Tag Archives: Makasound

Black Roots’ singles showcase a band in fine form

My first encounter with UK-band Black Roots was in a record store about ten years ago. The store had the original vinyl press of their album In Session up on the wall and I asked the clerk if I could have a listen.

I enjoyed the album, but since it was expensive I didn’t buy it and thought that I could spend my money on other records instead. About a week flew by and I regretted that I had neglected the album. I went back to the store, but the album had been sold and I haven’t seen an original vinyl press of that album since.

Luckily enough French label Makasound decided to reissue that particular album as well as an compilation with Black Roots’ material entitled On the Frontline a while ago.

Now another compilation dedicated to one of the – if not the – best reggae acts from the UK has been put out. This time by Bristol Archive Records in collaboration with Nubian Records – Black Roots’ own label.

Black Roots – The Reggae Singles Anthology assembles 16 well-mastered tracks spanning from the early 80’s up until 1988, when they were working with Mad Professor.

It includes all of their key early singles, their first EP in its entirety, the three track follow up, the original single mix of The Frontline from the BBC series of the same name and five tracks from later releases, such as singles from albums put out in 1987 and 1988.

Those five tracks are actually what make this album musically different from the Makasound releases. So the key question is – are the five tracks worth having?

The answer is yes. But, they are more pop oriented than the other material. And they sound a bit more dated.

A 16 page booklet full of previously unpublished photos of the band comes with the album. The initial run of CDs also has an added bonus – a DVD issue of the hard to find live show Celebration from 1986 with Vin Gordon on trombone. This show was recorded at the Bristol Studio and was previously only available on the original self-financed video cassette issue.

If you don’t already own the Makasound albums or other Black Roots material you should definitely head over to your local record store. Otherwise this album makes a great complement, especially if you’re early and receives the DVD.

Black Roots – The Reggae Singles Anthology comes as a limited edition double vinyl, CD and digital download.

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Makasound files for bankruptcy

There has been some rumors circulating that independent French reissue label Makasound has gone bankrupt. This news is sadly now official on the label’s web site, and co-founder and owner Nicholas Maslowski has also confirmed this in an interview with newspaper Jamaican Observer.

Makasound was founded in 2002 by Nicholas Maslowski and Romain Germa and has put out 28 reissues in eight years. According to Jamaican Observer, Makasound had an accumulated debt amounting to millions of Jamaican dollars.

The reason behind the bankruptcy is according to Nicholas Maslowski illegal downloading, and he notes that “French people are the biggest illegal downloaders in the world”.

Nicholas Maslowski also criticizes contemporary reggae and the Jamaican music industry as well as blaming the Jamaican government for not doing enough for keeping roots reggae alive.

This is not the first reggae reissue label filing for bankruptcy. In 2007 the widely known Blood and Fire label closed its operations and in 2009 Motion Records did the same thing.

There are however some reissue labels left. Dug Out just put out the Tempo Explosion compilation and the single Sheriff John Brown by the late Sugar Minott. Pressure Sounds will release a new Lee “Scratch” Perry compilation in April and VP Records subsidiary 17 North Parade is putting out a regular stream of great reissues. There are also labels such as Soul Jazz, Rock A Shacka, Digikiller Records, Jamaican Recordings and Kingston Sounds.

Hopefully all of these will be able to remain their operations intact.

However, the world won’t be the same without a label that has put out gems such as Black Roots’ In Session, Knowledge’s Straight Outta Trenchtown, Rastafarians’ Orthodox, Leroy Brown’s Color Barrier and the various artists compilation Rub a Dub Soldiers.


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Omar Perry har hittat formen

Omar Perry2009 är reggaebarnens år. Först ut var Queen Ifrica. Sen var det Tarrus Rileys tur. Och nu har stafettpinnen nått Lee Perrys son Omar Perry.

Can’t Stop Us Now är Omar Perrys uppföljare till 2007-års debut Man Free. Debuten var en solid insats som blandade roots med lovers med ska med dancehall. Lite spretig med andra ord, men en klart godkänd debut.

Den nya plattan är betydligt mer sammanhållen jämfört med sin föregångare. Här finns exempelvis ingen ska, men väl två dancehallutflykter och lite nyabinghi-takter.

Dancehallåtarna Right Right Left och Bring Me Joy är inte plattans starkaste och Omar Perry borde hålla sig till det han kan bäst – roots.

Omar Perrys sånginsatser påminner stundtals om Junior Kelly och Alborosie. Hans lätt arga singjay-stil passar mycket bra tillsammans med de poppigare tongångarna i avslutande Spiritually och den nyabinghi-influerade och lejonkungendoftande 911 (Memorial).

Omar Perry spelar säkert hela skivan igenom. Arvet från hans far märks på en cover av Junior Byles klassiska Beat Down Babylon och en version av Max Romeos Chase the Devil.

Av pappa Perrys experimentlusta märks inte mycket annat än en fet och annorlunda version av Ini Kamozes World a Music som gjorts världskänd genom Damian ”Jr. Gong” Marleys Welcome to Jamrock. Omar Perrys version heter Boom Town och är en riktigt stökig historia.


Filed under Recensioner