UK singer Bitty McLean has been around for some time now. He dropped his debut album in 1994, but was then away from the limelight for about seven years.
In 2006 a career-changer came about. That’s when he met veteran riddim section and production duo Sly and Robbie. Three years later they put out the excellent Movin’ On set and now it’s time for yet another first-rate effort.
The Taxi Sessions isn’t however a new Movin’ On. This ten track album – eight on the LP – is built on loops from familiar Sly and Robbie riddims from the early to mid 80s complete with freshly recorded horn overdubs.
It’s a mix of cultural and lovers themes and Bitty McLean’s honey-drenched voice suits the easy-going and bouncy riddims perfectly. This is harmonious and beautifully arranged reggae with lots of soul and charm.
The initial run of the LP and CD is already sold out. It will be available on high resolution audiophile online stores like Qobuz and HDTracks before it hits the regular digital platforms. So go and grab a copy while you can.
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.