Tag Archives: From Creation

Yet another impressive set from Alpheus and Roberto Sánchez

disc-3153-alpheus-good-prevailsThree years ago UK singer Alpheus dropped the critically acclaimed rocksteady and ska-tinged album From Creation, and in an interview with United Reggae he said that he would from now on only record in the same vein. No more roots or one drop. Just the sweet and smooth sounds of early Jamaica.

He has kept this promise and together with Spanish producer Roberto Sánchez he has again recorded a sublime 14 track set that consists of striking relicks and fresh originals. And just as From Creation Good Prevails sounds authentic and vintage, almost as the album was recorded in the mid to late 60s.

Alpheus’ singing is warm and comforting and the live recorded riddims are heartfelt and soulful, spiced with plenty of bright horns and moody organ and guitar licks.

This album is impressive to say the least. So skip the poorly sounding rocksteady reissues and go for this meticulously constructed and well-produced set. This is the sound of real reggae music.

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Good prevails on Alpheus new album

disc-3153-alpheus-good-prevailsUK-based singer Alpheus teamed up with renowned Spanish producer Roberto Sánchez about four years ago and in 2011 the acclaimed album From Creation was released. It was a step in a new and different direction for both Alpheus and Roberto Sánchez.

From Creation was not the usual European one drop or hard Channel One roots reggae. It was something completely different – soulful rocksteady and swinging ska.

Now this duo has a new album – Good Prevails. It collects 14 tracks, of which two are melodica instrumentals. It also offers a mix of fresh originals and re-vitalized versions of riddims created by Coxsone Dodd, Phil Pratt and Winston Riley.

Good Prevails hits the streets on LP and CD on April 28. If you can’t wait to hear how it sounds, check Our Strength taken from the album.

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Roberto Sánchez knows vintage reggae

Trying to imitate or copy a sound without sounding dull is tough. Many have tried but few have succeeded. Roberto Sánchez from Santander in north Spain has however managed to produce records that are both foundation rocksteady and roots reggae. Reggaemani got a chat with him from his studio on the day Alpheus new album From Creation hit the streets.

Roberto Sánchez is a talented man. He is a producer, engineer, singer, song writer and musician. He also owns and operates A-Lone Ark Muzik Studio and A-Lone Productions (his label) as well as heads the Lone Ark Riddim Force, a live and studio band.

The label was created in 1997 and has since its inception released tunes from both veterans and newcomers.

Last January saw the acclaimed release of And God Said to Man from foundation singer Earl Zero. That album was in a style that Roberto Sánchez is most comfortable with – late 70’s roots.

The new album from Alpheus is a completely different story. From Creation is all about rocksteady and ska – Jamaican music from the 60’s – and is based on riddims from producers Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid and one of the many unsung heroes of reggae – Phil Pratt.

“It’s like a old picture”
 “I’ve always loved Studio One productions and the productions just before Jackie Mittoo left for Canada. You know the tunes from Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson and Ken Boothe. They’re amazing”, says Roberto Sánchez, and continues giving a comparison between two legendary labels:

“Treasure Isle has always had a more sophisticated sound. I love the rawness of Studio One. It’s warm and not a lot of clarity. It’s like an old picture”.

Rocksteady for the first time
But the album is not entirely based on other producers’ riddims. Roberto has managed to pen a few by himself as well.

“I wasn’t really into rocksteady before I did this album and I had never worked with this kind of riddims. My aim sound is late 70’s and Channel One”, he says, and continues:

“In the 60’s in Jamaica they were doing it U.S style. It was quality back then. Just listen to Lynn Taitt’s guitar play. In the 70’s it was rawer. In rocksteady they tried to be musicians in the full sense of the word”.

Started recording in 2006
From Creation has taken some time to record. Roberto and Alpheus met in 2006 and the first tune they recorded was Ultimate, a cut of Phil Pratt’s Dirty Dozen, originally performed by trombonist Vincent “Don D Junior” Gordon.

 “Already back then, we thought of doing an album together. The album was recorded between 2006 and 2010. It was finished last summer and it took some time to decide how to release it. We decided to do it ourselves”, he says, and continues to explain how he and Alpheus work together:

“We complement each other. Alpheus knows ska and rocksteady very well and I know minor chords riddims. And the results are amazing”.

Even though From Creation only has been out for about a week, critics have already praised it.

“We have had great response so far from media and radio. Many people seem to like the album”, he says and continues:

“I think people like it because it has original feelings. It’s from a golden era in Jamaican music. It’s also made with care and love. It has an amazing style and I think it’s Alpheus best work yet. It’s just pure loving’”.

More to come
Some of the finest music in the rocksteady era was made by vocal harmony groups like the Gaylads, the Melodians, the Techniques and the Uniques. Roberto is thrilled by the idea of making this kind of music again.

“It would be amazing to record a vocal group. The Viceroys are touring now and they would be my first choice. Tetrack would also fit on a rocksteady riddim”, he says.

But that is not in the pipeline. Not yet anyhow. Instead Roberto has plans to put out singles from Linval Thompson and Keith Rowe (Keith in Keith & Tex, responsible for hit song Stop That Train). Keith Rowe has voiced two riddims on the From Creation album.

“I’ve also started recording a showcase album from Milton Henry. It’ll be released next year. There’ll be no more albums from me this year”, he explains and continues:

“I also hope to do some more dub versions from the From Creation album. We also recorded a lot more than what’s on the album. Those songs will hopefully be put out as 7, 10 or 12 inches”.

A FEW FAST ONES TO ROBERTO SÁNCHEZ

Favourite artist/group?
Naggo Morris

Favourite label? 
Many!!! Observer

Favourite album?  
Johnny Osbourne – Truths and Rights

Favourite tune?
At the moment Little Roy’s False Talk

Favourite producer?
Dennis Bovell

Favourite riddim?
Studio One and Cornell Campbell´s Stars

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Alpheus takes it from the foundation

London born singer Alpheus has together with talented Spanish producer Roberto Sánchez managed to create one of the better albums I’ve heard in a while.

From Creation consists of sixteen tunes of pure ska and rocksteady magic recorded with live instruments. There are twelve vocal cuts, two instrumentals and two dub versions. Seven of the tracks are relicks of riddims from producer Coxsone Dodd and the more obscure – but just as great – Phil Pratt. The other five are written by the duo themselves.

And interestingly enough the tunes penned by the duo are just as good as the relicks. The haunting Far Away and the stomping We Are Strong could easily have been written in the 60’s.

Alpheus singing is inspired. By the natural way he rides the riddims it certainly seems like he has enjoyed the time in the studio. His powerful tenor is deep, soulful and sometimes dramatic, such as in the minor chord masterpiece From Creation, which is nicely complemented by an intense percussion driven dub version. It’s as if Roberto Sánchez had invited legendary Jamaican percussionist Bongo Herman to the session.

From Creation is obviously created by people who love music. It’s carefully made by the exact blend of heart, mind and soul. A must have in any good record collection.

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