Radio jockey and producer Blundetto has dropped a new album, an unusual and unique set full of sonic surprises and imaginative arrangements and instruments.
It presents a cocktail of low-key instrumental tracks and laid-back vocal cuts featuring talents such as Biga Ranx, Jahdan Blakkamoore, Marina P, John Milk and Pupa Jim.
World of is melancholic, earthly and atmospheric. Sometimes it leans towards electro lounge music and sometimes it’s more reggae-oriented, like Biga Ranx’ airy Above the Water, Marina P’s elegant Last Broken Bones, a track custom-made for a blunted jazz club in Paris, or Jahdan Blakkamoore’s stylish Work.
This set is not your ordinary reggae album and Blundetto is not afraid of thinking out of the box.
Reggae and soul have since the 60s had a fruitful and productive relationship. Rocksteady is for example more or less based on U.S. soul and the genre and its groups and artists were influenced by The Impressions, The Temptations and Al Green, just to mention a few.
Reggae adaptations of soul hits have been too many to mention and several of them have been extremely popular, one of the most notable examples is probably Bob Andy & Marcia Griffiths’s cover of Nina Simone’s Young, Gifted & Black, which reached number 5 in the UK Singles Chart in 1970.
France’s Undisputed Records has now put out a compilation where contemporary reggae artists cover soul songs, several of them bona fide classics originally issued in 60s.
It’s an excellent compilation that gives these nuggets a fresh and modern reggae treatment. It also presents these gems to a new audience, an audience that might not have been exposed to their parents or grandparents favourite songs.
Of course it’s hard – or impossible – to outshine the original versions. But Marina P certainly gives Wendy Rene’s I Wish I Were That Girl a run for its money. Same goes for the big voiced Maikal X and his cover of Bobby Bland’s I Wouldn’t Treat a Dog (The Way You Treated Me).
Other highlights include Diana Rutherford’s powerful version of Ann Peebles’ Trouble, Heartaches and Sadness and Faye & Mystic Loic’s swinging take on California Soul, originally sung by The Messengers, but made famous by The 5th Dimension and later by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell and Marlena Shaw.
Chezidek & Skarra Mucci’s Sunny, originally performed by Bobby Hebb, is also strong, even though it might have been even better without the fragile voice of Chezidek. Skarra Mucci alone would probably have been a wiser voice.
Don’t miss out on this compilation. It’s lovely that Undisputed Records takes reggae back to some of its roots.
In November last year Italian singer Marina P’s debut album My Homeys reached the streets. Unfortunately it received little or no attention at all, despite a number of acclaimed producers being involved, for example Jahtari, Mungo’s Hi-Fi and Stand High Patrol.
Marina P was born in Italy, but has moved to Paris, France, where she currently resides. She made a name for herself in 2007 when she voiced the mighty ska banger Divorce à L’ialienne for Mungo’s Hi-Fi.
My Homeys doesn’t include any ska flavours, instead it boasts a number of other bass heavy genres, including dub, dubstep, dancehall and of course reggae. All seasoned with soul and digital effects.
This forward-thinking set shows Marina P balancing singing with singjaying and she has a confident, seductive and nasal tone, demonstrated in fine style on a version of Marlena Shaw’s Woman of the Ghetto, on album opener Free Me and on the infectious Soulless, which has its riddim laid down by Sly & Robbie.
Fans of well-produced, bass boosted and progressive reggae should definitely check out My Homeys.