Peter Abdul & The Abeng Musical Box - "Inflation" (2:55)
Russ D In Front Room Studio - "Inflation" (Dubwise) (2:57)
Review: Italian label Dig This Way serves up a third sizzling offering, this time featuring Nigerian singer Peter Abdul. He does his heart aching work over a solid rhythm from Abeng's Musical Box and the results are steeped in romance and yearning. A flip side dub from Russ Disciple is also well worth checking for its smart effects and fathom deep bass. Abdul is a relative unknown but for his 1984 album Get Down With Me, which head in a more boogie and funk direction. Regardless, this is a tasty dub, make no mistake.
Review: Italy's Babe Roots crew show off their silky dub techno credentials here with a couple of immersive new singles. "Music Mission" (feat Galas) is a bottomless cut with warped bass rumbles and endless echo overlaid by a classic reggae vocal from Galas. "World Struggle" (Ambient dub) casts you free from the dance floor with its floating chords full of grainy greyness and cloudy tension. The EP highlight might be "World Struggle" (feat Danny Coxson), a heavyweight, slow motion dub with earth shattering kicks and a deeply buried low end oscillation that's detailed with thunder claps and a soulful Danny Coxson musing on struggle up top.
Review: Charlie Bethel Wilder has been recording as Captain Planet for the best part of 15 years. In that time he's delivered a string of vibrant, kaleidoscopic albums that draw heavily on Latin and Afro-Cuban music in all its forms. "No Visa", his latest album, is another deliciously summery affair that adds a heavy dose of reggaeton rhythms and mutant R&B beats into his tropical synth-pop pot. The results are uniformly excellent all told, with highlights including the humid, synth-laden bubbliness of Patty Cake, the radio-friendly rush of Chico Mann hook-up "Rebosando", the rainforest-ready weight of "Fly Where You Want" and the head-nodding tweaked R&B/triple-time eccentricity of "Yalla" featuring KarenBe.
Review: Centry's essential In Dub set gets a welcome reissue from Partial Records. It first came out in 1993 with all 10 cuts making a devastating impact with varied roots sounds and heavy dubs keeping you locked. Band members Nigel Lake, Chris Petter and Dougie Wardrop also layered in plenty of horns and guest vocal drops by the likes of Danny Red, King General, and Barry Issac, and the whole record is dubbed out and phased to infinity and beyond. Limited to just 500 copies, this timeless document of dub is sure to move fast, so don't sleep.
Review: Kingston artist Johnny Clarke was at one time of the country's most exciting new singers. He dealt in heavy dread tunes and more romantic love songs as well s plenty of big covers, and was admired by the discerning dancehall patrons of Jamaica and elsewhere. To celebrate one of his labels - Black Scorpio - hitting 50 years in the business they are reissuing some of their biggest tunes, and "Sit Down & Wonder" is one of them that is now on a 7" for the first time. A new 2020 mix is on the flipside to make this a perfect mix of old and new.
Peter Huntingdale - "Rocking You Eternally" (3:40)
Christine Lewin - "Juicy Fruit" (3:56)
Pure Silk - "Don't Let Love Get You Down" (4:24)
Al Charles - "Outstanding" (5:51)
Karen Dixon - "I Want To Be Free" (6:06)
George Posse - "Touch A Four Leaf Clover" (feat Toyin Adekale) (4:24)
Misses Misty - "Mellow Mellow Ride On" (8:39)
Trevor Hartley - "The Look In Your Eyes" (4:48)
Family Love - "Do Me Baby" (5:20)
Michael Prophet - "Body Fusion" (3:43)
Michael Gordon - "What You Won't Do For Love" (4:52)
Simplicity - "For The Love Of You" (5:35)
Review: Edinburgh's Athens Of The North label is endlessly flawless and this time around they pull together the special lovers rock covers they put out at the end of last year onto a superbly strong 12 track compilation. It arrives just in time for the warmer months and has been curated by Sam Don and overseen by label boss Euan Fryer. Standouts include Christine Lewin's lush take on the heavily sampled "Juicy Fruit" while the lo-fi bliss of Al Charles's "Outstanding" is another one to swell the heart and sooth the soul. For more sentimental moments check Family Love's "Do Me Baby." Overall, though, this is a must buy.
Review: For the latest volume in their ongoing "Reggae Cut Loud" series of seven-inch singles, Harlem Shuffle Records have gathered together two suitably rare gems from the undisputed king of rocksteady, Alton Ellis, neither of which have previously featured on a "45". A-side "Pumping In", an early rocksteady treat, is rich in R&B style guitar riffs, warm bass and an echo-laden vocal from Ellis. It was recorded in 1970 but for one reason or another only surfaced a few years ago. Flipside "Knock On Wood", a cover of the Eddie Floyd soul favourite, was recorded a number of times by Ellis; this version is the superior 1972 Joe Gibbs take, which boasts some superb Hammond organ sounds and a defiantly dub-wise reggae riddim. It's absolutely essential.
Review: Having road tested these jams at huge gigs around the world before the lockdown locked us down, Fat Freddy's Drop now unleashes these dub wise detonations. Special Edition Part 1 is said to be the first edition of a long promised double album with separate chapters. There are plenty of song writing skills on show here as well as technical innovations and real studio magic with soul drenched dub, old school reggae and new school vocal riddims all sounding super fresh.
Review: Kiss, Cuddle & Torture: Volume 2 is the second album offering from The Hempoloics on their own Zee Zee. It's another of their unique collisions of reggae, hip hop, pop, dancehall and funk and comes with plenty of upbeat riddims that will no doubt get as much radio play as previous singles. Showing real development as well as lush chords, masterfully overdubbed keys and complex arrangements that were apparently written by the whole band together, it's another successful record. Check the contemporary flow and funky riffs of "Bongadashi" or more horizontal dub flexes of "In The Night" for highlights.
Review: "Work Up A Sweat" was Gregory Isaac's 1994 opus, and it showcased the laidback style he had become so well known and loved for. Often described as the 'ultimate rude boy Reggae star', his own African Museum label originally put this one out with coproduction credits going to his wife June. Big cuts like "Got to Come Back" and "Lead Me" feature, with plenty of metallic leads, acoustic riffs and deep cut bas sounds all helping colour the airwaves and sink you into the vibes. This is a first ever vinyl reissue and it comes on 140g vinyl for extra heft.
Review: As the small but well formed Nunki label traces towards double figures, mainstay Ivan Dubious comes through with more of his haunting, spooky and spacious dubs. "Crystal" is the opener, with a wobbling low end that is fat and fizzing with meance, with echoing hits ringing out up top. ON the flipped, "Answer" is a little lighter, with upbeats and mesmeric harmonicas bleeding out of the mix and taking you on a spiritual trip. It's a tight and well crafted 7" once again from this German label, then.
Foxy Brown - "Oh Yeah" (Featuring Spragga Benz) (4:12)
Review: The first volume in the Lickshot series serves up two almighty slabs of reggae and dancehall-influenced hip-hop from two of the biggest names in the game. On side A you'll find an edited version of Jay-Z's "Bam" from 2017 album "4:44", where the long-serving rapper trades verses with Damian Marley over a sparse beat and sampled reggae horns. Over on the flip dancehall vocalist Spragga Benz guests on Foxy Brown"Oh Yeah", a hybrid hip-hop/ragga workout . Like its' A-side companion, it's a weighty, club-ready rocker that should be in every hip-hop head's collection.
Review: Standby for KC White's excellent 1973 version of the song made famous by Dawn Penn. The submissive message of the lyrics rings out over fat bass and has just as superb an effect as first time round. This wasn't White's only cover, because he is best known for covering hits like "First Cut Is The Deepest", always adding his own spin and at least equally the quality of the source material. The version on the reverse is a heady one and these are such enduring tunes that this is the fourth time they have been reissued since first time round. Crucial.
Keithus Dimts Selassie I & The Royal Horses - "I Know" (3:46)
Roberto Sanchez Meets The Royal Horses - "I Dub" (3:45)
Review: Talented singer Keithus Dimits Selassie I has a deep emotion to the tone and message of his music. It is perfect for more spiritual dub sounds and that's the case here. His interpretation here rides nicely on the lazy rhythm below, with acoustic riffs dancing in mid air above puddles of echo. On the flip, Roberto Sanchez stepped up at Lone Ark studios to craft his own slow motion version that is a perfect partner for the a-side. This is a serious piece of 7" wax that packs a punch on many levels.