Walkup Records. New York. US.
Released last week to widespread acclaim throughout the reggae music arena, the ultra superb works collected together to form "Sak Pasé", the album by Walkup Records signing BIGGA HAITIAN, we at Springline feel this album with all its diversity and wonderfully played instrumentation deserves its place in being hailed as one of the best releases so far this season.
Featuring guest musicians and produced respectively by the very gifted Marc Lawrence and Brett Smith (Walkup Records founders) this album is simply superb, covering different reggae genres and fusions during it's traditional style running time of under 40 minutes, and covering them in fine style.
There's no filler here. From the opening track, "I am a Haitian," with it's haunting instrumentation acoustics alongside Bigga singing proudly about and on behalf of his land of birth - the words relative to us all no matter where we from - through to the last track "My Doorbell" (2nd cut) which features an alternate guitar mix laid down by the man Mike "Angel" McLaughlin, we are treated to a musical treasure trove of well written lyrics and reggae music alongside all its fusions.
Track 2, "My Doorbell" (1st cut) and a cover of the White Stripes tune features Craig Dreyer and features a great horn workout with members of Steel Pulse and The Skatalites in fine style with Bigga's vocal keeping the whole vibe alive, with a feel good catchy 'summer's coming' almost funky pon top fashion. If there's any tune worthy of crossing over into the mainstream airplay, it's this.
Next up a tune called "Empress" real Jamaican reggae vibes, this tune has a 'recorded live' sound to the mix and it is this tune where the vocal talent of Bigga shines the most for us, and again another Jamaican horn workout which takes center stage and as the song finishes and fades whilst each instrument departs leaving a touch of studio banter it got me thinking.. the next single...? Well it should be, with its pop a top shuffly organ and real live Wailers style drumming married with Bigga's distinct classic vocal, I'm gonna personally lobby Walkup for this to become a single!! and the next track come to that, why not, a double A side perhaps!
The forth offering from the album is my personal favourite "London Massive." For me this is strictly from time UK fashion, taking one back to those 80's 12" collection days. This tune is put together in such a way that it's commercially a winner but at the same time keeping true to a certain genre from time with Bigga coming in on the mix deejay stylee lifting the vibe, this tune reminds me of something, a moment in time, all the elements are there. This cut features current Wailers lead singer Yvad catching yuh ear with some real sweet and highly infectious vocal work and thus keeping you tuned in throughout the track. Great stuff, I want a dub version of this!!
Following this is track 5, last years single from Bigga released at the time to promote this album. "Gi Me Da Weed," which we playlisted heavily during its run on our old defunct SJ station as well as being aired across hundreds of stations worldwide at the time, this was a smash and still is. Good to see this included.
Track 6 "Load The Chalice." Interesting one this. Diversity. Check it...
Track 7 "Haiti a weh Mi From". Again, a moment in time comes to the fore with this track, lovely old time piano 'chankin' in and out of the riddim whilst Bigga gives us a lesson in spoken tongues deejay stylee, top fashion. Doing dancehall proud again with the Walkup Records production team effortlessly bringing this classic bang up to date that feels very much at home on this album. This is the original version which has been remastered by Walkup to celebrate its twenty year existence as a recorded music work (originally produced by Winston Jones).
The last track on the album, track 8, is an alternate version as already mentioned of "My Doorbell" and features a real rock style guitar workout in the mix courtesy of the one Mike "Angel" McLaughlin, and the tune itself has a slighlty more spacious feel to that of its first cut (track 2).
A superbly put together album, just right for the coming Spring and summer, full of diversity and the musicianship is second to none. Completing the package is the wonderfully distinct classic voice and lyrics of Bigga Haitian. Now I'm personally not a pro writer or reviewer as you may have gathered. I leave it to chaps like Gus Taylor and our own Karly P aka italSkarl to find the words, but ever since this album was sent to me, I've enjoyed listening to it over and over. As an ex fellow musician myself once in the eighties, I appreciate the work that has gone into this. The live drums used on some of the tracks particularly sound great. Great album. Feel good sounds. Infectious. I just had to let everyone know. (Gibsy. March 10th)
Walkup Records in New York was co founded and is operated by Marc Lawrence and Brett Smith, both of whom have extensive music business backgrounds working within the industry. Marc went to the University of Delaware and has worked for MTV, Sony Music, and more. Brett went to the Benjamin N Cardozo School of Law and has worked for Jive Records, RCA, Interactive Media Universe/Robocast, The Harry Fox Agency, and more. The guys teamed up professionally after 20-odd years of friendship and formed Walkup Records in 2006, shortly after which they signed the singer who is credited as being the first singer from Haiti to smash into the reggae arena. During his twenty year career, Bigga Haitian has blazed the stage alongside artists such as Cocoa Tea and Capleton to name but two. It has been a long while since Bigga's last album "Binghi Mon" but it was well worth the wait.
Album name: Sak Pasé
Artist : Bigga Haitian
Label : Walkup Records
Guests : Clark Gayton - Cedric IM Brooks - Kevin Batchelor - Bradley Fish - Yvad - Mike "Angel" McLaughlin - Craig Dreyer - Mecca aka Grimo - Bam - Jimmy Two
Album track listing: Running time 38 minutes (traditional LP> length)
1 I Am A Haitian
2 My Doorbell (feat. Craig Dreyer)
4 London Massive (feat. Yvad)
5 Gi Me Da Weed (album version)
6 Load The Chalice (feat. Bam, Mecca aka Grimo, Jimmy Two)
7 Haiti A Weh Mi From (original version)
8 My Doorbell (Mike "Angel" McLaughlin guitar mix)
more info and full bios at: http://www.walkuprecords.com/ http://www.biggahaitian.com/ Released: March 3rd, 2009
***You can hear a twenty minute showcase from the album by tuning into the only #1 label station 'The Sound Of Now Radio' pon Live365***> >
References 1. http://www.walkuprecords.com/