Tag Archives: Nubian Records

A polished set worth reissuing

When talking about vintage UK roots reggae, groups such as Aswad, Steel Pulse and Misty in Roots usually come up. One of my all time favorite UK roots reggae outfits from the 70’s or early 80’s is however Bristol’s Black Roots, a group whose debut album from 1983 includes eight rock solid tunes.

Last year British label Bristol Archive Records teamed up with Black Roots’ own Nubian Records in order to drop the critically acclaimed Black Roots – The Reggae Singles Anthology, a set collecting several immensely strong tracks.

Now Bristol Archive Records have once more been allowed into the Black Roots/Nubian tape vaults.

This time it’s about a 25th anniversary deluxe CD edition of the group’s fourth album All Day All Night, a set where they teamed up with Mad Professor and moving away from their original sound for a more polished version, embracing new technology and production techniques to present a more – at the time – contemporary UK sound.

The music may have been brought up to date, but the lyrics concerned the same themes of social and historical justice that define the roots genre.

All Day All Night originally included twelve tunes, and this deluxe edition adds another six – five dub versions and an extended 12” mix of Pin in the Ocean
 
All Day All Night is certainly worth reissuing, even if it sounds a bit more dated than their earlier and more roots oriented material. But even if lavish synthesizers are overused on some tracks, you can’t go wrong with the breezy nonchalant vocals in Realize or the mighty horn riff in Pin in the Ocean.

Bristol Archive Records have as usual paid attention to detail and to complement the re-mastered music, the booklet includes many previously unpublished photos of the band.

Available now on CD and digital download.

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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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