Last year France’s Blackboard Jungle – a sound system and a label – dropped two devastating showcase albums – one from UK’s Reality Souljahs and one from Spain’s Roberto Sánchez, both backed by RockDis All Stars aka the Rockers Disciples, a band from France making solid music in the rockers tradition.
But they also presented a 15 track compilation titled Musically Dread with material released between 2010 and 2014. This set is only available on CD and is well-worth investigating since it’s an excellent roots collection featuring talented singers and deejays like Johnny Osbourne, Jah Mason, Tony Tuff, Afrikan Simba, Patrick Andy, Earl 16 and Christine Miller.
Musically Dread is vintage rockers sounding like it did in the mid to late 70s. There is plenty of highlights and some of the finest moments include Christine Miller’s breezy Feel the Sunshine, Roberto Sánchez’ blazing Fire, Echo Ranks’ militant Chant Down the Wicked and Don Fe’s beautiful flute instrumental Consider the Ravens.
The title of this fine compilation tells it all – this is dread music. Militant and dread.
My first encounter with Senegalese singer Daba Makourejah and French eight piece band The Rockers Disciples, also known as RockDis All Stars, was on the vibrant compilation Musical Raid in 2011. Obviously they worked well together since they have recently put out the album Far Eye.
This 14 track set – of which nine are vocal cuts, five are dub versions and one is an instrumental – is a heavy slice of dense, thick, slow-paced and mesmerizing roots reggae spiced with the jazzy tones of Daba Makourejah.
The organ is put in the front row on several tracks, and this is especially tasty in the hypnotic dub versions. Just listen to the haunting sounds of Dina Diex and Dina Diex Dub or The System is a Fraud and Dubbin’ the System.
The finest moment is however the opening track Calabash Rock, which incorporates great horns, sirens and outer space keyboard sounds a’ la Sly & Robbie, and it also has the same spooky feel as The Specials’ immortal Ghost Town.
Far Eye is the fourth album from Rockers Disciples and is now available on CD and on digital platforms. Vinyl addicts can check the 12” EP, which collects three vocals and three dubs.