Tag Archives: Top reggae 2014

Top ten reggae reissues 2014

The fourth and final top list of 2014 is dedicated to reissues. As usual top reissue giants like Pressure Sounds and Soul Jazz are represented with several items each.

Best reissues 2014

 

The list below collects ten roots, ska, rocksteady and early dancehall albums and compilations in no particular order. If you’re curious about the albums – check out my Spotify playlist with seven of the sets. Download the playlist here. Enjoy!

Yabby You & The Prophets – Deeper Roots Part 2
Eerie and dread from the legendary Yabby You.

Various – Studio One Dancehall – Sir Coxsone in the Dance: The Foundation Sound
Rough and raw, yet innovative and creative.

Various – Handsworth Explosion Vol. I
Excellent and extremely rare early 80s roots from the UK.

Various – Gussie Presenting the Right Tracks
The sounds collected on this double disc compilation are at times uplifting and joyous, but also haunting, ethereal and eerie. Augustus Clarke certainly had a great ear for arrangements and moods.

Augustus Pablo – Born to Dub You
Augustus Pablo’s melodica snakes in and out of the mix and this set offers the usual dark and meditative ambiance found on many of Pablo’s songs and productions.

Various – Full Up: Bunny Lee’s Early Reggae Productions
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.

Various – Studio One Rocksteady
Beautiful, bouncy and optimistic, but also moody and melancholic as in Cecile Campbell’s Whisper to Me and Ken Boothe’s When I Fall in Love.

Willie Williams – Unification: From Channel One to King Tubby’s
Consciousness from start to finish with songs like Free Dem, Righteousness, Unification and Rally.

Horace Andy – Get Wise
Hypnotic and dread from Horace Andy and producer Phil Pratt.

U Black – Westbound Thing a Swing
U Black carries the swing all the way.

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Top 30 reggae albums 2014

Time to sum up this year’s best albums. Last year I made a list collecting 25 sets, but this year I aimed for 30, and succeeded. As usual no reissues or compilations were allowed.

This year’s list is however a little bit different compared to previous lists. Why? I have included two straight dub albums. And it could actually have been no less than four dub sets, but Natural Numbers’ Natural Numbers in Dub and The Lions’ This Generation in Dub, the roaring dub counterpart to their beautiful This Generation, didn’t make the final cut.

Best albums 2014

The list below collects 30 roots, ska, rocksteady, dub and dancehall albums in no particular order. If you’re curious about the albums – check out my Spotify playlist with all but two sets. Download the playlist here. Enjoy!

Jahmali – We I Open
We I Open equals sun-burnt skin, sand between your toes and salty hair. A cheerful contemporary rub-a-dub set with lots of light to wash your troubles away.

Black Roots – Ghetto Feel
Deep and profound vintage roots reggae. This album could easily have been released in the early 80s.

Sly & Robbie – Dubrising
Heavy as lead, yet melodic and refined, and with adventurous dub mixing by the legendary Paul “Groucho” Smykle.

Blue King Brown – Born Free
A powerful sonic experience with slower jams and militant anthems.

Etana – I Rise
Another excellent set from one of Jamaica’s leading voices. A set that effortlessly blends infectious love ballads and tough roots anthems.

Tuff Scout Allstars – Inna London Dub
Harder than most contemporary dub albums with ridiculously deep bass lines and hypnotic grooves.

Sara Lugo – Hit Me with Music
Bright and positive from start to finish. Sara Lugo explores the gentle side of reggae with influences from soul, jazz and light electronic pop.

Earl 16 & Manasseh – Gold Dust
Beautifully crafted with Earl 16’s delicate and dreamy vocals floating on top of the at times partly acoustic backing.

Lloyd Brown – LB 50
Yet another harmonious set from one of most reliable and hardest working artists in the reggae industry.

Roberto Sánchez & The Rockers Disciples – Blackboard Jungle Showcase Vol. II
Excellent vintage-sounding roots and dub from some of Europe’s finest musicians.

Popcaan – Where We Come From
A remarkable, exceptional and unique dancehall effort that hopefully can start a new trend in the otherwise very busy and non-consistent dancehall industry.

Raging Fyah – Destiny
The melodies and the arrangements are beautiful and it’s impossible not to get struck by a sweet piano ballad like Brave or pulsating non-stop rocking rockers like Barriers and Step Outta Babylon.

Hezron – The Life I Live(d)
Hezron’s debut album, but it sounds mature, partly because of the well-produced riddims by some of Jamaica’s finest, and partly because he sings like he has never done anything else in his life.

Lee Perry – Back on the Controls
A dark and dense album showcasing Lee Perry’s signature style.

Soul Majestic – Setting the Tone
With its angelic vocal harmonizing and alternating male and female lead vocals – this is a sublime, beautiful and uplifting album.

Hollie Cook – Twice
Nine tracks and over 40 minutes of discofied reggae in its greatest form. Free your mind, take off your shoes and hang on, this is a rollercoaster into dreamy territory.

Earl Sixteen – Natty Farming
Organic and analogue with Earl Sixteen’s pleading voice floating elegantly over the throbbing and syncopated riddims.

Bugle – Anointed
Probably best known for singles like Doh, What I’m I Gonna Do, Journey and Don’t Give Up, and if you dig those you’ll love this album.

Sizzla – Born a King
Wickedly well-produced, balanced and detailed. This scorching album is definitely one of the strongest sets from Sizzla’s more than extensive catalogue.

Alpheus – Good Prevails
Skip the poorly sounding rocksteady reissues and go for this meticulously constructed and well-produced set. This is the sound of real reggae music.

Chronixx – Dread & Terrible
Solid debut set from this youthful and passionate singer that has focused on quality rather than quantity.

Clinton Fearon – Goodness
Yet another fine example of how Clinton Fearon and his Boogie Brown Band takes the reggae legacy into contemporary territory.

Black Symbol – Journey
A spiritual and sometimes meditative journey with sublime harmonizing and beautiful back-up vocals courtesy of Empress Bev. Her touch gives the album a character of its own.

Addis Pablo – In My Father’s House
Its 17 tracks takes the listener on a meditative, haunting and melodic roots reggae journey.

Tarrus Riley – Love Situation
Slick, polished and timeless with lots of classic and vintage sounding riddims.

Gentleman – MTV Unplugged
The MTV Unplugged format was immensely popular in the 90s and I thought it was dead, but this album shows that it’s still very much alive and kicking.

I-Octane – My Journey
The culture and lovers themed My Journey is an entertaining and lively album filled with lots of energy, beautiful hooks and memorable melodies.

Ziggi Recado – Therapeutic
A little something for both body and mind.

Pressure – The Sound
Pressure’s fourth album and is his best to date. It includes the usual sweet arrangements and backing provided by Zion I Kings.

Nicodrum & Friends – Back to Fundechan
Music with a big heart, a solid pulse and lots of soul.

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Top five reggae EP’s 2014

During 2014 an unusually high number of EP’s were put out, and many of them were also very, very strong efforts.

Three of the EP’s below are by up and coming singers. And we’re far from there yet, but issuing an EP before a full album might be a trend for debuting singers.

Best EPs II

The list below is presented in no particular order and if you are curious about the EP’syou can download this Spotify playlist with all of them.

Papa Michigan – DJ Legend
Vintage dancehall in a contemporary style with loads of musical references to 80s Jamaica.

Clay – 1st Chapter
It’s easy to fall in love with this set, particularly the melancholy and darkness that is expressed in the more conscious cuts.

RC – Rough Survivor
Promising and smooth debut album from this passionate and uplifting vocalist. managed by the legendary Donovan Germain

Randy Valentine – Break the Chain
Energy and smoothness in a divine combination.

Kenyatta Hill – Riddim of Life
The son of legendary singer Joseph Hill – lead singer in Culture – carries his father’s legacy forward and waves the red, gold and green banner high and proud.

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Top 50 reggae tunes 2014

When reviewing 2014 the second half offered stronger releases than the initial six months. I had more than 80 songs to choose from, only counting July to December. I had to merge these with my 25 favourites from January to June. The competition was fierce and I ended up re-doing the list altogether to get a top 50 tunes in 2014.

As usual, the list is an eclectic mix of reggae and dancehall productions from all over the globe, mostly from Jamaica, Europe and the U.S., but Australia is also represented by Mista Savona’s Champion Sound riddim and New Zealand by Fat Freddy’s Drop’s Slings & Arrow. There is also a mix of old and new talents, including both newcomers and veterans.

Best songs 2014

The list below is presented in no particular order and the songs included are only singles or tracks taken from compilations. If you are curious about the songs you can download this Spotify playlist with 48 of the 50 tracks.

Artist – song title (riddim/label)
Papa Michigan & Yami Bolo – People Rise (Flash Hit Records)
Toian – Rude Boys (Class One Music)
Micah Shemaiah & Infinite – Reggae Rockit
Lutan Fyah – Rasta Won’t Fail (Jump for Joy/Splatter House Records)
Mr. Benn & Nanci Correia & Buggsy – Stand Up (Nice Up! Records)
Yung Jr – General (Bassick Records)
Gentleman’s Dub Club & Solo Banton – Unbreakable (Ranking Records)
Burro Banton – Bad Like Mi (Champion Sound/Muti Music))
Brooklyn Jungle Soundsystem – Kulture (Dubmatix remix) (Destroy All Concepts)
Lutan Fyah – Real People (Crunch Time/Dynasty Records)
Zagga – Heal the Soul (Four Seasons/Union World Music)
Gentleman & Shaggy – Warn Dem (Universal Records)
Righteous Child – Good Morning World (Penthouse Records)
Fat Freddy’s Drop – Slings & Arrows (The Drop)
Bunny General – Mek Them Rock (Jstar remix) (Nice Up! Records)
No Maddz – Shotta (Taxi Records)
Notis & Iba Mahr & Tarrus Riley – Diamond Sox (remix) (Notis Records)
Queen Ifrica – Make You Rock (Clocktower/Silly Walks Discotheque)
Blue King Brown – All Nations (Blue King Brown)
Little Roy – Disaster & Signs (Tuff Scout)
Lutan Fyah & Turbulence – Criminal (The Empire/Riddim Wise)
Toian – Kingston Town
Dre Island – Way Up (UIM Records)
Spice – So Me Like It (Notnice Records)
Spring Wata – Holding Firm (Rokwon Drop/Rokwon Productions)
DJ Vadim & Matthew McAnuff – Be Careful (remix)
Protoje – Stylin’
Clay – Shadow After Dark (Countrybus Music)
Chronixx – Capture Land (Chronixx Music)
Don Camilo & Manudigital – Champion Juggler (Brigante Records)
Kelissa & Chronixx & Kazemde – Winna (Anbessa Productions & Zinc Fence Records)
Konshens – The Journey (Irievibrations Records)
Jah Sun – Never Give Up (House of Riddim)
Raging Fyah – Jah Glory (Frankie Music)
Stephen Marley & Sizzla & Capleton – Rock Stone (Ghetto Youths International)
Bugle – Anoited
Mr. Benn & Champian – Everytime (Stars/Nice Up! Records)
Stick Figure & Collie Buddz – Smokin’ Love (Roughwood Records)
Protoje & Chronixx – Who Knows (Overstand Entertainment)
Cornell Campbell & Burro Banton – Pressure (I’m Living/Muti Music)
Loyal Flames – Go Hard (Jah Blessings/Maximum Sound)
Sound Dynamiq & Skarra Mucci – Revolution
Lukie D – Calling (Way Back/Akom Records)
Zagga – Attitude of Gratitude (Zion Train/Liv Up Records)
Lutan Fyah – Roll it Up (Village/Irievibrations)
Burro Banton – Inna Mi Legue (Penthouse/Jugglerz Records)
Busy Signal & Christopher Martin – Lock Di Endz (Weedy G Soundforce)
Randy Valentine & LionHeart – Sound the Alarm (Hemp Higher Records)
Addis Pablo – Road to Addis (JahSolidRock)
Bushman & Skarra Mucci – Pretty Looks (Pretty Looks/Flash Hit Records)

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