Review: This is some essential original roots reggae from all the way back in 1977. Recorded by Earl (Sixteen) Daley, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Steely, Albert Malawi and Dalton Browne at the legendary Black Ark studios and now reissued by Belgian connoisseurs Roots Vibration, "Freedom" is a real stepper; sweet guitar licks and vocal work with drums and bass piled up on top of one another in perfect harmony. If you're after something deeper, flipover for the "Dub" version provided by The Upsetters. Timeless.
Review: Roots Vibration keep up their tireless dub reissue work with another dig into the untouchable back catalogue of the one and only Lee "Scratch" Perry. Back to 1978, this is a slab of gold that was first recorded in the revered Black Ark studios the dub don owned before burning it down in a stoned and paranoid state. "Captive" finds him musing inwardly on the continual enslavement of black people in the West, calling for mental and spiritual liberation. The Upsetters once again dub it out on the flip side in excellent fashion.
Review: Winston McAnuff linked with the Black Kush Band to lay down the red hot rhythm that is "Fear" in 1979. In the early 2000s, they got together once more to re-record it and now it gets a special, limited edition 7" release of its own for the first time ever. It's a real roots classic with bird-call like flutes and natty trumpet stabs, tangled acoustic guitar riffs and plump drums. On the flip, there's a slowed down, spaced out and trippy dub version that allows the gnarly bass to really shine though and take the track into a different mood.
Review: This old school Winston McAnuff tune has long been out of print. The Jamaican singer and composer behind it was also known as Electric Dread and fused funk, dub and reggae into his own unique forms, often with real social and political power in his lyrics. This is the first time it has ever been pressed on its own 7" and includes a natty dub on the reverse by Fatman Riddim Section. The original, "Unchained", has wailing vocals that speak of real passion and pain as they muse on black independence. The lazy grooves wiggle beneath, with rolling percussion and acoustic guitar riffs all adding to the experience.
Review: Dub heads will be keen to cop this hard to find, long out of print Winston McAnuff tune 'What A Man Sow.' This is its first time on 7". Only 500 have been pressed and it comes with a full colour sleeve as well as a tasty dub on the flip from Fatman Riddim Section. The main attraction though is the a-side, with its impassion vocals crying out up top and bearing plenty of raw and honest soul. Shakers and swaggering dub, reverberating bass and acoustic guitar riffs all colour in the airwaves in warm and welcoming ways.
Review: In 1979, dub legend Lee 'Scratch' Perry "adopted" a pair of musicians from Zaire who had been left stranded on Jamaica, put them together with his regular session players in the Black Ark studio he later burned down in a fit of psychosis, and recorded an album, "Roots From The Congo". As this fine reissue proves, the resultant music - a vibrant mix of Perry's particular brand of dub reggae and soukous music - was magical and unlike almost anything that had come before. For some reason it was only ever released on small labels in France and Belgium at the time, meaning that original copies are extremely hard to find. This reissue, then, is long overdue. Do yourself a favour and snap them up before they all disappear.