Tag Archives: Pressure Sounds

Killer Lloyd Parks compilation on Pressure Sounds

Layout 1 (Page 1)The latest album coming from reissue giant Pressure Sounds is another great one. And it’s not dedicated to Yabby You, Bunny Lee or Lee Perry. This one is all about bass maestro and soulful vocalist Lloyd Parks, probably best known for being an in-demand session musician.

Lloyd Parks started his career as one half of rocksteady duo The Termites and later he became a solo singer as well as a prominent guitar player and bass virtuoso. Back in the 70s he was part of no less than six different powerful musical forces – The Professionals, The Aggrovators, The Upsetters, The Revolutionaries, Skin Flesh & Bones and We The People Band.

As a session musician he has over the years played on countless of classics, including major hits such as Ken Boothe’s Everything I Own, Max Romeo’s War Inna Babylon, Dave & Ansel’s Double Barrel and The Wailers’ Soul Rebel. Lloyd Parks is also the mastermind behind the Slaving riddim, often miscredited to Glen Brown.

This hefty set comes with 22 track, including Slaving and its version. And the remaining 20 cuts are just as great and demonstrate Lloyd Parks’ gift for writing socially conscious lyrics and catchy melodies.

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Beware – a Yabby You dub album has been reissued

unnamedYabby You’s dub album Beware has been unavailable for about 25 years, but has thanks to Pressure Sounds been restored and reissued complete with no less than six superb bonus cuts.

Beware – which collects version sides from various singles – was originally released in 1978 and reissued in 1981 and 1991. The new version is greatly expanded with two fascinating and previously unreleased dubplate cuts, one is the eerie Conquering Lion, which is even more dread in its dubplate disguise, and the other one God is Watching You. This version is haunting with deep harmonies and nyabinghi drumming.

Other stellar cuts include Tommy McCook’s beautiful Sensimena and the powerful Peace with its smattering percussion, relentless bass line and bright saxophone.

King Tubby and Prince Jammy handled mixing duties and as expected it’s clever and innovative spotlighting the bass and drums, yet highlighting other prominent instruments, such as horns and keys.

A key dub album that still sounds powerful.

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Roll the tape – Bunny Lee & Friends rocking and swinging

unnamedAbout a year ago reissue giants Pressure Sounds issued a killer Bunny Lee compilation titled Next Cut!. Now comes another one collecting more of the same, i.e. unreleased versions, alternate takes and hard to find gems from the Bunny Lee vaults.

Tape Rolling! is however focused on an earlier part of Bunny Lee’s insanely long career. The collection spans 1971-1974, a period when Bunny Lee worked with the hottest musicians on the island and managed to put out loads of hits, including Eric Donaldson’s festival winner Cherry Oh Baby and John Holt’s Stick By Me, both tracks included, but not the original versions.

This is a fascinating album with lots of excitement – check Big Joe’s excellent take on Count Prince Miller’s Mule Train – and creativity – listen to I Roy’s mystic chant on Noisy Place, a version of The Paragons’ Man Next Door.

The tracks collected were recorded at a time when smaller and up and coming producers were taking over from the more established ones, like Clement “Coxsone” Dodd and Duke Reid. These producers were not afraid of experimenting and had lots of imagination. No musical boundaries, just great music.

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Tough rhythms on Dub in Blood

Dub in BloodBand names in reggae history. That could easily be an interesting chapter in any thorough book about the reggae scene. The Aggrovators, The Revolutionaries, Roots Radics, Soul Syndicate are a handful of creative ones.

You also have Skin, Flesh & Bones. And their scarce Dub in Blood aka The Best Dub Album in the World from the mid-70s is the first release of 2016 on Pressure Sounds. It’s produced by Phil Pratt, recorded at Channel One and mixed by Ernest Hoo Kim and Ossie Hibbert and collects dub to vocal cuts by Al Campbell and Earl George aka George Faith.

It comes with the original ten cuts adding two bonus tracks to the LP version and another two on the CD edition. One of the bonus cuts is a dub of Al Campbell’s eerie Natty Band Wagon recorded at Lee Perry’s Black Ark studio.

Dub in Blood is naked and not loaded with studio wizardry. The tough riddims speak for themselves. And it’s definitely a solid and strong album, but naming it The Best Dub Album in the World might be exaggerating it a bit.

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Mr Perry I Presume shows a creative mastermind in full flow

Layout 1 (Page 25)After a large number of Lee Perry and Bunny Lee compilations on UK reissue giant Pressure Sounds one might think that the vaults would be more or less empty by now. But no. That wasn’t the case on Pressure Sounds’ mighty Bunny Lee compilation Next Cut! released a few months ago, and that’s not the issue with yet another set shining light on Lee Perry – one of the most innovative producers in popular music.

Mr Perry I Presume collects rare tracks and exclusive mixes, mixes that were only ever heard by those that went to particular sound system dances. The tracks range from remixes and existing classics to obscure cuts that never reached the shelves. Included are recordings from the period before and during Lee Perry’s Black Ark studio.

Out of the 16 songs 14 are previously unreleased. Particularly interesting is Joy White’s Lay Besides You, the original vocal to Susan Cadogan’s famous Hurst so Good, but also Susan Cadogan’s duet with Bunny Rugs on the same riddim.

An exciting version of The Gatherers’ haunting Words of My Mouth is also included. It’s described as an acapella version, but it’s not. It’s a very different version though. It’s captivating and even more dread than the original.

Pressure Sounds continue to plug the gaps in reggae history and Lee Perry’s unreleased catalogue is obviously not exhausted and this collection of dubplates, alternate mixes and unreleased cuts is essential and consistent.

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Killer new Bunny Lee compilation on Pressure Sounds

untitledThere’s a ton of Bunny Lee compilations out on the market and there are several new released each year, which makes it hard to know which ones to get and which ones to leave in the bin.

You can however always rely on UK reissue giant Pressure Sounds. Their latest album collects 18 tracks – 16 on the vinyl version – produced by Bunny Lee and comprises rare sides, one-off dubplate specials and alternate takes of classics. Several being previously unreleased and transferred from their original 10” acetates.

Most of the tracks on Next Cut are raw, especially the dubplates, and most of these unique mixes are heavy, sparse and militant. You can hear the mixing engineer try and test delay and echo effects on a classic like Blood Dunza from Johnny Clarke. This version also comes complete with vocal interjections from an unknown deejay, possibly U Brown according to the excellent and thorough liner notes.

Two of the brightest highlights are however carefully arranged horn instrumentals. Vin Gordon’s bright Enforcement is a true masterpiece and so is Tommy McCook’s Middle Eastern Death Trap. But let’s not forget Barry Biggs & Tommy McCook’s Taptone Special or Wayne Jarrett’s minimalistic masterpiece Satta Dread, both followed by a lethal dub version. Murder style!

But this compilation is more than music. It’s also kind of a historical document since it gives snapshots of the recording process. You can hear false starts, shouting and studio chatter. And all this paints a vivid picture of what was happening in the studio.

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Next cut on Pressure Sounds

Layout 1 (Page 1)In late June premier UK reissue label Pressure Sounds unleashes yet another compilation with Bunny Lee produced material.

This 19 track set (17 on the vinyl version) collects a mix of alternate takes on a number of well-known tracks along with dub plates and few “overlooked” gems. Artists represented on Next Cut are, among others, Johnny Clarke, Tommy McCook and Cornell Campbell.

A 10” with four previously unreleased dub versions, produced by Bunny Lee, will accompany the release.

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Stellar compilation presents Jimmy Riley at his best

366If you are in a hurry and need to know about Jimmy Riley’s Live It To Know It, five words – get it, it is essential. I you want the story you can continue.

Jimmy Riley – father of acclaimed contemporary reggae singer Tarrus Riley – started his career in the mid-60 as part of rocksteady vocal harmony group The Sensations, an outfit that also included sublime falsetto singer Cornel Campbell. After a while he left that group and formed The Uniques with another renowned falsetto singer – Slim Smith.

After several hit singles with The Uniques, including My Conversation, one of the best rocksteady cuts ever recorded, he went solo and started recording with the likes of Lee Perry, Bunny Lee and Sly & Robbie, with whom he recorded easy-skanking solo hits like Love and Devotion and Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing, a song that topped reggae charts in 1983.

On UK reissue label Pressure Sounds’ 87th release they have focused on Jimmy Riley, but not his most well-known cuts. No, Live It To Know It collects self-produced material recorded approximately between 1975 and 1984. And this is message music. It’s roots music with sparse arrangements and minor chords, and Jimmy Riley sings about immigration, poverty, struggles, equality and justice.

Live It To Know It contains 17 songs and is long overdue. Jimmy Riley is one of many often overlooked Jamaican singers. He has a stellar tenor voice with a bit of grittiness to it. It’s emotive, pleading and heartfelt. He’s a bona-fide soul singer.

This album has everything a great reissue should have – excellent music, discomixes, devastating dub versions, good audio quality, scarce material and vivid liner notes. It collects nothing but the best and it captures Jimmy Riley at his finest.

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A reggae favourite reissued on Pressure Sounds

Layout 1 (Page 1)The latest reissue on Pressure Sounds is a classic nine track roots set by The Inturns. Consider Yourself aka Detour was produced by Phil Pratt and originally released on the Chanan-Jah label in 1978. Another version followed the year after, and that album was titled Detour and issued on Burning Rockers.

The Inturns started as The Viceroys in the 60s, but also recorded under the name Truth Fact And Correct. The Viceroys was originally a vocal harmony trio led by Wesley Tingling, who learned harmony singing in Trenchtown from the great Joe Higgs, a singer that also tutored Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.

The Viceroys recorded for several different producers, including Duke Reid, Derrick Morgan, Lee Perry and Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, for whom they cut the catchy Ya Ho, a track included on Consider Yourself and recorded in several different versions over the years.

In the 70s The Viceroys split up and Wesley Tinglin regrouped as The Inturns together with his neighbour and workmate Neville Ingram. Now a duo they began working with Phil Pratt on the excellent Consider Yourself album.

The original version of this album comes with nine tracks, but Pressure Sounds has added two bonus 12” mixes on the CD release. The sound is crisp and the set includes love songs and more culture oriented material. Wesley Tinglin’s dynamic songwriting works very well with Neville Ingram’s pleading vocals. And riddims provided by drummers Sly Dunbar and Noel Donlan along with bass giant Robbie Shakespeare are flawless.

Sure, the harmonizing is at times a bit off-key, and the lead vocals can be a bit raw, but that’s also the charm of it. This is one of my favourite roots albums from the 70s and it’s great to see it easily available again.

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Bunny Lee’s early reggae period showcased on new compilation

Layout 1 (Page 8)What if I’d tell you there’s a new Bunny Lee compilation out. You would probably say something like “Whaaat, hasn’t his stuff been recycled enough already!?”. That’s a fair point.

But, what if I’d tell you that this new compilation titled Full Up is actually different than most recently released albums bearing Bunny Lee’s name and credentials.

Bunny Lee has been in the music business since the 60s and his productions has been compiled many, many times before. Sometimes the same tunes as always but with a new packaging. And that’s no surprise since he has for many years now been one of the cornerstones of Jamaican reggae business.

On the Pressure Sounds’ 85th release they have collected a set of tunes that reflect Bunny Lee’s post rocksteady productions and pre roots era. The four years from 1968 to 1972 were productive and fruitful and consolidated his reputation as one of Jamaica’s premier producers.

Full Up offers a fine selection of  swinging instrumentals mixed with some early vocal productions and a few overlooked vocal gems from singers, deejays soloists and bands like Bunny Lee All Stars, Dave Barker, Delroy Wilson, Tommy McCook, Joe White, Stranger Cole, U Roy, Pat Kelly and The Hippy Boys. And several of the cuts come in different shapes and colours, something that give the album a nice bit of variety.

Bunny Lee is a musical hitmaker from Jamaica and on this album he showcases 21 tracks, of which many are taken from the original master tapes, so the audio quality is solid throughout. Included is also excellent liner notes from Diggory Kendrick describing Bunny Lee and his modus operandi.

Today when the reissue market is flooded with mysterious reissues, often of material from Lee Perry and Bunny Lee, it’s easy to dismiss them. But don’t make that mistake with Full Up. This album is excellent all the way. As always with Pressure Sounds one might add.

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