Prince Fatty may sound like a cartoon character. But don’t let the name fool you. Behind this band are vintage reggae champions such as Winston Francis, Dennis Alcapone and Little Roy. The mastermind behind the project is Mike Pelanconi, an engineer and producer from the UK, who has previously worked with a wide range of artists including the late Gregory Isaacs and Lily Allen.
He is labeled as an expert in vintage recording techniques, and when I listen to the sophomore album from Prince Fatty it’s easy to understand why he has earned that title.
The brand new album Supersize echoes from the past, mainly from the early 70’s. It contains covers, re-workings and own material. Almost all tunes have a great vibrant dub vibe. Just check Bedroom Eyes where singer Natty is echoing in and out.
Another thing well worth pointing out is the organic feel throughout the album. The organ work is superb. Listen to The Impressions cover Ain’t Got Time. It’s almost as if Winston Wright or Jackie Mittoo were hosting the session.
The music on Supersize is for real. No samples, no auto-tune, just plain fun.
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.