Tag Archives: Spain

Record store rundown Barcelona

Recently got home from a three day trip to Spain and the beautiful city of Barcelona. Coming from the northern part of Europe it was a blessing to have sun more than four hours a day and a decent temperature. Since I live in Stockholm, Sweden, the temperature in January is usually below zero, whereas in Barcelona it was well-over ten degrees. No further explanation needed.

But Barcelona is more than sweet climate and thoughtful architecture signed Antoni Gaudí. It’s also a city for hunting reggae records, and prior to my journey I had conducted some research which showed that Barcelona still has some record shops. King Atupali Records looked particularly tasty since it stashed lots of reggae. A pity though that it was closed the three times I walked by.

I visited about eight stores focusing mainly on rock and dance music in the El Raval and the Barri Gòtic areas, and it actually shocked me that I wasn’t the only customer in the store. It seems that people in Barcelona actually still buy physical records – both CD and vinyl. They’re probably the only ones left doing so. Well, me too. And I managed to pick up four LP’s – the recently reissued In the Kingdom of Dub by Scientist, Prince Ras Murray’s Militant Dread, Kayawah & The Movement Band’s Culture Rock and the various artists’ compilation Rockers Vibration, the only original of the bunch.

Discos Paradiso in El Raval, Barcelona, Spain.

Discos Paradiso in El Raval, Barcelona, Spain.

Speaking of originals, most of the reggae I found was reissues, mostly from Kingston Sounds/Jamaican Recordings. These guys must have an insane distribution network. I tend to find their material everywhere I go.

Anyhow, there wasn’t much second hand vinyl, which is a pity. I had high hopes to score some gems. But then again, I didn’t have the time to visit all the stores I had looked up, so I might be in for a great surprise when I visit next time.

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Exquisite rub a dub from Ambassah

Unfortunately I don’t know much about the Spanish reggae scene apart from my encounters with producer and musician Roberto Sánchez. His productions together with Earl Zero and Alpheus are essential in any record collection.

But now my horizon is widened, since another Spanish producer has come forward. Ambassah has collected 17 tunes recorded between 2005 and 2011 on Rub A Dub Showcase Part II, a compilation where Robero Sánchez turns up as co-producer, engineer and musician. Nine of these tracks have previously been released on Pirate’s Choice Recordings as 10”. The other eight are actually unreleased until now.

Rub A Dub Showcase Part II carry some deep early 80’s dancehall grooves and the eight different riddims – of which two are relicks – are built on live instrumentation. Vocalists include singers such as Alpheus, Horace Martin and the Godfather of Dancehall himself – the late Sugar Minott. All three makes impressive efforts.

But the real masterpiece is Breeze and Trees’ – DJ’s Ranking Forrest and Jah BreezeTwo the Hard Way (Extended), where the DJ duo goes Michigan & Smiley over the skanking Monday Sounds riddim with its lethal horns riff.

Apart from vocals there is a lot of dub going on here as well. Nine of the 17 cuts are dub versions with a rich texture and three are extended versions with a similar sound.

Rub A Dub Showcase Part II is an exciting and accomplished set that builds on the best from early Jamaican dancehall.

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