The Mighty Lions is a French outfit, sometimes known as the Soul Agitators. In 2011 they dropped their debut set In This Time. Now its follow-up has been put out. In fine reggae tradition it collects both vocal cuts and their dub versions. All in all ten tracks – five dubs and five vocals.
Raw Reggae Tape is a laid back cocktail of 70s and early 80s Jamaican and UK reggae. Bands such as Matumbi, In Crowd and Steel Pulse spring to mind. Soulful with breezy horns. Never extravagant or fancy, rather straight forward and unpretentious.
The dubs are in the same vein, no flashy effects, just a no-nonsense focus on the drums and the bass. And you have to give props to the vocalist for showcasing his vintage toasting skills on Honda 125 Dub.
Raw Reggae Tape is yet another fine slice of reggae from France that is now available on LP and digital platforms.
My first encounter with Rebellion the Recaller – a French singjay of Gambian descent – was the very worthwhile Ken Boothe combination Pure and Strong from his international debut album Movin On, released in 2008 on the German label IM Music. Movin On – produced by the acclaimed Bobby “Digital” Dixon – was a decent album, but suffered from being too long.
Rebellion’s new album In This Time can be diagnosed with the same condition. It’s actually even worse since it contains three more tunes and it adds up to a total of 20 songs, at least five too many. Cohesiveness is not In This Times’ strongest suit.
Nowadays Rebellion lives in Germany and several of the tracks are produced by local producers such as Silly Walks and Germaica. It also contains a combination with German superstar Gentleman, a tune also included on his acclaimed album Diversity, put out in 2010.
And several of the songs have previously been released. You have Murderer on the Aspire riddim, the Shabu duet Keep Me Original on the Question? riddim and Don’t Give a Damn on the Bonafide riddim.
Rebellion is an excellent singjay and is at ease with one drop and dancehall as well as more hip-hop tinged beats.
But Movin On gives the impression of being rushed and the label should have put more energy into selecting the tunes. Now it just wanders in too many directions.