Tag Archives: Peckings

The Emeterians’ reggae journey

TheJourneyThe Emeterians – a vocal trio from Spain – has put out a beautiful new album. Vocal trios are unusual these days, but were very popular in the 60s and 70s when The Uniques, The Techniques, The Heptones and The Wailers ruled the dances. However, even in those days you hardly came across a trio consisting of both male and female vocalists.

This is the case with The Emeterians. They have three lead singers – two male and one female. And it’s an excellent set-up adding plenty of depth to the songs.

The Emeterians started more than ten years ago and in 2012 they decided to relocate to London, the European reggae capital. There they formed collaborations with Peckings and Stingray. And the alliance with Peckings has proved fruitful, since Chris Peckings has together with Cosme Deyah produced The Journey, which offers a variety of styles, including rocksteady, roots and lovers rock.

The 13 songs are recorded over vintage riddims from Peckings’ deep vaults as well as newly recorded ones, including a solid cover of The Abyssinians Y Mas Gaan, a version that puts much attention to the original version.

It’s a marvelous set showcasing the versatility and breath of both The Emeterians and reggae.

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Vintage vibes on Macka B’s Never Played a 45

unnamedUK’s number one cultural and humorous lyricist Macka B returns with a seriously solid effort produced by the Peckings Brothers – Chris and Duke. They’re sons of George “Daddy Peckings” Price who pioneered reggae music in the UK.

Never Played a 45 – with its title taken from Macka B’s popular single released in 2012 – showcases a witty and conscious wordsmith and all cuts are voiced over a deadly selection of classic early reggae and rocksteady riddims from the vaults of Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid and Bunny Lee.

Macka B has a deep voice and a slick flow and educates and uplifts when tackling social issues in the UK and abroad. But this set is not all about cultural numbers. The title track is – just as the title suggests – and ode to vinyl lovers.

But Macka B doesn’t judge anyone for using CD’s or a computer set-up – “well I’m not saying, that you should be playing the 45 7” only, but if you are able to go buy a turntable, you can also get them with a USB, it’s alright to play laptops, alright to play CD’s, it’s alright to play a MP3’s, but don’t leave out the vinyl, cause you can use them side by side with the modern technology, lawd…”.

Other stand-out tunes includes the beautiful and devout Phyllis Dillon combination One Life and the striking and spiritual Iternal Love with its seriously catchy chorus. The list of killer cuts could go on and on and when Their God fades out you immediately cry out – rewind!

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Vintage sounds from Lady Lex and Peckings

lady-lex-is-this-love-peckings-cd-29261-p[ekm]300x296[ekm]London-based lovers rock and R&B singer Lady Lex inked her first record deal in the mid-80s, but didn’t record much for a number of years. In 2012 an album produced by Peckings was slated for release, but it didn’t materialize until now. She has worked with Peckings since 2004 when she walked into the London shop and auditioned then and there.

Their first release together was I’m in the Mood for Love, voiced on the riddim she sang over in the store – Lonely Street. They have worked together ever since and Lady Lex has for example been featured on all three volumes of Peckings’ excellent Old Skool Young Blood series.

Is This Love is a hefty set with no less than 21 tracks, a mix of originals and covers, of which most are sung over vintage riddims. It’s a fine-tuned marriage between old school lovers rock sounds and a contemporary voice.

Several of the tracks are previously released and the set is something of a collection of singles. Included are strong cuts like Book of Job, on the sweet Break Up to Make Up riddim, God Bless the Child, on the smooth My Girl riddim, and Love Doctor, on the funky Can’t Stand It riddim.

Is This Love is a slick and vintage sounding set and it’s nice that Lady Lex and Peckings finally got it out on the streets.

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Sadiki’s messages of love still shine through

269112201-1U.S. based reggae singer Sadiki is mainly known for his journeys in the lovers rock genre, and his third and latest album Jah Is The Only King is described in a press release as a clear departure from his previous sound.

But don’t let the title or a press release fool you. This album is not a clear departure from what he has been doing for years. Sure, there are a bunch of tracks with cultural or conscious topics, but the majority of the album is dedicated to romance and affairs of the heart.

Even though the album is mostly smooth as a baby’s butt, it’s a well-produced and well-sung effort produced by a number of people from around the globe – Kemar “Flava” McGregor from the U.S. Chris Peckings and Lloyd Mullings from the UK, Arena 026 Music from the Netherlands, First T & Kross from France, Enjoint from Japan and HearMeNow from Switzerland.

Sadiki has proven numerous times before that he’s an excellent vocalist, and on this album he’s as great as always. It’s soulful, powerful and sometimes it sounds like he’s singing while walking on eggshells.

There are several songs worthy of special attention, particularly Lovers Flight over Leroy Sibbles’ Break Up To Make Up, the motherly celebration aptly titled Mama, the up-tempo and patois intense Destiny’s Child and Live Some Life, which borrows its horn part from Susan Cadogan’s Hurt So Good.

Jah Is The Only King might not be the cultural set implied by the title, but when the material is as strong as these twelve tracks I don’t really care about titles or topics. It’s the music that counts.

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Macka B aims to change the world

UK veteran artist Macka B is back with his first album in four years. His brand new set Change the World is released via his own imprint Chileno Records and produced in tandem with reggae revivalist Chris Peckings and the more contemporary flavored Iron Fist Productions. Invited are also notable guest artists Luciano, Earl 16, David Hinds from Steel Pulse and Lloyd Brown.

Macka B has as usual put together accessible, thoughtful and meaningful lyrics to the 16 cuts. He deals with equality in the acoustic punk-influenced Postcode War, sustainability in No Nuclear Energy “we don’t want no nuclear energy, nuclear power is the enemy”, medical marijuana in the clearly titled Medical Marijuana and Make a Claim, a clever take on slavery.

But Macka B also takes on lighter subjects. Never Played a 45 is an acclaimed vinyl love story on the 54-46 aka Boops riddim and in Reggae Daddy Macka B makes it perfectly clear that reggae is the cornerstone in several music genres developed in the UK – jungle, funky house, grime, dubstep and garage.

Even though Macka B usually described as an MC or singjay, on this set his delivery often leans more toward straight singing. And on contrary to many other singjays he sings with a nice pitch control.

Change the World may affect politicians, CEO’s and powerful decisions makers around the world, but it will most definitely change your record collection to the better.

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Old meets new in fine style

In the early 60’s George “Peckings” Price relocated from Jamaica to the UK. He is said to have been a close friend of producer and label owner Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, a very valuable connection when George Price set up his own record shop in London in 1974.

George Price passed away 20 years later and his sons Chris, Duke and Trevor took over the operations, and also started to make their own productions built on riddims from mainly Clement Dodd and the late Duke Reid.

Their debut album was Bitty McLean’s On Bond Street, which was released in 2005. It was followed by the compilations Old Skool Young Blood in 2006 and 2009 as well as Gappy Ranks’ debut album Put the Stereo On in 2010.

Now another slice of old meets new has arrived, and Old Skool Young Blood vol. 3 picks up where its predecessors left off. The 14 tunes include a number of Duke Reid’s finest cuts of rocksteady riddims. The vocals are provided by singers such as Gappy Ranks and Courtney John as well as lovers rock crooners Peter Hunnigale, Peter Spence, Sadiki and Bitty McLean.

The riddims are played by The Supersonics – an outfit led by master saxophonist Tommy McCook – and are beautifully crafted. You simply can’t go wrong with music like this. It’s smooth, melodic and infectious. Just like Gappy Ranks’ “ah ah ah ah aaaah” chorus in his Kooyah Kooyah.

George Price should be proud. His sons are doing a great job in keeping the reggae legacy alive.

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Sweet voiced Bitty McLean performs in Stockholm

Bitty McLean, one of UK’s finest reggae artists, will perform at Sthlm Reggae Klubb on Saturday September 25th.

Bitty McLean has recorded since the 90’s, mostly lovers oriented material. Last year he released his latest effort Movin’ On backed by veteran musicians such as Sly & Robbie and Dean Fraser.

But his best work is from 2004, when he dropped Peckings Presents…On Bond Street With The Supersonics. This album was produced by brothers Chris and Duke Peckings, who is behind Gappy Ranks acclaimed debut set Put The Stereo On, released last month.

A Peckings production essentially means vintage ska, rocksteady and reggae rhythms. And the Bitty McLean album is no exception. It’s a masterful combination of his soulful voice and some of the finest rocksteady ever recorded by Duke Reid and Tommy McCook in the 60’s.

Accompanying Bitty McLean is Swedish singjay talent Joey Fever, probably best know for Young Gunz, a massive combination tune with Million Stylez produced by Curtis Lynch.

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Gappy Ranks and Peckings dig deep in the record bins

Put the Stereo On, the debut album from British singer Gappy Ranks, has been preceded by a well orchestrated marketing campaign that started with the mixtape Stinkin’ Rich this winter.

A few months later Gappy Ranks dropped the EP Rising Out of the Ghetto, mainly dancehall based, including the hit tune Stinkin’ Rich.

The new album only bears a slight resemblance to the EP. It’s rather in the style of his hit song Heaven in Her Eyes from 2009, namely classic vintage rhythms with fresh vocals.

Heaven in Her Eyes was produced by Peckings. He’s also behind most of the productions on Put the Stereo On. The few tracks he didn’t produce are in the same vein, which contributes to the album’s homogenous sound.

Gappy Ranks is undoubtedly a talented artist with his own means of expression. His patois-heavy singin/singjay style has something pleasantly desperate about it, especially in the songs with a higher tempo.

Best is duet Soul Rebel with veteran Nereus Joseph, based on Lee Perry’s immortal Soul Rebel rhythm, or Heavy Load, a scorcher produced by Frenchie on the Creation Rebel rhythm originally from Studio One. The version used here is however signed by Bunny Lee.

It’s a real pleasure to note that Peckings has dusted off the great Treasure Isle rhythm I Can’t Hide, originally recorded by the versatile and way too under recorded Ken Parker.

The many great rhythms utilized on Put the Stereo On can hopefully introduce vintage reggae music to a whole new generation, so they can discover all this incredible music they didn’t know existed.

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Gappy Ranks makes music for the world

Britain has an almost equally long reggae history as Jamaica. In the 60’s the artists had names such as Dandy and Laurel Aitken. Since then, the scene has changed and given way to new genres dubstep and grime. But one that keeps the reggae Union Jack high is upcoming star Gappy Ranks, from Harlesden in London.

When I get hold of Gappy Ranks on the telephone he has just finished an interview on national radio. He’s happy and excited. Probably no surprise. His debut album Put the Stereo On hits the streets soon on legendary label Greensleeves and there is much to do, concerts and interviews on each other. Soon he will perform at festivals such as Glastonbury and Rototom Sunsplash.

Gappy Ranks was raised in London by a Jamaican father and a Dominican mother. He says that it was tough growing up, but that he has learned about several different cultures. The debut album is in part about his childhood. More precisely it’s about the togetherness created in front of the turntable at home.

The cover of Put the Stereo On is designed by legendary Greensleeves designer Tony McDermott

− When I was a child and my parents put a record on it was always about togetherness and that is what I want to say with the album and its title, says Gappy Ranks in a blend of patois and British English.

Homage to the past
Put the Stereo On is mainly produced by Peckings, whose trademark is the use of old rock steady and reggae rhythms. The album echoes of the 60’s and early 70’s, without sounding outdated. Bitty McLean’s classic album On Bond Street, also produced by Peckings, showed that it’s an excellent recipe.

− The record shows where I’m from. I want to pay homage to Studio One and the past. It’s easier to understand music if you know the past, he says, and adds:

− I love all type of music and embrace every genre. Music is about creating, learning and trying new stuff.

Favourite rhythms
Choosing favourite rhythms on the album is hard for him. But if he has to choose it’d be one originally recorded by Bob Marley and one which makes him enjoy himself.

− I really like Heaven in Her Eyes on Peckings Rebel riddim and Put the Stereo On, which is on the Hot Milk riddim. Every time I hear those trumpets I enjoy myself.

Put the Stereo On is significantly different from his mainly dancehall sounding EP Rising Out of the Ghetto, released this spring. When I ask him why he returns to the love of music.

− I’m just a music lover and hard to categorize. My singing is inspired by Sanchez and Wayne Wonder, but also Beenie Man. I’m a global person and I’m making music for the world.

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Luciano toughens up on United States of Africa

VP Records has almost sneaked out the new album from veteran singer Luciano and United States of Africa does not seem to have received the same promotion as I-Ternal Fire by Capleton or sensation Romain Virgo’s self-titled debut.

The new album shows a tougher side of Luciano compared to the smooth Dean Fraser productions on Jah is My Navigator from 2008. This time the production duties is mainly handled by Frenchie from Maximum Sound and the rhythms are provided by some of Jamaican’s top musical talents – Sly & Robbie, Dean Fraser, Robbie Lynn and Mafia & Fluxy

Frenchie utilizes some of his finest one drop rhythms. Among them I Know My Herbs, Vineyard Town and Zion Train. It also includes relicks of some great vintage rhythms, such as Creation Rebel, A Cup of Tea and the hard-hitting World A Music, probably best know for Welcome to Jamrock by Damian Marley. These strong rhythms combined with Luciano’s great voice is a perfect match.

On Luciano’s God is Greater Than Man album from 2007 he proved that he can handle rocksteady. On United States of Africa he proves it once again and actually even better this time. Moving On, produced by Chris Peckings, is a beautiful version of the Treasure Isle classic Only A Smile and makes a great soundtrack for the summer.

This is a powerful album that showcases Frenchie’s solid rhythms and Luciano’s vocal and lyrical capabilities. Don’t let this one slide.

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