Friday, January 15, 2010

Bigga Haitian & Walkup Records donate proceeds to Haiti Earthquake Relief

Bigga Haitian & Walkup Records donate proceeds to Haiti Earthquake ReliefFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bigga Haitian and Walkup Records to donate all proceeds from downloads of “I Am A Haitian” to earthquake relief
Following the earthquake that struck near Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, Walkup Records and veteran reggae artist Bigga Haitian have announced that they will donate all proceeds from online sales of “I Am A Haitian” from his forthcoming CD, Sak Pasé to Yéle Haiti to assist in the relief efforts in Haiti.
January 14, 2010, New York, NY -- Of the current situation in Haiti, Bigga says, “I feel like I need to do something and this is what I have to offer.”
Reggae artist Bigga Haitian was born “Charles Dorismond” in Haiti to a musical family. His father, Andre Dorismond was a pioneer of Kompa music with the Webert Sico Group. Bigga moved to the United States as a child but has always exhibited his love for his native country in his music, starting with his first song over twenty years ago, “Haiti A Weh Mi From” and continuing through today with “I Am A Haitian.”
Bigga’s concerns are both national and personal: “It is a tragedy, so many people suffering. I haven’t been able to get through to family down there.” Walkup Records co-founder Brett Smith added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this disaster. We are humbled to join with Bigga in his efforts on behalf of the Haitian people.”
“I Am A Haitian” is currently available for digital download at iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody – anywhere music is sold online. All proceeds from sales of this track will go directly to the relief effort.
For additional information on Bigga Haitian and Sak Pasé, promo requests, or to set up an interview, contact Brett Smith or visit Sak Pasé on CD can be pre-ordered at prior to its February 9, 2010 release.
Bigga Haitian has been blazing up the stage for more than 20 years, appearing with reggae legends including Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man, Sizzla, Capleton, Cocoa Tea, Junior Reid, Shaggy, Collie Buddz, and Buju Banton and is known as the first Haitian singer to break into the Jamaican reggae scene, tearing down national and cultural walls and paving the way for the next generation of Haitian artists.
Walkup Records is a New York-based independent music production and services company founded in 2006 by music industry veterans and childhood friends, Brett Smith and Marc Lawrence. Conceived during a jam in Brett Smith’s 4th floor walkup apartment, just up the block from the original Fillmore East in New York City's East Village, Walkup Records stands for a commitment to high quality music played by real musicians, and a determination to do things the right way.
Contact: Brett Smith Walkup Records Email: Phone: 718-930-3673


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yabby U Passes Away

Sad news is breaking that one of reggaes brightest stars Vivian Jackson, aka Yabby U, aka Jesus Dread passed away on the 12th January in Clarendon, Jamaica.

He was born in Kingston in 1946 and wrote and recorded many classics such as ‘Conquering Lion’, ‘Rally Round Jahovah’, ‘Jah Vengeance’, ‘Deliver Me From My Enemies’, ‘Love Thy Neighbour’, ‘Deliverance’, ‘Ballistic Dread Locks’, ‘Dread Locks Man’, ‘Black Starliner’ and Natty Bongo to name but a few.
As well being a renowned recording artist he was also a much respected producer of artists such as Michael Prophet, Michael Rose, Jah Stitch, Trinity, Tony Tuff and Wayne Wade.

I haven't seen anything official yet in the Jamaican papers but it is being reported
here and at various other reggae sites across the web.

More news on this as it becomes available

Monday, January 11, 2010

Irie Up! - New Reggae Magazine is Launched

As it is with life, when one passes on another arrives, so it would appear it is the same with Reggae magazines.
As the demise of The Beat magazine was reported, just a couple of days ago, I have now just learned that a new magazine, with offices in Europe, is born.
The Magazine in question is called Irie Up and will be a bimonthly publication that promises to be devoted to all kinds of roots reggae and dub, instrumental to digital to vocal... from Brazil to China and the magazine is produced by people involved in soundsystems around the world

The first issue features an interview with Jamaican veteran Calman Scott and an interview with UK sound system King Earthquake.
Irie Up #1 also features an article about Paris records stores, photo stories from University of Dub (UK) and Dub Station (France), reggae news from Poland, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Brazil, New Zealand, Russia, Holland, Ireland and the UK, reviews, soundman stories and an article about Haile Selassie in Washington DC. There's a history of dub in Berlin since the fall of the wall, and many smaller articles covering history of reggae in Croatia, Italy and Brazil.

I haven't read the magazine myself yet, but will be putting my order in soon, so watch this space for comment.

For more information about the distribution of Irie Up, check out their website

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Beat Magazine Closes Down

Last Month it was sadly announced that after 28 years The Beat Magazine, the internationally distributed publication covering reggae, African, Caribbean and world music, has closed down read the full statment at


Pama International - Tour Dates for 2010

PAMA INTERNATIONAL Have announced their return to touring after their triumphant support slot with The Specials, you can catch the Outernational tour pt.2 at the following venues from February this year....snow permitting of course!!

February 2010
19 Luton Hat Factory +DJ Attic Twins
20 Bournemouth Champions
26 London Brixton Hootananny +DJ Wrongtom & Jimmy The Squirrel
27 Bristol Start The Bus

March 2010
05 Frome Cheese & Grain +Dub Pistols
12 Exeter Phoenix +Dub Pistols
13 Plymouth Hippo
19 Southend Chinnerys
20 Harlow The Square

April 2010
02 Darlington The Forum
03 Leeds The Well
29 Belfast Black Box
30 Blaenau Ffestiniog Cell

May 2010
08 Labadoux Festival, Belgium
16 Bearded Theory Festival
29 Kelso National Scooter Rally, Scotland

August 2010
11 Broadstairs Folk Festival

don't forget the brand new album from Pama Intl is out now
P A M A O U T E R N A T I O N A L ft. Lynval and Horace from The Specials

"Pama Intl continue their inexorable rise" **** Mojo
“hook-filled, vintage rocksteady spiked with soul” ****Q

available from & all good musical outlets

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Springline Radio 1 is Refreshed!


Springline Radio1 has a fully updated playlist for the new year featuring..
Mungos Hi Fi (Bad From Riddim....Listen to it first...)
Squidly Cole (tracks from his album Babylon Days)
Roger Rivas
The Specials
Jackson Sisters
Reggie Milner
Courtney Pine
Greyboy Allstars
James Brown
Johnny Harris
the Barkays
Public Enemy
Plus more classic reggae, soul, funk and 2-Tone tunes......
Watch out as well for......

Coming Soon!

149 Records Present......The Datta Riddim

After a few months of collaboration and work with French and international artists, the reggae collective
Babyclone Band
is proud to present to you the.............
It is the first project of the new label 149 RECORDS.Singers like Anthony Que, Queen Omega, Earl Sixteen, Raszor et Jah Jah Yute for international artists and Lord Bitum, Lionel (Raspigaous), Terry Bibl e & Shorty, CKLM, Ras Didi, and Lion Killa & Streup Daddy for French artists.
Listen the megamix here :
The one riddim CD is available by sending a mail to: (7 € + FDP)
or via legal downloading at:
Itunes : HERE
Fnac : HERE
Virgin Media : HERE
Amazon : HERE
eMusic : HERE
Napster : HERE
and Nokia Music Store....

Mungos Hi Fi Present...... Bad From Riddim

Due out on 26th February 2010 from Scotch Bonnet on three 12" vinyl Ep's and in mp3 digital format

Scotlands No1 sound system champions

Mungo's Hi Fi

release the Bad From Riddim

It features a formidable line up of vocal talent: Earl 16 (International roots, you may have already heard the remix from LD out on Dubpolice), Warrior Queen, Daddy Freddy, YT, Mikey Murka, Black Warrior, Steady Ranks, Conny Ras, Jennifer Barrat, Longfingah and Fu Steps as well as some Mungo Dubz.
It's a dubstep meets dancehall, heavy bass driven riddim, but with some strong conscious, anti violence statements in the lyrics from the vocal performers on show

Friday, January 1, 2010

Jimmy Cliff Inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!


Is in order for Jimmy Cliff who was inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
He is only the second reggae artist to be inducted, with the other of course being Bob Marley. The official Induction Ceremony is to be held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on March 15th. Jimmy had to beat stiff competion from the likes of KISS, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and LL Cool J and he will be inducted along with ABBA, Genesis, The Hollies and The Stooges. It is a great achievement not just for Jimmy but also for a genre that is poorly represented this academy. Reggae has spread its influence into many forms of modern music, not always obviously, but you need only look at some of the names that are bandied about when people are asked who their influences are. So here’s hoping that King Tubby, Lee Perry or even Coxsone Dodd himself get some form of mention at least in next years list.

Prince Lincoln Thompson

Prince Lincoln Thompson, affectionately called 'Socks' ('Sax' in Jamaican patois) due to his fondness for red socks, was born June 18, 1949 in Kingston, Jamaica. He began his musical career in the mid '60's, when he joined rocksteady vocal group the Tartans. The band also consisted of Cedric Myton, Devon Russell and Lindberg Lewis. They recorded for Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label, releasing 'Far Beyond the Sun', 'Dance All Night' and 'What Can I Say', as well as doing six tracks for Ken Lack's Caltone label: 'Awake The Town', 'Coming On Strong', 'It's Alright', 'Making Love', 'Save a Little Bread' and 'Solid as a Rock'. Their biggest hit of these was "Dance All Night", released in 1967, but despite this success the group soon disbanded, with Myton going on to form the Congos.
The early seventies saw Lincoln going it alone recording three singles for producer Coxsone Dodd at Studio One: "True Experience", "Live Up To Your Name" and "Daughters Of Zion". On the strength of these tracks many hoped for an entire album of Studio One recorded songs from Lincoln and Dodd, but for whatever reason it never did happen. It could have been because Prince Lincoln was one of the first Jamaican singer/songwriters to embody the Rastafarian faith in his music. Parts of Jamaican society at this time did not like Rastafarians and viewed them with caution at best, and although Dodd tolerated them, in an after all if it sells kind of way, perhaps a complete album was a step too far. This did not stop Lincoln though and he went on to form the Royal Rasses in 1975 (consisting of various harmony singers including former partner Cedric Myton plus Keith Peterkin and Clinton 'Johnny Kool' Hall. He also founded his own "God Sent" label and recorded and released the “Humanity” album from which "Love The Way It Should Be" and then "Kingston 11" were issued as singles. These tunes are by some considered the finest expressions of Rastafarian consciousness ever released, and put the name of Prince Lincoln & The Royal Rasses up where it belonged.
A fine songwriter and an arranger he was blessed with a remarkable lead vocal style and "All Time Friend" and "San Salvador" gave further testimony to his talent. Together with Junior Murvin's "Police And Thieves", "San Salvador" and "Humanity" were some of the most played reggae records of 1976.
Off the back of these impressive releases the boss of Ballistic Records, based in London flew out to Jamaica in 1979 and signed him to his label and as a part of the "United Artists" deal they sunk a lot of money into promoting of the band. The "Humanity" album came out, then a massive European tour in 1979 followed to launch the "Experience' album, which was then followed by “Ride With The Rasses". At some point in 1980 Ballistic Records, perhaps looking to broaden Lincolns appeal persuaded him to embark upon an experiment that was to have far reaching effects for both him and the label. It was suggested that he should record new album with singer/songwriter Joe Jackson, who had emerged during the new-wave boom of the late 70s. Jackson was said to have confessed a strong interest in reggae and the result was the album "Natural Wild" aka "Roots Man Blues". The cost of this admirable venture was borne entirely by Ballistic Records, who went out of business as the album bombed in the process of failing to bring the desired crossover success. Lincoln who was a shy, unassuming man and perhaps not best suited to the part of stardom retreated from recording business and essentially returned to Jamaica.
His hiatus was short lived and he returned to England soon and set up the Rasses Fish & Grocery Store in Tottenham, North London; a co-operative venture run on strictly "ital" lines. He did also venture back in to the studio from time to time and in this culminated with the release in 1996 of "21st Century". An album I am unfortunately not familiar with.
Three years later things changed very dramatically as at the beginning of 1999 Lincoln was diagnosed with lung cancer and within a matter of days he was gone.Last year on June 18th he would have reached his sixtieth year on while on the 23rd of this month sees 10 years since the passing of yet another reggae great whose vital contribution is not forgotten.

Prince Lincoln & The Royal Rasses - Humanity

With so many artists of today trying to fill the full 80 minutes playing time you get with a CD this album of only 7 songs may come as a shock to some, but this 30 year old classic is a perfect exponent of the less is more theory and one that some should take heed of. For here are 7 songs from the top draw that you can play over and over again and never tire of. Someone once said to me that to understand reggae music first you must understand soul. Well to me roots is the soul of reggae and this LP has heaps of soul. For a start you have the musical arrangement, the brass in particular, on songs like ‘Old Time Friend’ and ‘Unconventional People’, which could be straight from the book of people like Gamble & Huff.
Then there is Lincoln’s voice itself, so full of soul and one of the sweetest to ever grace the reggae field. A beautifully toned falsetto; not unlike Junior Murvin’s or Cutis Mayfield’s, but with a distinct and alluring tremble to it.
Beneath this bright and breezy sound however are songs making a strong social comment of the time and with a bit of slight tweaking these songs would be just as relevant today. ‘Henry Kissinger’ for example mocks the fact that he received the Nobel Peace Prize despite of what some perceive as his role in the bombing of Cambodia and other controversial American unseen and not so unseen interventions, while my favorite track from this set ‘San Salvador’ despite its warm, friendly, brass filled, foot tappin’ and head bobbin’ flow is a song drawing attention to the massacre of protesting university students in that country by the Military in 1975, plus a range of social injustices and struggles across Central America and the Caribbean during the Cold War. The rest of the songs are just as deep and meaningful, with lyrics of struggle, tolerance and above all one love all set to delicious and original riddims…..a true masterpiece.


San Salvador
They Know Not Jah
Old Time Friend
Unconventional people
Love the Way It Should Be
Henry Kissinger
Kingston 11


On Saturday 9th January at the Kingsway Arms Hall, 77 Kingsway Road, Luton from 9pm - 12am you can take part in an Ethiopian Christmas Celebration with Wayne McArthur & The Universal Players.

The Ithiopian Calendar is seven years behind the Gregorian calendar now used in the west. Ethiopia, having never been colonised, still uses the Julian calendar, where the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each, and a 13th month of five days (six days every leap year).
Ithiopian Christmas day is on January 7th of the Gregorian calendar or Tahsas 29th of the Ithiopian Calendar. This is the date that Christmas was originally celebrated and still is in most Orthodox Christian traditions.
Ithiopian names for Christmas are Liddet, Genna and also Qiddus Bala Wald.
Genna is preceded by a fast of 40 days. There are many fast days in the Orthodox Christian Calendar. Christians fast every Wednesday and Friday all year round. On fast days Ethiopians eat only one meal in the evening. This must not contain meat or dairy foods. Sometimes fish is also avoided.
After a large meal on Christmas Eve, Ithiopian Christians go to Church and spend the night praying. Modern Churches are designed in three concentric circles. Men and boys sit separately from women and girls. The choir sings from the outside circle. As the people enter the church they are given candles which are then lit. Everyone then walks around the church three times. The congregation remain standing for Mass which can last up to three hours.
Food eaten at Christmas is the standard Ithiopian menu of injera, a pancake like bread made from a local grain called t'ef, and wat, a spicy stew. The injera is used to scoop up the wat. The meal is served in beautifully decorated baskets.
Only the children receive presents. This is usually something simple such as clothes. Children also play a game at this time of year called Genna. It is similar to hockey.

You can read an Essay on the Rastafarian perception Christmas from Masimba Musodza

Omar Perry, Chezidek, Tarrus & Lutan

To start off the New Year let me first finish off some old business from last year with four short reviews of LP's released by maybe some of the biggest names in Reggae at the moment, Lutan Fyah, Tarrus Riley, Chezidek and first off Omar Perry. I should of done these a lot earlier, but you know how it is....?

I dare say most people have read about, or heard these already but here is my 2 pennies worth anyway.

Omar Perry - Can't Stop Us

Last month I posted a piece on the decline in reggae record sales in the US. The article was based on one in the Jamaica Gleaner and if you’ve ever read any of their on line pages there is an opportunity for you to give your thoughts on what the article is about. In a amongst the various quotes on price, download, recession was one that said reggae was basically boring and monotonous, well all I can say is that person has obviously not heard any of these four releases from last year, for they are all varied and definitely far from monotonous.
First up for a few brief words is Omar Perry’s ‘Can’t Stop Us’, the follow up to 2007’s ‘Man Free’. Omar is the second son of the iconic Lee Perry and as the likes of Ziggy Marley and Julian Lennon will most likely testify this can be more of a hindrance than a blessing to your career. Omar however I think avoids this as he steers away from self promotional, ranting lyrics and madcap effects to give us a strong and varied set. There are a couple of nods to dad with his reworking of the classic Beat Down Babylon and if your gonna pinch a riddim then why get one form his cupboard as the eco friendly ‘Save the Earth’ brings ‘Chase the Devil’ back to the fore.
The album starts in a very strong and rootsy vain with ‘We Wah’ and ‘BlessThem’, while title track ‘Can’t Stop Us’ keeps things rockin’, before ‘Need You’ breaks ranks and brings things down with its Jazzy sax intro and undertone, but still keeps a strong riddim. I have to admit that though as I say the LP is varied when it does leave its predominantly roots vibe for me it does suffer a bit ‘Right Right Left’ has a kind of dub step, dancehall feel with strings providing the bass line to the militaristic style drumming and almost rapped lyric, while ‘Do You Love Me’ has a lovers, R&B feel. ‘Bring Me Joy’ featuring Cleo is probably best of the bunch from these more commercially sounding dancehall, dowsed in strings tunes.
One of my favourite songs on the album is ‘Tides of Time’ featuring Tippa Irie, old time rolling bass riddim vibe, as they trade lyrical duties. ‘Spiritually’, a song of searching for love, brings proceedings to a fine close of what it is basically a strong album.
Chezidek - I Grade

Following on from 2007's "Inna Di Road" produced by Bobby Konders, "I Grade" brings you more roots reggae style with some tender lovers for good measure. This time though he has teamed up with Sly & Robbie, with production duties going to Guillaume Bougard. The LP is lyrically full of positive cultural vibes and forthright proclaiming of his African Roots and as you'd expect from Sly & Robbie the riddims ooze class. Chezidek vocals are at times as smooth as silk, check out 'Tonight' and he is fast becoming one of my favourite artists
Lutan Fyah - Justice-
In a year that saw roots reggae back in big style Lutan Fyah came up trumps with this set. Similar to Buju, in the fact that a lot of these songs are not exactly new and were recorded in 2007, with the help of producer Philadub, they are still though very fresh sounding. Instrumentation is a back to basic principle of guitar, keyboards and drums and production is solid and not overly fussy. All the usual subjects are covered, as well the occasional dip into some 'lovers', lightening proceedings. Top tracks for me 'Selassie I Within', dancehall stylee 'Make Up Your Mind' and despite its electronic riddim and at times verging on screetchy vocal Killsome City.

Tarrus Riley - Contagious
Tarrus Riley follows up the critical acclaim and success of Parables with this 18 track onslaught 'Contagious'. Some of the tracks, like the Michael Jackson cover 'Human Nature' have a tad too much of a poppy feel for me, but there is no denying his great voice and production, which includes Tarik Johnston and Shane Brown as well as the UK's Chris Peckings and France's Frenchie is almost faultless. There are shades of Marley here and 'Loves Contagious' even rides along on a reworked 'Coming in from the Cold'. 'Young Heart' has a real late 60's early 70's soulful lovers reggae feel to it, while 'Stop Watch' has that golden late 70's early 80's poundin' bass riddim, though I feel the bass in the mix could have been turned up another couple of notches. A very cool, polished and diverse sounding album for sure from Mr Riley with songs that will appeal to many, but maybe, with its rather diverse nature, won't hold peoples attention all of the time.

Tower Of Power

Tower of Power are an American soul and funk based horn section and band, originating from Oakland, California. For over 40 years, with changes in personnel over the years, they have performed their own material, as well as having provided support for some of the most original and impressive acts in the world.
The band came about when in the mid-1960s, 17-year-old tenor saxophonist Emilio Castillo moved from Detroit, Michigan to Fremont, California. He started a band called 'The Gotham City Crime Fighters' which evolved into 'The Motowns', specializing in soul music covers. During 1968, Castillo teamed up with baritone saxophonist Stephen Kupka (later dubbed 'The Funky Doctor'), bassist Francis 'Rocco' Prestia and trumpet/trombone player Mic Gillette. They moved to Oakland, and together they began writing and performing original material. One of their early influences was soul artist James Brown. They changed the band's name to 'Tower of Power' and began playing frequently in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 1970, Tower of Power (by then including trumpeter/arranger Greg Adams, and drummer David Garibaldi) signed a recording contract with Bill Graham's San Francisco Records and released their first album, ‘East Bay Grease’. Augmented by percussionist/conga/bongo player Brent Byars, they moved to Warner Bros Records. Here they released 1972's ‘Bump City’, which included the single "You're Still a Young Man" a song co written by Emilio Castillo, and based on a true story, concerning a former girlfriend who was six years older than him, and peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 in that year, plus 1973's ‘Tower of Power’, proved to be breakout albums for the band.
Tower of Power, released in the spring of 1973, was the bands 3rd album, and, is the group's most successful album to date, peaking at #15 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. The album was also RIAA certified as a gold record (for sales in excess of 500,000 copies). The album also spawned their most-successful single "So Very Hard To Go". Although the single peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100, it landed in the Top 10 on the surveys of many West Coast Top 40 radio stations, hitting #1 on many of them. The album also charted two other singles on the Billboard Hot 100, "This Time It's Real" and "What Is Hip?" The latter is possibly their most enduring song.
1974's Back to Oakland spawned another hit, "Don't Change Horses (in the Middle of a Stream)", which reached #26 on the Billboard Hot 100, plus "Time Will Tell", which charted at #69.
On some of their releases in the mid-1970s, such as Urban Renewal (1974), the band moved more toward funk than soul; however, they continued recording ballads as well. After vocalist Lenny Williams moved on, the band's days of chart radio airplay declined. During the late 1970s they briefly tried recording disco-sounding material. Leader Emilio Castillo said in an interview that the band's brief foray into quasi-disco music was at the request of Columbia Records, who had the band under contract at the time.
Tower of Power still tour extensively today, and there have been many changes over the years. At least 60 musicians have toured or recorded with the band over its 40-plus-year existence. These include Saturday Night Live musical director/saxophonist Lenny Pickett, drummer David Garibaldi, bassist Rocco Prestia, organ master Chester Thompson, saxophonists Richard Elliot and Euge Groove, and early guitarist Bruce Conte. Conte's cousin, BALCO founder Victor Conte, also played bass guitar in the band from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. Former lead vocalist Rick Stevens was sentenced to life in prison on three counts of first-degree murder after leaving the band, while Rufus Miller performed most of the lead vocals on 'East Bay Grease'.
Bruce Conte rejoined ToP in 2006, replacing veteran guitarist Jeff Tamelier. He departed after slightly more than a year, citing personal recording projects and health issues. For this relatively short period, ToP had five of their 11 'Back-in-the-Day' members 'Back-on-the-Stage'.
Following Conte as guitarist was Charles Spikes (while auditions for a permanent player were held), then Mark Harper, who offers powerful and accurate harmony vocals.
Tower's 'So Very Hard To Go' was featured in the soundtrack of the 2002 film City of God, as well as Will Ferrell's Semi-Pro.
The TOP horns toured with Huey Lewis and The News during the mid-1980s. They joined the 'Sports' tour to support Lewis' highly successful album of the same name, and recorded on several of his albums. Lewis enjoyed the experience so much that he later hired other horn players to replicate the sound. Lewis has also collaborated on a few of the Tower of Power's songs.

Tower of Power have made guest appearances on other major recording solo artists' albums. They guested with Little Feat. In 1993 the band was featured on Luis Miguel's Aries, in a cover of "Attitude Dance" titled "Que Nivel de Mujer". Most recently, Tower of Power has been featured on Josh Groban's Awake, during an instrumental break in "Machine".
Horn section collaborations
The ToP horn section has appeared on other artists' recordings, including a live performance with Little Feat in 1977 at the Rockpalast, on the song, "Rocket in my Pocket", which helped catapult Little Feat's album that was subsequently released as one of the best live albums made. The horns from TOP also supported the Monkees, Santana, Elkie Brooks, Elton John, Linda Lewis, rad. (Rose Ann Dimalanta), John Lee Hooker, Rod Stewart, Jefferson Starship, Heart, Huey Lewis and the News, Spyro Gyra, Lyle Lovett, Poison, Phish, Toto, Pharoahe Monch, and Aerosmith. Tower's early song, 'So Very Hard To Go' was featured in the soundtrack of the 2002 film City of God, as well as Will Ferrell's Semi-Pro.
Recent work
Tower of Power has been recording and touring continuously since 1968, and the band maintains a very busy tour calendar. In 2008 they celebrated their 40th Anniversary with shows in San Mateo, California in August, and a huge show at the Fillmore in San Francisco on October 18, 2008. At that show many former band members appeared onstage, and the entire event was recorded for a DVD to be released in mid-2009.Tower of Power has released 19 albums over the years (compilations and regional variations not included), the latest being 2009's homage to classic soul songs The Great American Soulbook.

Tower Of Power - Urban Renewal

Some things might have changed a lot since 1974 but Tower Of Power's Urban Renewal album from that year gets underway with the incredibly funky, eco-conscious 'Only So Much Oil In The Ground', by asking what we gonna do when our wasteful use of this product leaves us dry. Not perhaps quite so ozone concerned then, but still I would imagine ahead of its time lyrically for then.
'It's Not The Crime' concerns itself more with the boundaries and legalities of a certain acts in a post hippie era, but with dirty and funky beat. Some of you of a certain age may even recognise the beginning, as it was used by Dave Lee Travis many years ago as a jingle on his radio show.
Other cool phat funky tunes on here are 'Maybe It'll Rub Off', 'Give Me the Proof' and instrumental showcase 'Walkin' Up Hip Street', where the musicians get to display their skills . It has to be said that this band can cut a groove with the best of ‘em and I wouldn't like to say who would win a clash between them and say someone like the JB's. The one thing that may hand it to this lot though is they can change pace and style with ease as there are also some fine soul ballads as well, from the rich silky 'I Won't Leave Unless You Want Me To' and 'Willing To Learn', which also displays Lenny Williams brilliant voice to full effect, while 'I Believe In Myself' is a brilliantly, bright and up beat soul mover.
Tower Of Power are a great versatile band who are tighter than one of those new polyurethane swimsuits...owww......and this LP is a finely captured display of their talents.

Alice Russell - Pot of Gold (the remix)

Last year I reviewed the original version of this album ( and it has now been brought out in a remix version.
Towards the end of last year subscribers to were offered the chance to participate in the interactive ‘Which Remix?’ debate. 90 second clips of remixes from Alice’s Pot Of Gold album were streamed, allowing fans to rate how much they loved each track. A link to participate was promoted via online promotion (blogs, webzines, music sites) as well as the mailing list of Big Chill and Mean Fiddler with e-flyers advertising ‘Which Remix’ sent from every remix artist to their own mailing lists. The most popular tracks have now been collated into a 22 track double CD featuring remixes from the likes of Mr Scruff, DJ Vadim, Shawn Lee, Yellowtail, The Heavy and many more.
I know remixes have been around for ages and ages, but sometimes I find them a bit ….well lazy… apart from giving the tracks a more cluby feel by turning up the bass and beefing up the beat they often don’t really bring much else to the table. There is no real problem with that here, yeah there are some like the Dusty mix of Universe which aren’t that far removed from the original version, but there are also the likes of Emika’s take on ‘Hurry On Now’ which are far removed their starting points. The vocals are almost stripped out completely bar a few chosen phrases and the tune is turned from that of a beautiful crafted ballad into a throbbing bass driven, instrumental soundscape.
Other particular mixes I liked were the Herma Puma remix of ‘Two Steps’. The pacey Northern Soul beat has been stripped out and a slower more dubby feel has been applied Also the Shawn Lee version of the same song has done much the same but this time with the song becoming almost a bit of a soul ballad, with rocky guitar tinged outro. The Lilstemix of ‘Living the Life’ sees a bit of a reggae feel added to the foray, with a shuffling skank of a beat and subtle melodica tones in the background, while ‘All Alone’ remixed by Captain Planet adds a big time funky drum to what was a quite delicate soulful jazzy tune.
Some interesting reworks of Miss Russell’s work for sure, but call me old fashioned if you like I’ll take the original cuts anytime.