London-based lovers rock and R&B singer Lady Lex inked her first record deal in the mid-80s, but didn’t record much for a number of years. In 2012 an album produced by Peckings was slated for release, but it didn’t materialize until now. She has worked with Peckings since 2004 when she walked into the London shop and auditioned then and there.
Their first release together was I’m in the Mood for Love, voiced on the riddim she sang over in the store – Lonely Street. They have worked together ever since and Lady Lex has for example been featured on all three volumes of Peckings’ excellent Old Skool Young Blood series.
Is This Love is a hefty set with no less than 21 tracks, a mix of originals and covers, of which most are sung over vintage riddims. It’s a fine-tuned marriage between old school lovers rock sounds and a contemporary voice.
Several of the tracks are previously released and the set is something of a collection of singles. Included are strong cuts like Book of Job, on the sweet Break Up to Make Up riddim, God Bless the Child, on the smooth My Girl riddim, and Love Doctor, on the funky Can’t Stand It riddim.
Is This Love is a slick and vintage sounding set and it’s nice that Lady Lex and Peckings finally got it out on the streets.
Falsetto vocalists have always been popular in Jamaica, and some of the earliest and most acclaimed ones include the late Slim Smith, Cedric Myton, Pat Kelly, Cornell Campbell and Junior Murvin.
A newcomer in this great genre of singers is Courtney John, who just dropped his fourth album From Letters to Words. It’s a ten track ode to 60’s rocksteady spiced with tender 70’s soul and a hint of singer/songwriter.
Courtney John weighs every word, every syllable, carefully, and his smooth falsetto is light as a feather. His hearty lyrics deal mostly with romance and his longing for intimacy.
Included are fresh originals and relicks, and also a cover of Chi-Lites 1971 Billboard chart topper Have You Seen Her.
This is a contemporary reggae and rocksteady album with a lazy Sunday morning feeling.
Put the Stereo On, the debut album from British singer Gappy Ranks, has been preceded by a well orchestrated marketing campaign that started with the mixtape Stinkin’ Rich this winter.
A few months later Gappy Ranks dropped the EP Rising Out of the Ghetto, mainly dancehall based, including the hit tune Stinkin’ Rich.
The new album only bears a slight resemblance to the EP. It’s rather in the style of his hit song Heaven in Her Eyes from 2009, namely classic vintage rhythms with fresh vocals.
Heaven in Her Eyes was produced by Peckings. He’s also behind most of the productions on Put the Stereo On. The few tracks he didn’t produce are in the same vein, which contributes to the album’s homogenous sound.
Gappy Ranks is undoubtedly a talented artist with his own means of expression. His patois-heavy singin/singjay style has something pleasantly desperate about it, especially in the songs with a higher tempo.
Best is duet Soul Rebel with veteran Nereus Joseph, based on Lee Perry’s immortal Soul Rebel rhythm, or Heavy Load, a scorcher produced by Frenchie on the Creation Rebel rhythm originally from Studio One. The version used here is however signed by Bunny Lee.
It’s a real pleasure to note that Peckings has dusted off the great Treasure Isle rhythm I Can’t Hide, originally recorded by the versatile and way too under recorded Ken Parker.
The many great rhythms utilized on Put the Stereo On can hopefully introduce vintage reggae music to a whole new generation, so they can discover all this incredible music they didn’t know existed.
Pressure Sounds – grundat av välkände Adrian Sherwood – har en fantastisk re-issue på gång.
Pleasure dub är en skiva med ett gäng dubversioner av klassiska riddims från Treasure isle-studion mixade av Errol Brown och producerade av legendariske Duke Reid. Det rör sig alltså uteslutande om låtar från 60- och tidigt 70-tal, bland annat rocksteady-klassiker som The tide is high (japp, precis den som Blondie spelade in en version av) och Riding on a high and windy day med John Holt-ledda The Paragons samt Things you say you love med The Jamaicans. Samtliga låtar har Tommy McCook and The Supersonics som musiker.
Det här är den första återutgivningen av skivan sedan den släpptes i början av 70-talet, och Pressure Sounds – som vanligtvis arbetar med väldigt duktiga formgivare – har lovat att använda skivans originalomslag. En mycket trevligt detalj.
Ser mycket fram emot juli då skivan når marknaden. Perfekt att lägga sig i hängmattan och drömma sig till Bond Street och den Motowndoftande rocksteady-eran.