patrick Roberts and Andre Tyrell aka Shocking Vibes – is rawer and more rugged compared to Gussie Clarke’s slick, yet with an edge, style.

Included is no less than 38 tracks, and highlights include the massive Gregory Isaacs combination Let off the Supm, To the Foundation, No Camouflage, Big All Around, Bone Lies and a nice take of Bob Marley’s Natural Mystic.

This set is a proper showdown where the Crown Prince of Reggae teams up with four of his superstar friends to make music for your ears and listening pleasure.

1 Comment

Filed under Record reviews

Pure quality on new Studio One compilation

Layout 1The latest Studio One compilation on one of the world’s premier reissue labels – Soul Jazz Records – is all about pure quality and as usual with these compilations an an all-star selection of artists is featured – Ken Boothe, Marcia Griffiths, John Holt, Dennis Brown and more. Sure, a number of these lovely tunes have been reissued plenty of times before, for example The Eternals’ Stars, The Heptones’ Party Time and The Gaylads’ Joy in the Morning.

The title – Studio One Rocksteady – doesn’t tell the whole truth though. It surely includes lots of rocksteady, but also early reggae, like Alton Ellis’ Hurting Me, Jackie Mittoo’s Our Thing and Duke Morgan’s Lick it Back.

The sounds are gorgeous, bouncy and optimistic, but also moody and melancholic as in Cecile Campbell’s Whisper to Me and Ken Boothe’s When I Fall in Love.

Studio One may not have been a rival to Duke Reid’s Tresure Isle when it comes to putting out beautiful rocksteady, but Coxsone Dodd had two aces up his sleeve – master organist Jackie Mittoo and bass virtuoso Leroy Sibbles. Together this trio created countless of classics, and several of these are collected on this essential album, an album with excellent sleevenotes by Lloyd Bradley, author of the classic book Bass Culture – When Reggae Was King.

2 Comments

Filed under Record reviews

Get to know the music that shaped David Rodigan

Masterpiece-David-RodiganUK DJ and radio personality David Rodigan has been on the scene for more than 30 years and counting. With an MBE and a host of prestigious accolades under his belt, he has been chosen to front the next album in the acclaimed Masterpiece series from Ministry of Sound, out for release 27th January, 2014.

As one of few DJs to have influenced and inspired the masses for over three generations, David Rodigan has managed to continously adapt to reigning trends while sticking to his favorite music – reggae.

Masterpiece – Created by David Rodigan is a document of his journey as a DJ, starting with his initiation into the sounds of 60s British pop and American soul, and passing through five decades of the evolution of Jamaican music in all its guises: ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub, dancehall and the new roots revival.

“I have made other compilations,” says David Rodigan in a press release. “But I decided this should be a reflection of my life musically, including both the things I grew up listening to and the things I am currently enjoying.”

The selection has been broken down into three discs featuring a range of influences from The Kinks, Marvin Gaye, Etta James, Dusty Springfield, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Tessanne Chin, King Tubby and Ini Kamoze to name a few.

David Rodigan also gives a whistle-stop tour of the world, showing how the vibrant current roots reggae scene spans artists in Canada/Jamaica (Exco Levi), Italy (Riva Starr) and England (Liam Bailey).

“I wanted this third CD to be looking to the future,” he says. “We are progressing and not living in the past. There are people with new ideas and this music is not finished, there’s a lot more to come.”

A selection of tracks will be available as a 7” vinyl boxset, handpicked by David Rodigan.

The Masterpiece series is a concept fronted by artists and DJs of the highest calibre. It’s an opportunity for them to curate a three disc musical journey that depicts their own influences and inspirations which they can share with their fans. Predecessors in the series include Andrew Weatherall, Fabio & Grooverider and Gilles Peterson.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Unreleased material on new Lee Perry compilation

PSLP82 Litho AWV3.inddWhen UK reissue label Pressure Sounds announced a new Lee Perry compilation they wrote “we know what you are thinking, another Lee Perry album on Pressure Sounds.” Well, I could not have said it better myself. It was my first thought when I heard about the release.

The majority of the previous seven Lee Perry compilations issued on Pressure Sounds have been very strong, particularly some of the earliest ones. And Roaring Lion – as the latest eight set is titled – is no exception and definately not just another Lee Perry compilation.

The material on the album was mostly recorded or re-mixed in 1976 and it delivers 16 unreleased tracks, of which eleven come from a master tape that has been laying in storage for 30 years. The other five are made up of dub plates and alternate takes of previously released tracks. All in all the set includes no less than five previously unreleased tracks from Jah Lion, Augustus Pablo and The Upsetters.

The audio quality is surprisingly good and you have all of Lee Perry’s trademarks at the Black Ark put on wax – bouncing bass, creative arrangements and a dense and atmospheric soundscape filled with cultural currents and vocal snippets dropping in and out of the swirling mixes.

Fans of Bob Marley will probably be super excited, since the album collects an unreleased dub plate mix of Natural Mystic, one of the man’s most crucial tunes put out on Island Records.

Roaring Lion comes with excellent liner notes from Lee Perry enthusiast Jeremy Collingwood and in tandem with the album release Pressure Sounds has put out three Lee Perry produced 7”, two of which are not on the album.

3 Comments

Filed under Record reviews

Top compilation from Maximum Sound

maximum-sound-20-20Looking for the best compilation this year? Well, you may just have found it. Maximum Sound 20:20 collects no less than 40 tunes from the mighty UK label Maximum Sound.

This 20th anniversary album celebrates the work of Frenchie, a French born producer who moved to London and started his career as an apprentice engineer at Fashion’s A Class studio in the late 80’s. But for the past 20 years he has run Europe’s number one reggae label – Maximum Sound.

Through this label – and a few subsidiaries – he has put out loads of rough and tough roots and dancehall singles, albums and riddims. He has also managed to voice a veritable who’s who in the contemporary reggae business, including Alborosie, Morgan Heritage, Bounty Killer, Vybz Kartel, Tarrus Riley, Mr. Vegas and Sizzla. Highly impressive for a European producer.

This 40 track comes in roughly chronological order and collects no fillers, only die hard killers – Junior Kelly’s Tough Life, Capleton’s All is Well, Bunny General’s Spye Fi Die and Captain Sinbad’s Capital Offence to name just a few. The latter is also a track that triggered a full album from the Captain, his first since the mid 80’s.

Maximum Sound celebrates 20 years, so it would have been a logical decision to choose only 20 tunes. But that wasn’t apparently enough. And I agree. Even though I could have gone for an even longer compilation.

Maximum Sound 20:20 is only available on digital platforms.

2 Comments

Filed under Record reviews

A decade of reggae greats from Irie Ites

album-various-artists-irie-ites-a-decade-of-reggae-musicFrench label and production house Irie Ites celebrate a ten year anniversary this year and part of the celebrations is a glorious compilation titled 2003/2013 A Decade of Reggae Music.

It collects 14 tracks on a broad variety of riddims and remixes, including Chezidek’s militant Bun Di Ganja on a relentless version of the Strange Things riddim, Ras Mac Bean and Morgan Heritage’s uplifting Lion is King, rock stone voiced dancehall deejay Bounty Killer’s Push Over on a version of the rock steady classic Stop That Train and Lutan Fyah’s catchy Take a Lick.

Irie Ites has together with labels and producers such as Heartical and Special Delivery put France on the reggae map. These three labels have put out some of the most consistent albums and riddims for the past ten years. And this compilation is together with Heartical Story Vol. 1 & 2 and Special Delivery’s The First Decade (2001 – 2011) a strong statement of the burgeoning and innovative French reggae scene.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Record reviews

Contemporary flavors on Miss Lily’s Family Style

imagesMiss Lily’s is a restaurant in downtown Manhattan, New York City, described as a social and cultural hub for all things Caribbean. This eatery has together with reggae powerhouse VP Records brought out a brand new compilation series – Miss Lily’s Family Style.

The first edition includes 15 tracks full of island flavor selected by Miss Lily’s family of DJ’s and tastemakers. Their favorites are well-known dancehall classics from the 90’s and forward as well as contemporary anthems.

All of these big, bad and bouncy cuts are sure to heat up any dance floor, whether you’re in New York City shaking it to KonshensSo Mi Tan, in London moving your feet to Gappy RanksPumpkin Belly, in Kingston getting down and dirty to the Wurl Boss’ Whine, in Tokyo jumping up and down to Lil Rick’s Guh Down or in Moscow slow-whining to Gyptian’s smash hit Hold Yuh.

The CD comes in a vintage vinyl-inspired packaging with liner notes by reggae journalist and Radio Lily resident Rob Kenner along with a free download card of a 40+ minute mix by Miss Lily’s own DJ Max Glazer of Federation Sound.

Leave a comment

Filed under Record reviews

One of the best lovers rock compilations yet

Song titles such as It Must Be Love, Thinking of You and I Love You give a hint of what lies behind the album title Harmony, Melody & Style – Lovers Rock & Rare Groove in the UK, one of Soul Jazz Records’ recent compilations.

You probably guessed the genre – lovers rock. A British style of smooth reggae kick-started in the mid 70’s with Louisa Marks’ Caught You in a Lie.

Fusing the tough bass lines and relentless drum patterns of Jamaican reggae with U.S. stylish soul, elegant R&B and pulsating disco and funk rhythms, lovers rock almost became the antithesis to the dread riddims and conscious lyrics that reigned the Kingston and London sound systems at the time.

Lovers rock was an escape from the tough urban jungle of London and other big UK cities marked by racism and tough financial conditions. It was way a expressing heartaches and relationships as well as a tool for female vocalists to make themselves heard, and lovers rock is truly dominated by women, also manifested by the track list of this compilation – only five out of 25 tracks are sung by men.

Harmony, Melody & Style moves from some of the earliest cuts in the genre to its commercial explosion in the late 70’s and early 80’s to being an underground phenomenon in the 90’s.

The album includes classic tunes and ones rare as a hen’s teeth. Several of them are also extended, providing plenty of space for the mixing engineer and the players of instruments to shine. Just listen to the last one and a half minute of La Famille’s cover of Mary Jane Girls’ funky All Night Long. The interplay between the saxophone and trumpet is sublime.

The extensive liner notes – about 40 pages – is written by Soul Jazz Records’ founder and boss man Stuart Baker. It contains photography dating from the 50’s to the 80’s along with interviews and features on the artists, musicians and producers who helped define lovers rock and put it on the global music map.

Harmony, Melody & Style may not be the definitive lovers rock compilation since smash hits such as Janet Kay’s Silly Games and Brown Sugar’s I’m in Love With a Dreadlocks are missing. But those tunes can be found on almost any lovers rock compilation, and it’s a clever choice focusing on a less obvious collection of tracks, tracks just as great, but less known to other than hardcore collectors.

The album is available as a double CD pack with slipcase, digital download and as limited edition two gatefold sleeve double vinyl sets. The vinyl edition might be a bit expensive, but the investment is definitely worthwhile.

1 Comment

Filed under Record reviews