Family Man & Youth Professional - "Southern Version" (version) (3:51)
Review: More than 40 years after its initial release, Afrik revisit the blissed out reggae of Melford Jackson's one and only hit, "Southern Africa". At its heart is some fantastic chord work, which trills and shimmers above the rumbling drums and jangling little guitar riffs. The flip finds Jamaican reggae bass player Family Man link with Youth Professional Band for the enchantingly aimless and wandering "Southern Version", in which it is so easy, and so enjoyable, to get lost in on a lazy afternoon.
Echoslim X Nicko Rebel X Mr Williamz - "Higrade Skanking" (3:43)
Review: Nicko Rebel Music are back to serve up more top shelf skanking material after their debut release sold out in quick time. The EP introduces a host of debutants including Nadine Sutherland, Echoslim and Nicko Revel who sit next to the more established Mr Micah Williams, a Necessary Mayhem mainstay with skills to burn. Sutherland's "Dance Africa" is a rootsy roller with flabby bass and big trumpet lines accompanying her vocal work, which celebrates the glory of Africa, while B side "Higrade Skanking" from Echoslim X Nicko Rebel X Mr Williamz does exactly what it says on the tin.
Review: Jabesh and I David combine to great effect here for a selection of dubs that fuse the old with the new. There are classic guitars and drums on title track "Hold A Meditation" but the broad, smeared synth bass adds some contemporary cool that makes it suitable for a range of different settings. The "Dub" version has lush wet claps and mesmeric filter work before a tooting top line on "Rocktone Melody" gets you in a different state of trance. Closer "Rock To The Dub" sees I David show off his mastery of the studio buttons and rounds out a solid 7".
Review: Jah reins supreme over the four spiritual dubs that make up this roots package from Joy & Happiness. Sattalite's "Jah Praises" is a call to arms, albeit a gentle one, with impassioned vocals drawing your attention. Ant Henderson's "Sing To Jah Dub" is as echo drenched as dub comes and will leave you feeling lost at sea. Brother Dan gives himself over completely to Jah on "Jah Is My Strength" while things are pared back to a icier dub on closer "Strength Of Jah Dub". All hail the king.
Eyes On Your Body (feat Dru, Sketch Carey & Alx) (3:13)
Only You (feat Mya) (3:03)
Don't Walk Away (2:49)
Royal Soldier (3:08)
Life Is Real (feat Popcaan & Padrino) (2:58)
Street Kings (feat Yami Bolo, Junior Reid & Capleton) (3:24)
Review: Jamaica's Royal Soldier is the king of contemporary lovers rock and his new album Jah Cure deals with, as the title suggests, modern life as a soldier, as well as issues of love and consciousness. Across the 14 tracks, his forlorn croonings are complimented by guest spots from heavyweights like Damian Marley on the ganga ode that is "Marijuana", Tory Lanez on dancehall cut "Magic" and Popcaan & Padrino on "Life Is Real", a crisp bit of Caribbean trap. Elsewhere, classic roots bleeds into modern day r&b to make for a genre-crossing work that will earn the man behind it plenty of plaudits, as well as new fans.
Review: Bahamian super talent Fritz Bootle Jr., or FJ, has only one other Discogs entry to his name next to this album, and it's an EP from 1993. The years in-between led to much of his music being lost but thanks to Smiling C, six of his best tunes have been unearthed and pressed to vinyl for the first time here. Mixing up '80s synth and boogie, some tropical rhythms and soft boy vocals, it makes for an exotic, sun-kissed take on r&b that transports you directly to a dance floor in the Caribbean where a warm red fireball is slowly sinking below the horizon as you sip on a cocktail and prepare to get up to get down.