UK-based producer Frenchie of Maximum Sound has once again joined forces with renowned producer and mixing engineer Russ Disciples for another set of devastating slices of UK roots and dub.
Together the duo operates the Calabash imprint, a label devoted to hardcore UK roots, steppers and dub. And that is precisely what Calabash Selection Vol. 2 and its counterpart Calabash Dub Vol. 2 offer.
All tracks on the albums are played and mixed by Russ Disciples at his Backyard Studios. Some of the material have been previously released on vinyl, but the majority of the mixes differ from the originals. A couple of the riddims are also different compared to the previously released ones.
Fans of Maximum Sound and Russ Disciples will be pleased with this compilation. Russ Disciples has reworked several lethal Maximum Sound originals, including Tarrus Riley’s excellent Chant Rastafari, Luciano’s Perilous Times, on which he showcases some nice deejay skills, and Yami Bolo’s passionate Jah is the Fire.
The two albums doesn’t fully correspond with each other since the dub version has eleven and not nine cuts, but that won’t stop you from creating your own wicked showcase album using Spotify or iTunes.
A new flagship compilation from UK-based producer Frenchie and his Maximum Sound label collects a whopping 18 tracks across six different riddims released over the past 18 months or so along with two exclusive bonus cuts – one from rising star Masicka and one from incarcerated dancehall don Vybz Kartel.
And a bunch of veteran and rising vocalists take turns on the microphone. Included are Maximum Sound regulars like Luciano, Tarrus Riley, Anthony B and Mr. Vegas, but also several up and coming talents, for example Loyal Flames, Jesse Royal, Randy Valentine, Dre Island and Exco Levi. As usual when dealing with tunes coming from the mighty Maximum Sound all singers are on top of their game.
Konshens and Romain Virgo are inspired on the up-tempo We No Worry Bout’ Them, and so is Randy Valentine on his smooth Victory and Loyal Flames on his dread Go Hard.
But you really can’t go wrong with any of the tracks on this compilation. It captures the essence of the contemporary reggae and dancehall scene with a little something for everyone, whether you are a roots aficionado, a dancehall connoisseur, a rocksteady enthusiast or just want to have a little bit of fun on the dance floor.
On July 7th UK label Maximum Sound drops a new compilation titled Maximum Sound 2014, a set packed with 20 tracks from the cream of today’s reggae and dancehall scene including songs from Jah Cure, Tarrus Riley, Konshens, Romain Virgo, Christopher Martin, Mr Vegas, Luciano, Randy Valentine, Gappy Ranks, Exco Levi, Cecile and more.
Included are also no less than two exclusive tracks. Both Vybz Kartel’s Ghetto Youth Make It In Life (2k14 Re-Fix) and up and coming dancehall sensation Masicka’s After Life have never been released before in any format.
Cuts of all of Maximum Sound’s most recent riddims are represented – from Jah Blessings, King Tubby’s Dub Plate Style and Imperial Crown to Tin Mackerel, Mightiest and Number One Station.
And as usual with Maximum Sound – all tracks are signed and sealed by the mighty Frenchie and were recorded between Kingston and London.
Maximum Sound 2014 will only be available via digital download.
Super producer Frenchie from the UK has three new riddims up for release on his Maximum Sound imprint, a highly reliable source for some of the finest contemporary roots and dancehall.
Imperial and Jah Blessings are two original high voltage riddims with tough bass lines and moody keyboards. Vocals is provided by a number of top Jamaican artists, several being from the current roots revival movement, for example Dre Island, Jesse Royal, Addis Pablo, Exco Levi and Loyal Flames. But a number of more well-known artists also pop up – Luciano and Jah Cure, just to name two.
Then we have King Tubby’s Dub Plate Style. A vintage riddim and a cut to Bunny Lee’s Ali Baba riddim, voiced by John Holt and probably a few others too. This riddim comes with vocals by Gappy Ranks, Randy Valentine, Ras Demo, Captain Sinbad and Tony Curtis.
They are all coming out in early June on 7” and digital download. Check the promo mixes over at Youtube.
Looking 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.
In the history of reggae music it’s often referred to labels and producers in the so-called golden era, i.e. the 70’s and Bob Marley’s heydays. Lee Perry at Black Ark, Coxsone Dodd at Studio One and Duke Reid at Tresure Isle regularly pops up.
But there are of course many, many other key labels and producers, and one of the most important ones in recent years is Frenchie, who operates and owns Maximum Sound and its subsidiaries Calabash, Pull Up My Selecta! and the most recent addition Maximum Sound Bwoy Killers.
He has run Maximum Sound for 20 years and has put out a truckload of hard-bouncing dancehall and spiritual and relentless roots and culture, including Junior Kelly’s Tough Life, Fantan Mojah’s Stronger and Sean Paul’s Back Off. He was also involved in the creation of the world famous Diwali riddim and served as executive producer for Mr. Vegas’ breakthrough album Heads High.
Since it’s Maximum Sound’s 20th anniversary this year I had a chat with Frenchie about his career, the music industry and a broken fridge. Check the full story over at United Reggae and be sure to keep an eye out for an anniversary compilation dropping on September 16.
Captain Sinbad in Jamaica where his new album was recorded.
Captain Sinbad’s debut album The Seven Voyages of Captain Sinbad from 1982 is one of my favorite early deejay dancehall albums. And despite its greatness and eye-catching cover sleeve, Captain Sinbad is rather unknown in the reggae music business compared to some of his contemporaries.
He recorded another two albums and a number of singles in the 80’s and then went on to producing and being an important figure behind the scenes.
His new album Reggae Music Will Mad Unu! is his first after being away from the limelight for a very long time. To do another album, or to record again for that matter, Frenchie of Maximum Sound had to persuade him back into the studio. His initial new singles Jamaica 50, Worldwide Rebellion and Capital Offence went down really well among the record buyers.
I had the opportunity to have a chat with Captain Sinbad when he was in Jamaica “having fun in the sun” as he described it. He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever interviewed and we talked about the new album, the early dancehall scene and his respect for Frenchie. Check the full story over at United Reggae.
About ten years ago I stumbled upon an LP with a wicked cover sleeve in a record shop. I knew the label, Greensleeves, and the producer, Henry “Junjo” Lawes, but I had never heard of the artist – Captain Sinbad.
Judging by the cover, the producer and the label I bought the album. And I was blown away. Completely. Apart from The Seven Voyages of Captain Sinbad I haven’t found any of this deejay’s scarce output. The man also retired from the limelight about 20 years ago. Fortunately enough Frenchie of Maximum Sound has persuaded him back into the public eye.
His first recording after these 20 years was the lethal Worldwide Rebellion on the Skateland Killer riddim released two years back. And last year he dropped the equally lethal Capital Offence and Jamaica 50.
These three eminent tracks are now followed by an album – Reggae Music Will Mad Unu! – for Frenchie’s Maximum Sound imprint. It collects eleven fresh and original tunes, of which five are vocal cuts, five are dub versions and one is a vocal and dub in one.
Just like Captain Sinbad’s debut album it has magnificent cover art and the music is, again, just as great. Frenchie has taken hip-hop, roots and early dancehall and made one hell of an album. It’s crisp and clear and sounds like Henry Lawes would have resurrected from the dead and started to produce again. It’s vintage, but never nostalgic. This is how contemporary reggae and dancehall should sound.
Reggae Music Will Mad Unu! is available on vinyl. The album will also soon be made available on digital platforms, but that edition has a different track listing and doesn’t include the dub versions, versions that are crucial to say the least.
In late June I summarized the first six months of the year with a selection of my 15 favorite tunes yet. The list included two tracks – Captain Sinbad’s Capital Offence and Tarrus Riley’s Chant Rastafari – on the mighty Maximum Sound label, and if Luciano’s Perilous Times on the Dance Ruler riddim would have been issued at the time it would definitely also have made the list.
These three songs along with 16 more are collected on the compilation Maximum Sound 2012. As the title suggests it is made up from the label’s vinyl releases this year, which means the riddims Most Royal, Leggo di Riddim, the aforementioned Dance Ruler and Rude Bwoy Be Nice, a clever relick of Ini Kamoze’s England Be Nice, a track recently utilized by Don Corleon for Protoje’s Kingston Be Nice.
As usual with material from producer Frenchie and Maximum Sound the crème de la crème of Jamaican artists are featured and there’s a no filler rule applied, which makes the selection strong as concrete. Do yourself a favor and go check this digital only compilation immediately.
Legendary French deejay and singer duo Raggasonic is back after a ten year hiatus, where Big Red and Daddy Mory wanted to focus on their solo careers. Reputedly “everyone” has over the years asked them when they would link again, and apparently the pressure to record together became too hard.
Raggasonic 3 is their highly anticipated third album and it picks up just where Raggasonic 2 left off 15 years ago, and the new album is a natural follow-up and happily enough it offers more of the same good old Raggasonic.
It might have to do with world-renowned French producer Frenchie, who has been instrumental in shaping Raggasonic’s sound. He’s fortunately onboard again, but he’s not sole producer, and DJ Vadim, Animal Son, Central Massive and Young Veterans have also contributed with material to the album.
All riddims are brand new, except for Dans La Rue, backed by Frenchie’s Eek-A-Mouse-inspired Skateland Killer riddim, and offers a variety of styles and directions, including hip-hop, roots reggae, dancehall and electronica.
Raggasonic has never shied away from tough lyrical content, and on Raggasonic 3 the duo sings about the tough realities facing many people today, especially the younger generation. And they do it with passion and burning intensity.
This is an urban and contemporary effort, and even though it might not sell double gold, as the debut album did, but Raggasonic will hopefully appeal to a much wider audience today than 15 years ago. Don’t let the language be a barrier, and check out this solid album.