February saw the release of the heavyweight compilation The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983. That compilation included three Talisman tunes – Run Come Girl (live), Wicked Dem (live) and an eleven minute long 12” version of Dole Age that wetted the appetite.
Other versions of these together with eight additional tunes are collected on the new Talisman compilation Dole Age – The 1981 Reggae Collection put out by Bristol Archive Records.
These 11 tracks from this far too unknown six pieced Bristol-based group are a mix of live and studio recordings made in 1981. The majority of the tunes was recorded live at the Glastonbury Festival and at Bath University and has never been properly released before.
All of the live performances are over five minutes. The sound quality is amazing and it at times feel like you are part of a jam session, especially in Words of Wisdom that spans over 14 minutes.
There is no coincidence that some of the tunes were recorded at a university since Talisman’s lyrics often deal with politics and experiences in the Thatcherite 80’s.
Despite the group’s acquaintance with the cold 80’s UK there is incredible warmth in their performances, and the often present saxophone adds to that feeling.
Dole Age – The 1981 Reggae Collection hit the streets on May 9 and is available on CD, digital download and a limited edition vinyl that includes five different tracks. I highly suggest you acquire the CD or vinyl edition since they include very informative liner notes and an interview with saxophonist Brendan Whitmore.