Tag Archives: Reissues

Digital excitment from Courtney Melody and King Tubby

courtney-melody-ninga-mi-ninga-firehouse-dub-store-records-lp-32272-pJapan’s Dub Store Records has recently reissued Courtney Melody’s album Ninga Mi Ninga, a 12 track album in showcase format where the vocal cuts are directly followed by their dub, or dubstrumental, counterpart.

This is late 80s digital business produced by the late top engineer King Tubby, who opened a new studio in 1985 and around the same time started three labels, of which Firehouse is probably best known.

Ninga Mi Ninga was originally issued on Firehouse and is heavyweight and sparse computerized dancehall. Courtney Melody was at the top of his game around this time and his youthful and enthusiastic style suits the dark and naked productions very well. The lethal title track and the powerful Unite are two prime examples.

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Top 10 reggae reissues in 2015

The fourth and final list summarizing 2015 collects the ten best reggae reissues and as usual reissue giants like Pressure Sounds and Digikiller are represented, but also Hot Milk and VP’s subsidiary 17 North Parade.

The list below collects ten heavily essential items and the list could actually have been a bit longer since the year has been very strong when it comes to reissues. Just outside the top ten comes albums from Tetrack and The Inturns along with the hefty compilation Rastafari – The Dreads Enter Babylon. Included in the list are both single artist albums and compilations and it’s presented in no particular order.

Top ten reissues

If you’re curious about the albums – check out this Spotify playlist with nine of the sets. Enjoy!

Artist – title
Various – Mr Perry I Presume
Pressure Sounds continue to plug the gaps in reggae history and Lee Perry’s unreleased catalogue is obviously not completely drained as one might presume. This collection of dubplates, alternate mixes and unreleased cuts is just as essential as it is consistent.

Various – Gussie Clarke From the Foundation
Augustus Clarke helped to revolutionize Jamaican music and that’s brilliantly showcased on From the Foundation.

Various – King Jammy Roots, Reality & Sleng Teng
The three discs – including the DVD documentary King at the Controls – show King Jammy’s range and diversity as a producer as well as his unique talent for keeping up with the times and pushing the music forward.

Various – Next Cut!
Most tracks on this Bunny Lee compilation are raw, especially the dubplates, and most of these unique mixes are heavy, sparse and militant.

Various – Strong Like Sampson: Linval Thompson Presents the 12” Mixes
Nearly two hours of some of the most uncompromising early dancehall to be put on wax. The fearsome Roots Radics do not apologize for their sparse and heavy as lead riddims.

Mr. Spaulding – Twelve Tribe of Israel
I have listened to reggae for almost 20 years and I can’t say I have heard frequencies as low as these before. The bass line on cuts like Tell Me and Mankind are as deep as the Mariana Trench and custom-made for mashing down the walls of Babylon.

Gladstone Anderson – Sings Songs for Today and Tomorrow
U.S. based label Digikiller has teamed up with France’s Only Roots for the reissue of pianist Gladstone “Gladdy” Anderson’s rare Sings Songs for Today and Tomorrow. But this album is more than that particular set since the set comes with its almost dub counterpart Radical Dub Session by Roots Radics.

Various – Dread Prophecy: The Strange and Wonderful Story of Yabby You
Don’t think for a second that you can sleep on this epic collection of mystic, powerful and anti-establishment music where Yabby You and his friends chant down Babylon again and again and again.

Jimmy Riley – Live It to Know It
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.

Various – The Midlands Roots Explosion Volume 1
Shines light on Birmingham and other cities that make up the Midlands as well as putting forward some of the lesser known acts that spent years performing and recording without achieving any level of success. The area was certainly a powerhouse of British reggae and this compilation includes many tracks worthy of wide exposure.

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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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Rhythm-Ites solid Integration reissued

RHYTHMITES Packshot ARC274Another more or less never heard of UK reggae gem has been made available via Bristol Archive Records. Rhythm-Ites formed in the mid-80s in Bath and dropped their debut album Integration in 1989.

According to the band they were never really satisfied with the original mix, so the reissue of Integration is remixed using techniques of today. And it sounds solid with no attempts trying to make it sound like it was recorded in a more contemporary recording environment. It sounds like reggae did in 1989.

Integration is a serious roots album. It’s partly digital and up-tempo with songs dealing with everyday life in Britain in the late 80s. Stand out tracks include pulsating album opener Nation Integration, No Stopping We, with its militant horns, and the dark No Guns.

The original album only collected eight tracks and this reissue comes with two brand new exclusive dub versions, both sounding vintage with an 80s vibe.

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The five best reggae reissues in 2015 so far

The third list summarizing 2015 so far collects the five best reggae reissues and as usual reissue giants like Pressure Sounds and Digikiller are represented, but also Hot Milk.

The list below collects five essential items and the list could actually have been a bit longer since the year so far has been very strong when it comes to reissues. Just outside the top five comes albums from Tetrack and The Inturns. Included in the list are both single artist albums and compilations and it’s presented in no particular order.

If you’re curious about the albums – check out this Spotify playlist with four of the sets. Enjoy!

Best reissues 2

Artist – album title
Gladstone Anderson – Sings Songs for Today and Tomorrow
U.S. based label Digikiller has teamed up with France’s Only Roots for the reissue of pianist Gladstone “Gladdy” Anderson’s rare Sings Songs for Today and Tomorrow. But this album is more than that particular set since it comes with its almost dub counterpart Radical Dub Session by Roots Radics

Jimmy Riley – Live It to Know It
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.

Yabby You – Dread Prophecy: The Strange and Wonderful Story of Yabby You
Don’t think for a second that you can sleep on this epic collection of mystic, powerful and anti-establishment music where Yabby You and his friends chant down Babylon again and again and again.

Various – Strong Like Sampson: Linval Thompson Presents the 12” Mixes
Nearly two hours of some of the most uncompromising early dancehall to be put on wax. The fearsome Roots Radics do not apologize for their sparse and heavy as lead riddims.

Mr. Spaulding – Twelve Tribe of Israel
I have listened to reggae for almost 20 years and I can’t say I have heard frequencies as low as these before. The bass line on cuts like Tell Me and Mankind are as deep as the Mariana Trench and custom-made for crashing down the walls of Babylon.

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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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Some of the lowest frequencies ever on Twelve Tribe of Israel

4372223599_cf0297f79b_oHot Milk Records has done the world a great favour by reissuing one of the hardest and most uncompromising reggae albums ever released. Mr. Spaulding recorded his only album Twelve Tribe of Israel at the age of 19 and it was released in scarce quantities in 1983.

This album is a unique take on reggae with an almost ridiculous emphasis on drum and bass with just a hint of guitar and organ. It’s sparse and naked with Mr. Spaulding’s youthful crying on top of deep early dancehall riddims.

But deep doesn’t half describe these riddims. I have listened to reggae for almost 20 years and I can’t say I have heard  frequencies as low as these before. The bass line on cuts like Tell Me and Mankind are as deep as the Mariana Trench and custom-made for crashing down the walls of Babylon.

This set is however more than just the original album. This is anthology style and the two disc set covers Mr. Spaulding’s career from the early 80s up until the early 90s. It comes with a hefty 33 tracks and it’s a veritable version extravaganza with its many dub versions, instrumentals and 12” mixes.

This is the first time any material from this unknown singer has been reissued and the album covers almost everything the man recorded. And this album is not a crowd-pleaser in any way.

Swedish record collector and selector Joakim Kalcidis – who lent his unplayed version of the original album for this reissue – told me that he had played this album for a friend replying that it didn’t sound finished. It was just drum and bass. Well, it is. And that’s the beauty of it.

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Alborosie’s classic debut album reissued with four bonus cuts

alborosie-soulpirate_deluxe_editionItalian, nowadays Jamaican, reggae star, multi-instrumentalist, producer, mixing engineer and songwriter Alborosie has recently had his debut album Soul Pirate reissued.

The original set contained 18 tracks and the new and re-mastered version contains four bonus cuts, all of which has been previously released as singles or as part of a compilation.

Soul Pirate was originally released in 2008 with poor distribution and it was partly sold via concerts. And today it fetches high prices – on Discogs it starts at $25.00 for the CD version.

It’s an excellent album and might just still be his best yet. It collects several stunning and well-known singles, including the ground-shaking Rastafari Anthem, recorded over Zap Pow’s Last War, the powerful Kingston Town, on a version of the mighty When I Fall in Love riddim, and the pulsating Herbalist, on a remake of Black Uhuru’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

Alborosie started to rock the scene at a time when dancehall ruled and roots reggae was something odd in Jamaica. Alborosie was one of tipping points that ignited the recent interest in Jamaican roots reggae and Soul Pirate can today be regarded as a modern classic.

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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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A Gussie Clarke extravaganza from VP

Gussie_Clark_-Gussie_Presenting_the_Right_TracksVP Records’ vintage imprint 17 North Parade opens its vaults to present another crucial reissue, this time from one of the most influential Jamaican producers – Augustus ”Gussie Clarke”. He has consistently churned out hits since the 70s until today, and Gussie Presenting The Right Tracks, which was originally released in 1976, captures his early work during the so called golden era of reggae.

The reissue – which drops on July 22 – collects the original LP in its entirety with previously unreleased Gussie Clarke productions for the first time on CD. The double disc set will contain all re-mastered tracks along with extensive liner notes and the original LP artwork.

The cuts were originally recorded and mixed at Kingston’s legendary Channel One studio and King Tubby’s Tubby studio, and the collection includes Gussie Clarke’s work with a parade of Jamaican greats, including Horace Andy, Leroy Sibbles, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Delroy Wilson, Augustus Pablo, Leroy Smart and Jacob Miller.

“There’s no ‘how it comes about’ with these names. I’m that kind of person who’s always thinking outside the box. There wasn’t any logic to it! It’s just a love for the difference and the uniqueness of things. Everybody had a sound and a style and I’d switch the musicians round to get a different vibe and a different feel,” explains Gussie Clarke in the set’s liner notes, and adds:

“I had the songs and in those days compilations were a good idea. I said ‘why not?’ and ‘The Right Tracks’ is appropriate now because they are the right tracks.”

In addition to this 40 track album, there will be a vinyl companion piece (carrying the same name) of eleven tracks from the CD version available the same day.

And on August 5 the label drops a limited edition 7” vinyl box set of rare Gussie Clarke productions designed to augment the two CD collection. The set, entitled Gussie Presenting The Right Sevens, features original recordings of foundation classics from Leroy Smart and The Mighty Diamonds, rare Augustus Pablo and Mikey Dread sides and previously unreleased cuts from Leroy Sibbles and Tommy McCook.

The Right Tracks series is the first installment of several Gussie Glarke collections that will drop via VP Records this year. They will also unleash a newly-compiled LP of Gussie Clarke productions with reggae icon Augustus Pablo titled Born To Dub You plus a three disc Reggae Anthology for Gussie Clarke’s Music Works label slated for late 2014.

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