Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Babyhead - Jungle Law Out Soon!

Babyhead, the Bristol based band who have been doing the rounds for some time now on the club and festival scene, are about to release a new single 'Jungle Law' on Rockers Revolt.
The song is taken from their third and what is reported as their "darkest album", 'Heavy Weather' due out in September 2010.
The band blend Reggae, Ska and Hip Hop to great effect and this single shows the dexterity in mixing these styles. Jungle Law is a full on foreboding, horn blaring, big band, ska infused romper with the semi rapped lyrics apparently inspired from famous writer Rudyard Kipling's own The Law Of The Jungle. On the flip is Lupo's dub mix which strips the tune back to basics while adding some keyboards and echo heavy vocal snippets and effects that just add to the intensity of the dark almost apocalyptic feel.
Also due to come out, but not until July is 'Think Money', with its one drop simplicity that sees the band in more sedate waters. The easy going vibe is supplemented by catchy ba-ba-ba-da-da-da melody, which almost disguises the fact this is a song about prostitution, and that people forced into this type of work 'still have bills to pay' just like the rest of us, so 'lay back and think of the money'. Again a Lupo's dub mix shows on the flip, with a nice blend of echo effects and bright keyboards with Rico Rodriguez style trombone solo to play out.
If this is the sound of things to come, then I for one look forward to more.

Jungle Law is out on the 1st June on download and ltd edition 7" vinyl, available to pre-order now at www.rockersrevolt.com/

Also to celebrate the release of Jungle Law, Babyhead will be throwing not one but two release parties...
Friday 28 May 2010 @ Paradise, 19 Kilburn Lane, Notting Hill, London,
Sunday 30 May 2010 @ The Island, Silver Street, Bristol, BS1 2YP

Get along for what promises to be 2 nights of great live music.

For more on Babyhead visit their website www.babyhead.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/

Or for now check ‘em out on YOUTUBE

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One Stop website

The brand new site for SpringlineRecords has been launched today and features it's own mp3 download store - free downloads (more to come) - Guest Writers -forum - reviews and news on Springline and the underground reggae arena ,there are archive SJR radio shows already on air with more being added next week. Download the Springline catalogue at the fraction of the cost in comparison to iTunes and Napster etc and... it's paypal friendly. All of the Springline catalogue will be available to download shortly ,already we have some great releases available.
Much more to come on the site but already it's looking very ital indeed!
The one stop website for all things Springline.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bobby Melody Passes Away

It is with great sadness that we bring breaking news that the prolific underground roots reggae artist of the 1970s and early 1980s, Bobby Melody has died. The niceup.com website reports that he passed away on April 26th in Nottingham, England. No cause of death has so far been given.

Bobby was born in Trelawny, but he had been living in Britain since the early 1980s. His career started way back in the early 1970s when he was a member of The Prophets, a duo that provided backing vocals for influential singer Yabby You's Conquering Lion album.

He is probably best remembered though as a solo act, with his biggest success with his biggest hit being ‘Jah Bring I Joy’, which was produced by the late great Joe Gibbs.

Bobby also recorded for Gregory Isaacs' African Museum label and with deejay/producer Jah Thomas. Thomas was behind the controls for the album, ‘Singie Singie and Bobby Melody: Two Uprising Stars’, which was recorded at the famed Channel One studio with the Roots Radics Band and he was also at the helm for ‘Rock It Already’. His only other original album was ‘Live Stock’ though I have no details on that.

Recently Bobby’s songs have popped up on several compilations with the most noted being Reggae Anthology: Joe Gibbs - Scorchers From The Mighty Two which featured the impressive Jah Bring I Joy.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dubmatix Meets Nate Wize - Free Download

Free Album: Dubmatix meets Nate Wize "RenegadeRemixes Vol 1
For the next week Dubmatix are offering an entire 10-track album free

tHE mANOR - RevElatiOn conGo

Springline’s JAH URBAN SOUND subsidiary label is proud to announce the forthcoming full debut album release from UK reggae & dub artist /producer The Manor entitled Revelation Congo featuring 11 pure and heavy roots & dub from time style tracKs.

If you LiKe your reggae music with the vibe and recording technique to that of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s BlacK ArK studio from the 1970’s then this is TTHE album you must have in your collection!

Mercifully free from non necessary over polishing or digital tuning trixk This bunch of ‘from the soul’ inspired raw and heavy musical artworKs Comes to you from the SpringlineRecords catalogue via old friend Brad T The Manor who is currently worKing on a brand new Rainbow Nation album with fellow artists Yabass ,Papa D and Mac of the old Creation RocKers incarnation.

Revelation Congo will be available at iTunes worldwide – Amazon mp3 & CD store – ShocKhound And Napster online stores from Mid JUNE
Don't forget to take a slice of The Manor 'Extra Apes' freedownload located on the side bar

Sugar Minott

Sugar Minott was born Lincoln Barrington Minott on May 25, 1956 in Kingston Jamaica, and as one of my favourite artists has been a driving force and pioneer of the rub-a-dub and dancehall styles.
He lived and grew up in the Mayfield Avenue district of Kingston, which was home to many of the top dancehalls.
As a boy he grew up idolizing, as many did, the works of Studio One originator Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd and Treasure Isle Studio producer Duke Reid. From this exposure he began to build a repertoire and started entering talent contests like the Little Theatre Company. When he finished school he went straight into the music business selling records and playing in a sound system named, Sound of Silence Keytone. Sugar then decided to start his own system by the name of Black Roots which then led to the creation of Youth Promotion. In 1969 Sugar teamed up with Tony Tuff and Derrick Howard and formed the group the African Brothers. Tony was the lead singer and they recorded for Micron Music which was run by Mick Johnson and Ronny Burke of Sunsplash fame. The group then recorded for other producers the likes of which were, Keith Weston, Winston "Marrytone" Blake, Rupie Edwards and Coxsone Dodd. Some of the releases were "Lead us Father", Mystery of Nature", Party Time" and "Righteous Kingdom". Due to strong cultural content of the lyrics the group did not receive the type of publicity it deserved and this led them to split and pursue solo careers.
In 1974 Sugar Minott teamed up again with Coxsone Dodd and Sugar was responsible for reviving Studio One to its rightful status following the loss of singers like John Holt, Ken Boothe, and Alton Ellis to other studios of the day. The first hit for Studio One by Sugar was "Vanity" and songs like "House is Not a Home”, “Hang on Natty” and “Mr. D.C.”, which led to his first solo album, entitled "Live Loving". He continued to work with Studio One until 1979 when he left and created his own label Black Roots which led to the foundation of the Youth Promotion Crew. Some of the artists that were recorded at this time were Little John, Barry Brown, Triston Palma and Tony Tuff.
Based out of Maxfield Park Square Sugar’s Youth Promotion continued to dominate the competitive reggae scene by voicing young artists like Junior Reid, Yami Bolo, Don Angelo, Steely as well as the late Tenor Saw, Nitty Gritty, Colourman and the Archangel Garnett Silk who did his first recording there. From 1979 to 1981 Sugar had already attained international notoriety and had toured in the US and England and is credited to the development of lovers rock by the release of his album "Music For The Root Lovers" which became an instant success with his English audience. Following this he had a hit with "Good Thing Going", a Jackson 5 cover which went to #2 on the British charts. While Sugar was in England he continued to develop the Youth Promotion and formed the Black Roots Players. Furthermore he was responsible for discovering the musical group Musical Youth. He also did work with Carl Thompson and Bertie Grant the engineer of UB40.
Sugar had much success with his Black Roots label and helped to develop some popular labels in Jamaica such as Channel One where he recorded the hits "No Vacancy", the classic "Herbman Hustling" and "Devil Pickney" with Sly and Robbie. From works done with George "Powerhouse" Phang, Phillip "Xterminator" Burrell, Donovan "Penthouse" Germain, Top Ranking, Tubby's, Jammys, Tappa Zukie, Bobby "Digital" Dixon and Bullwackies out of New York the new style, known as the singjay dancehall, emerged. The sounds that made this popular where those of U Roy, King Stereograph, King Tubbys, right up to Stone Love. Along with Barry Brown he toured the dance halls and thus emerged the current trend that is seen today in Jamaica.

In 1984 Sugar Minott took reggae music to Japan. Along with the late great Bob Marley, Sugar was the only one who had done this and helped to promote reggae music to the Japanese. From this he produced the first Japanese reggae star Naki. Sugar Minott remains a favourite among the Japanese people working with companies such as Takian and performing at major concerts like Japansplash.
Sugar Minott's musical influence comes from people like Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke and Johnny Mathis and most importantly Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis and Dennis Brown. He has various styles that he sings such as lovers rock, dancehall and roots & reality. Credit to his career he has over 60 albums and thousands of 45's, of which 27 of the albums he has produced. Presently Sugar Minott has established a base at 1 Robert Crescent, Kingston 5 Jamaica with Youth Promotion Music Center and Black Roots Production Co. Ltd. Specializing in recording production - studio facilities include 8 to 24 track - record distribution, rehearsal facilities and music school where aspiring youths from all areas whether the country or the town can come and realize their aspiration in the reggae journey as him.

Sugar Minott - Live Loving

This is simply a must have of an album as Coxsone dips into his big box of riddims to supply Sugar with some of his all time classics. True Experience on 'Jah Almighty', Mr Bassie 'Jah Jah Lead Us’, Get in the Groove for ‘Hang On Natty’ and Bob Andy’s Going Home riddim on title track ‘Live Loving’.
Muffled vocal opener 'Jahoviah', on the same riddim as Cedric Brooks ‘Full Time’ sounds like it was recorded with Sugar in the room next door, but this just adds to the mystical, spiritual feel of the tune as it sounds like Sugar is trying to contact us from a another world. Again as we follow onto ‘Hang On Natty' the vocal is slightly muffled, but the heartening bounce of the riddim pulls this tune through. From here on Sugars singjay styled vocals are right up in the mix and the full on devotion of the lyrics is felt on what it is a collection of great roots songs, just check out that bass and vibe on ‘Love Gonna Pack Up’, now that’s quality roots appeal.

01. Jahoviah
02. Hang On Natty
03. Change Your Ways
04. Give A Hand
05. Come On Home
06. A House Is Not A Home
07. Live Loving
08. Love Gonna Pack Up
09. Jah Almighty
10. Jah Jah Lead Us

Sugar Minott - Reggae Legend

VP records purchased Greensleeves in January 2008 and since then they have been releasing a crucial reissue series titled Reggae Legends. The series is has seen the collating of many great albums by various artists and reissuing them in their original format with art work and all, but this time as 4 CD box sets or via digital download, with a lot of these albums being available like this for the first time.

In January it was the turn of Sugar Minot to receive this treatment as 'Buy of the Bar', 'Rydim', 'Time Longer Than Rope' and 'Rockers Awards Winners', recorded with Leroy Smart in a sound clash style with each man recording one side, saw release.

"Buy off the Bar" was originally only available here on hard to get import LP on the Gorge Phang Power House label and Sonic Sounds in 1984. It's a classic dancehall styled album with a vocal followed by its dub version. It might just be me but I have a feeling this has been lifted from an original vinyl version rather than from mastertape because I swear 'Buy off the Bar Dub' skips in the middle! Vocally Sugar is in very strong form especially on top herb anthem 'Strictly Sensi'.

'Rydim' was released a year later with Sly & Robbie plus Black Roots supplying the backing. This album also sees Mr Phang again on production duties and showing more of the style that he is associated. The sound is less organic with Robbie now starting to use synthesized drums that give the snare an almost hand clap sound, but it still retains a rootsy dancehall vibe. Classic Sugar tunes here include the antiapartheid 'Nah Go to South Africa' and the playful 'Feel The Rydim', which also supplied the riddim for Frankie Paul's hit 'Tidal Wave'.

Almost a cross between the first two and also released in 1985 is 'Time Longer Than Rope' still got the synthesized drum but the other instrumentation reverts to back to that more natural sound. Each song like off the bar finishes with a dubby work out though. Tough to pick stand out tracks from this one as its maybe the most rounded of all from this set, but if pushed I'd have to go for the sublime croon of 'Jah You Make Me Sing'......deep and rootsy all da way.

'Rockers Awards Winners' sees a full circle return to classic dancehall with some vintage riddims. This time its sound clash style, as Sugar records on one side with Leroy Smart vocaling the other. It's not a true sound clash I suppose as both sing to different riddims but both are on top form. Sugar gets things away to a fine start with 'Nah Follow No Fashion' on the Queen Majesty riddim and finishes his set with the infectious 'Roots Rock Reggae' on a version of the Boops riddim. Leroy Smart adds to this album with his reliable solid delivery on 'Girls Are Skanking' riding the Solomon riddim, the damning 'Mankind A Failure' on the Abyssinians Declaration of Rights before bringing things to a close on the Darker Shade of Black driven 'Love Life'.....fantastic.

So it's four classic and to some degree the most loved 80's albums from Sugar Minott, one of Jamaica's best-loved and most popular reggae artists, recorded for celebrated producer George Phang and backed by the legendary Sly & Robbie. They also come with reproduction sleeves that help give an extensive overview of the successful hit-making career of someone who is truly worthy of the title.......Reggae Legend.

BB Seaton - Ready For The World

BB Seaton scored his first big hit in Jamaica when teaming up with Delano Stewart and Maurice Roberts to form "The Gaylads”. They recorded the hit single “Lady with the Red Dress” on Clement Dodd’s Studio One label in 1967 and now still going strong after all this time BB Seaton has delivered a fine new album 'Ready for the World' on Roots International.
The album was recorded in Kingston with the help of fellow luminaries such as Sly Dunbar, Dwight Pinkney, Ansel Collins and Gladstone Anderson and despite the burgeoning years of all concerned the album still feels fresh. For sure the influences of the past are here but also with all this experience they show that they are not afraid to try something a little different and move out of their comfort zone from time to time.
The opening couple of salvos 'Life Goes On' and 'Hotter the Battle' are classic roots reggae with the latter sounding like BB singing over an old style Treasure Isle riddim.
Following on from these is 'To Be Organised' which stays in the classic rootsy seam, but sounds bright and modern. 'Nuh Bada Wid It' sounds really dated like an old Eddy Grant throw back from the 1980's with its swirling synths, and heavy guitar, but do you know what I actually like it for some strange reason, perhaps its just BB's voice which pulls it through. Other songs of note are 'The Sound of Drums' a simplistic, but poignant song on a bass and keyboard melody interspersed with brass on nyabinghi styled beat, calling for Africa to unite with the help of some lilting words from Professor Yousef Benyakeman to start and bring the song to a close.
'The Woman in U' sees BB hitting that soulful reggae groove with style, while 'Are U Really' is bass booming, chugging reggae, with a strong soulful delivery as BB pleads for his woman to make the right decision and go with him and make the most of her life..
So a solid performance from the veteran songsmith and friends which keeps him bang up-to-date and proving that he still has a lot to offer. Young pretenders beware.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pablo Moses - The Rebirth

15 years after his last studio effort Mission, Pablo Moses the forthright roots and culture vocalist from the parish of Manchester JA presents his new album The Rebirth. Not really sure what the title is supposed to signify, but put yourselves at ease as Pablo has not gone off and reinvented himself as some manic bashment artist but is still delivering classic roots based reggae full of consciousness, truth and rights as before.
Joining Pablo on parade are musicians such as drum & bass masters Sly & Robbie, saxophonist Dean Fraser, percussionists Skully and Sticky Thompson, keyboardists Robert Lyn and Franklin ‘Bubbler’ Waul and guitarist Dwight Pinckney.
With his golden reggae team in tow Moses kicks off with 'Born Too Be Bad' proclaiming how he won't be pushed around, won't conform and how he fights for equal rights. For this is what I've always liked about him, he seems to have full control over what he is doing and saying and as far as I'm aware in a genre that is always recycling old riddims or doing covers of other peoples songs he is one of the only, if not the only reggae artists to never have done a cover version of anyone else's song and uses all his own original riddims.
The album, as is with Moses is very political and in touch with world affairs with themes running from anti gang culture on 'So Much', calling for a halt to all the senseless shootings, fighting and negative feelings that it breeds to the reverence of Africa with 'Mama Yeah', that is still an inspiring continent despite all its troubles and having been pillaged over the years by various countries and then to 'We All Can Make A Living' he asks for us (government mainly) not to be greedy and spread some prosperity around as really there is no reason for any of us to be living in poverty without adequate food or clothes, while in between he touches on guns, drugs and other social injustices along the way.
There are also a couple of lighter tales, well for Pablo Moses anyway, like 'They Can't Undo' a common tale of forbidden love, as parents want their girl to stay clear of Rasta or the floaty 'Got To Make Away' which sounds at first like a simple love song but really is about not being able to pay the bills and trying to hold a relationship together under the strain.
Despite as I say most of these songs being on foreboding subjects there is always the feel of a positive undertone running underneath them. Take 'We Have The Capability' which bounces along on a bright ska tinged vibe whilst bemoaning poverty and starvation it almost has a party feel to it... quite bizarre really, but never deeming the subject.
Musicianship throughout is excellent, as you'd expect from such an anointed team with production being bright and on the button. The album is contemporary yet it retains the touches of Moses' great work from the late 70's such as his debut Revolutionary Dream and follow up A Song, the titles of which can sum up the man well...........
A revolutionary who can use difficult and complex subject matter, to make simple but very affective songs.

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - I Learned the Hard Way

This, the fourth album from Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, is surely their best and most consistent effort so far. The style is the same as the previous three a retro blend of Stax, Volt and Atlantic label soul, but I've got no problem with that.
It is a steady paced affair with Jones consistently hitting the highs and belting out the lows with ease and in a style that seems a little more controlled than before. The Dap Kings themselves are as tight an outfit as ever whether it is with the big dynamic brass bursts on songs like "If You Call" or gently accentuating the sorrow of emotive opener “The Game Gets Old”. The guitar work here should also not go unnoticed in its simple but very effective way with light licks here or a funkier strut there, as on "Better Things to Do". Probably the best song is "Money". It starts as a slow almost blusey affair then builds with Jones again wringing out the emotion of what we've all most likely faced recently in light of a recession money problems! Running it a close second has to be the hip-shaking tale of growing up fast "She Ain't a Child No More".
"I Learned The Hard Way" may not be ground breaking or even hinting at a new direction for Jones & her Kings but this is a classic sound and no matter how you dress it great music is great music!

Mo' Record Kicks

MO' RECORD KICKS have brought out a new compilation full of exclusive new singles from their established as well as newly signed artists together with remixes and b-sides previously only available on 7". Almost all tracks here are seeing the light of day on CD via this compilation for the first time.
First up is Big Boss Man bass player Scott Milsom's new project The Hawk feat Little Hannah Collins "Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover". It's got a great driving Northern Soul beat which is bound to have the talcum powder boys very excited.
Next it is the sweet vocal of Gizelle Smith, the find of last year, with the sunshine bright disco soul "June" that has been remixed by TM Juke.
Ray Lugo Les Express features. Roxie Ray getting down and dirty on the brisk and funky "Get On Up", while the Soul Fantastics slow the pace but keep things chugging with their lost gem "Soul Train". Enzo Bontempi adds some humour with their "Italian Spiderman Theme" and then Privates Hammond Orchestra get that 60's Mod vibe blasting with the gritty "Battle Of Yoker". The New Mastersounds give the drummer some on "Nervous" before The Hi-Fly Orchestra go all cosmopolitan with "Latinkick". Gizelle Smith returns for her second outing "Waiting For Reforms" which shows her harder edge. Dojo Cuts "See And Don't See" gives us a blusey soulful funk tipped vibe followed by The Link Quartet's "Zebra" bringing us an acid jazz groove.
Kokolo's cover of James Brown's "Soul Power" gets The Lack of Afro treatment and is the first of three remixes from the top man. The other two are The Diplomats Of Solid Sound "Hurt Me So" and Ray Harris And Fusion Experience "Scaramunga". The first is a remix from their ‘Plenty Nasty’ LP, while "Scaramunga" has a bit of an Afro Funk swing paying respects to the James Bond baddie I assume. In between the Afo mixes are The Underbelly's wah drenched "Red Flames", the band are from Cornwall and this track features the sensational Roxie Ray on vocals, with Michigan's Third Coast Kings instrumental "Summalove" and "Crabs Corporation "Irrompibles Hi Fi" following on. The Crabs come from Buenos Aires with a classic slice of early reggae which warns about the perils of drinking too much.
As we near the end of the album Katzuma hit us with the cool early 80's Jazz Funk of "With Time" then it's of to Milano Jazz Dance Combo feat. Colonel Red and "Changes". Penultimate track from Floyd Lawson & The Harts Of Stone is another lost gem with a touch of 70's Northern Soul that has that funky twist on the eco flavoured "Air I Breath", Then Gizelle Smith pops up again and finally brings things to a close this time backed by the Hammond grinding Link Quartet.
The result of all this is an album that gives you the full spectrum of Record Kicks' sound; from deep funk and vintage soul to nu funk and big beats, from titty shakers to future disco, from early reggae to jazz-dance. A musical trip tailored expressively for forward-thinking listeners, cool dancefloors and funky feet!

01. The Hawk feat. Little Hannah Collins - Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover
02. Gizelle Smith - June (Tm Juke Remix)
03. Ray Lugo Les Express feat. Roxie Ray - Get On Up
04. Soul Fantastics - Soul Train
05. Enzo Bontempi - Italian Spiderman Theme
06. Privates Hammond Orchestra - Battle Of Yoker
07. The New Mastersounds - Nervous
08. The Hi-Fly Orchestra - Latinkick
09. Gizelle Smith - Waiting For Reforms
10. Dojo Cuts - See And Don't See
11. The Link Quartet - Zebra 3
12. Kokolo - Soul Power (Lack Of Afro Mix)
13. The Underbelly - Red Flames
14. Third Coast Kings - Summalove
15. Crabs Corporation - Irrompibles Hi Fi
16. The Diplomats Of Solid Sound - Hurt Me So (Lack Of Afro Mix)
17. Ray Harris And Fusion Experience - Scaramunga (Lack Of Afro Remix)
18. Katzuma - With Time
19. Milano Jazz Dance Combo feat.Colonel Red - Changes (New Funk mIX)
20. Floyd Lawson & The Harts Of Stone - Air I Breath
21. The Link Quartet feat. Gizelle Smith - If You Wanna Be My Man

Raphael Saadiq - A Man of Many Talents

Raphael Saadiq was born Charlie Ray Wiggins on May 14th 1966 in Oakland, California. He has been hailed as a standard bearer for "old school" R&B since his early days as a member of the multiplatinum group Tony! Toni! Toné! And has also turned his talents to production where he has worked with such artists as Joss Stone, D'Angelo, Mary J. Blige, and John Legend.
Saadiq began his professional career as the lead vocalist and bass player in the rhythm and blues trio Tony! Toni! Toné! He used the name Raphael Wiggins while in Tony! Toni! Toné!, where he was joined by his brother Dwayne Wiggins, and his cousin Timothy Christian. The trio went on to become major R&B superstars throughout the late-1980s and 1990s. However, after the 1996 album entitled 'House of Music', which did produce several hits, they didn't quite duplicate their previous success, and decided to go their separate ways.

He adopted the name of Raphael Saadiq in the mid-1990s. His change of surname led many to speculate that he had converted to Islam at that point; in reality, Saadiq is not a Muslim, but rather just liked the way "Saadiq" sounded and changed his last name simply to distinguish himself from and avoid potential confusion with his brother, Dwayne Wiggins. As he confirmed by telling noted R&B writer Pete Lewis of the award-winning 'Blues & Soul' in May 2009, "I just wanted to have my own identity!"

In 1995, Saadiq had his biggest solo hit to date, when "Ask of You", featured on the ‘Higher Learning’ Soundtrack and it peaked at a very respectable #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 while reaching #2 on the R&B chart. In 1997, Saadiq hooked up with EPMD for the tune "Da Joint". Two years later, he teamed up with Q-Tip for another minor hit, "Get Involved", which was featured on the animated TV series, ‘The PJs’.
In 1999, Saadiq's next big project became the R&B supergroup Lucy Pearl. The self-titled album was recorded with Dawn Robinson (En Vogue) and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A Tribe Called Quest). The group only lasted for one album.
2000 saw him collaborate with D'Angelo on the song "Untitled (How Does It Feel)". This song won D'Angelo a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance; it was also nominated for Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. The song was ranked #4 on Rolling Stone's "End of Year Critics & Readers Poll" of the top singles of 2000. D'Angelo's album ‘Voodoo’ won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album at the 2001 Grammy Awards.
He released his first solo album 'Instant Vintage' in 2002 and this earned him 5 Grammy nominations. He also formed his own record label Pookie Entertainment in this year with follow up album Ray Ray released two years later along with a 2 disc live album 'All The Hits AT The House of Blues' coming out on the label. As well as these releases 2004 also found Saadiq back on production duties with a remix of the song "Crooked Nigga Too" by the late Tupac Shakur which is featured on the album ‘Loyal To The Game’.
In 2007 Saadiq produced ‘Introducing Joss Stone’, the third album by much hyped British soul singer Joss Stone and also found Saadiq break into acting playing the role of Anthony Hayes in Disturbia, a film directed by D.J. Caruso and described as "a tense, subtle thriller" that's an updated version of Alfred Hitchcock's classic film Rear Window staring Shia LaBeouf.
The critically acclaimed album, ‘The Way I See It’ was released on Columbia Records in September, 2008, featuring artists Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone and Jay-Z, and received three Grammy Award Nominations including Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals (for "Never Give You Up," featuring Stevie Wonder & CJ Hilton); Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance (for "Love That Girl") and Best R&B Album. It was also voted Best Album on iTunes of 2008. Another new label surfaced called Velma Records, with Raphael promising "people can express themselves like I did with 'The Way I See It'... where they can dream something up and just go with it".
Not content with singing, production, record labels and acting last year Saadiq announced the creation of a video game development company called IllFonic. The first video game in development is titled Ghetto Golf, and is expected to be released late this year.

The Meters - Rejuvenation

'Rejuvenation' is probably best known, in certain circles anyway, for being the album that contains 'Just Kissed My Baby', the opening of which uses a full on lustful wah-wah guitar riff that was used to great effect by Public Enemy on 'Time Bomb', a track from their debut LP 'Yo Bumrush The Show'. This LP though is about more than just one lick and for me highlights a band at the peak of their musical career.
Hailing from New Orleans this is Southern Fried Funk and The Meters make full use of the areas rich musical heritage, incorporating Soul, Mardi Gras, Gospel, R&B and even subtle country leanings to their sound. Formed in 1967 by Art Neville, who had already been making rhythm & blues for nearly two decades, with bands such as the Hawketts, he recruited Leo Nocentelli on guitar, George Porter Jr. on bass and Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste on drums. They then became the house band for producer Allen Toussaint, becoming a kind of New Orleans' answer to the Stax/Volt Memphis studio band Booker T. and the MG's, and backed up the likes of Lee Dorsey and Ernie K-Doe. They also cut instrumental albums for the local Josie label, but when Reprise signed the Meters in 1971, Neville started singing again, which leads us nicely to 1974’s Rejuvenation.
Just one look at the cover; garishly decorated room, lady in stacked heels, big afro, eating watermelon, drinking Ripple wine and surrounded by, I dare say, funky ass records, I can make out The Meters ‘Cabbage Alley’ anyway, you can almost hear what you’re gonna get. Opening track, the conscious 'People Say' is a blue print for funk, with its stunted wah guitar licks, solid bass and jumping drum. Up next is the deep, soulfully, bluesy 'Love Is For Me' and then Baby kicks in. 'What'cha Say' leads off in an almost light rock kind of way with funky breaks. It's in songs like this that you can hear what most probably made people like Paul McCartney such a big fan. Much the same can be said with 'It Ain't No Use', an 11 minute plus true psychedelic funk in which each member takes his own tangent while the pulse never falters. It sounds like something a young Eric Clapton would sing (who inspired who?...hmm). In between these two tracks is the raw, driving funk of ‘Jungle Man’ while ‘Hey Pocky A-Way’ starts with a bit of a piano rattling rag time feel, then rolls along in fine funky, foot tappin’ form, with bright blasts of brass.
The song that follows the earlier mentioned ‘Ain’t No Use’ is a complete opposite “Loving You Is On My Mind” is a loungey, free & easy, happy go lucky sounding instrumental. The album then reverts to form and finishes with the in ya face drum & bass, plus sharp keyboard accents, homage and repatriation call to the land where it all began ‘Africa’. On a side note this track was used hook line and sinker by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers for one of their early work outs titled ‘Hollywood’, and shows to some extent how far the influence of the Meters has travelled with even Mick Jagger quoted as saying “they are best mother f***ing band in the world!” .You can still catch Neville and Porter playing their mixed bag-o-funk, with various guests as the Funky Meters live occasionally, although most of the dates I’ve seen advertised are state side. So if you can’t catch ‘em live go get rejuvenated on some Meters sophisticated funk.

Tracklist for Rejuvenation (original version)
A1. People Say
A2. Love Is For
A3. Just Kissed My Baby
A4. What’cha Say
A5. Jungle Man

B1. Hey Pocky A-Way
B2. It Ain’t No Use
B3. Loving You Is On My Mind
B4. Africa

Chukki Starr - Most Wanted

Just out is this compilation from British singjay stalwart Chukki Starr on Greensleeves as part of their 'Most Wanted' series, which has featured the likes of the Wailing Souls, Yellowman, Ranking Dread, Johnny Osbourne, Bushman and Eek-A-Mouse.
It is 15 or so years since Chukki Starr, real name Anthony Williams, released his first song after starting out in the early 90's as a deejay for the Echo Stones soundsystem in London's Stonebridge Community. After this he teamed up with Gussie P of London-based Fashion Records and began working for the Evilous sound system, in around 1993/94. A trip to Jamaica then followed where he recorded a couple of tunes for Bobby "Digital" Dixon and African Star plus voicing lots of specials for several Jamaican sounds.
From there it was Back in London and a stint with Saxon where he recorded "Unity", a combination track alongside Frankie Paul, and "Mark Of The Beast" and "Youth Dem Anthem".
Mad Professor produced Chukki's debut album "Ghetto Youth's Livity" on his Ariwa label, which was released in 1998. Three years later the albums "Forever Shall Praise" (Bakchich Records) and "From Crime To Kodesh" (JetStar) were released, then another three years on, in 2004, his second album for Mad Professor's Ariwa label, "True Guidance", hit the streets. The release of his fifth album, "Can't Stop It", took place in 2005 and since then, apart from last years "Ghetto Life" with Michael Rose on the "Seven" riddim things have been rather quite.
This compilation I hope will change all that as it is full of good tunes and after listening to them you wonder why such a talent, he sounds a bit like Capelton, has not found his way onto record more often. "The Almighty One" taken from his debut album "Ghetto Youth's Livity" opens the set with aplomb and although it is now 12 years old its sound is very relevant to today with the resurgence in roots styled reggae that has happened over the past 12 months and the things that the likes of Naptali and Kinyama Sounds are doing.
Four tracks are taken from the album "Forever Shall Praise". The title track, on a smooth working of Bob Marley's "So Much Trouble in the World", "How Me So Real", plus the pulsing digi dancehall styled "Show Your Love" and "Praise The Creator" , with the later making good use of Shineheads "Mama Used To Say".
From the third album, "From Crime To Kodesh", that was produced in collaboration with Doctor Marshall and Mickey D and recorded at Anchor Studios in Kingston, come "Love & Peace" and the "Earthquake" riddim driven "Down In Da Ghetto".
The rest of the tracks are made up of various 7" and 12" vinyl releases. "Mark Of The Beast" and "Sweet Meditation" came out in 1999 and were recorded for Saxon. Then there is "Crazy Shooting" on an original Henry "Junjo" Lawes riddim, then the classic "Hard Fi Smile" on Frenchie's "World-A-Music" riddim, before all good things must come to an end with a tune on Special Delivery's "Visions" riddim with the superb "Greatest Of Dem All".
I think it would be fair to say that Chukki has found greater success in main land Europe, where he has toured extensively, than in his native UK, but hopefully this set will bring him a bit more prominence here and lead to some new and extensive recordings.


1. The Almighty One
2. Mark Of The Beast
3. Sweet Meditation
4. Forever Shall Praise
5. Crazy Shooting
6. Hard Fi Smile
7. Praise The Creator
8. Love And Peace
9. How Me So Real – Piano???
10. Show Your Love
11. Ghetto Youth's Livity
12. Down In Da Ghetto
13. Greatest Of Dem All

Jammys - From The Roots 1977-1985

A little while back I was asked to review Jammy's obscure 'Strictly Dub' album, recently re-released on Pressure Sounds, but I had to decline. It was not that I thought it was awful it was just that it just didn't do anything for me. It seemed a bit like it was just going through the motions, a kind of Dub by numbers and I found myself all too often drifting off when listening to it and the album becoming just back ground noise, a nice noise but a noise that was just passing me by all the same. This on the other hand grabbed me and held me from the first opening few strains of Johnny Osbourne's anti rude boy "Fally Ranking" right the way through to the peace and love call of Black Uhuru's "Willow Tree" closer.
This album showcases some of Jammys great roots / early dancehall works from that classic age for reggae between the mid 70's and early 80's before he would change the face of reggae forever with his digital explosion on the back of Wayne Smiths "Under Me Sleng Teng". Smith in fact appears on here pre digi with the beautifully haunting keyboard, melancholy of "Time Is A Moment In Space" a track that is a rocket ride away from Sleng Teng, while displaying more than just a passing resemblance to Barbra Streisand's "Woman In Love"!
The rest of the cast list on this album reads like a veritable who's who of reggae from the era with the likes of Junior Delgado, Frankie Paul, Sugar Minott, Barry Brown, Half Pint and more. Some though are not quite as familiar to me such as The Travellers who give us the bouncy "Jah Gave Us This World" and subsequently U Black who toasts and sounds a bit like Big Youth over a dub version of the Travellers cut. Also there are the Fantails with "Name Of The Game" on the Shank I Sheck riddim and Natural Vibes' "Life Hard A Yard" on a version of Bob and Marcia's Really Together. I could go on but to what end, other than just to say, Jammy's crisp and sparklingly clear production helps makes every one of these tunes a must and you really won't go wrong should you invest in this is a fantastic compilation.
Full Track List
1. Johnny Osbourne - Fally Ranking
2. Half Pint - Mr Landlord
3. Hugh Mundell - Jah Fire
4. Echo Minott - Youth Man
5. Earl Zero - Please Officer
6. Frankie Paul - Do Good
7. Augustus Pablo - Pablo In Moonlight City
8. Junior Delgado - Love Tickles Like Magic
9. Black Uhuru - Tonight Is The Night To Unite
10. Travellers (the) - Jah Gave Us This World
11. U-black - Natty Dread At The Controls
12. Johnny Osbourne - Jahovia
13. Barry Brown - It A Go Dread
14. Frankie Paul - Children Of Israel
15. Natural Vibes - Life Hard A Yard
16. Lacksley Castell - What A Great Day
17. Frankie Paul - Foreign Mind
18. Wayne Smith - Time Is A Moment In Space
19. Sugar Minott - Give The People What They Want
20. Frankie Paul - Pass The Tu Sheng Peng
21. Junior Reid - Boom Shack A Lack
22. Half Pint - One Big Ghetto
23. Johnny Osbourne - Mr Marshall
24. Junior Reid - Higgler Move
25. Dennis Brown - They Fight
26. Black Crucial - Conscience Speaks
27. Junior Delgado - Liberation
28. Frankie Jones - Cally George
29. Jays (the) - Jah Do Love Us
30. Fantells - Name Of The Game
31. Echo Minott - The Last Train
32. Black Uhuru - Willow Tree