Monday, October 25, 2010

Gregory Isaacs 1952-2010 The Cool Ruler!

The music industry is reacting with grief to news that Jamaican reggae star Gregory Isaacs has died. Isaacs, nicknamed the Cool Ruler, died at the age of 59 at his London home this morning following a long illness with cancer. The Jamaican reggae singer was best known for his song 'Night Nurse'. Gregory Isaacs was born on July 15, 1951. However, it was not before the mid-1970s that he hit his stride with ballads like ‘Love is Overdue’ and ‘All I Have Is Love’. However, Isaacs’ career was marred by a longstanding cocaine habit that landed him in jail on several occasions. In a 2001 interview with American writer David Katz, Gregory Isaacs discussed his cocaine habit. “It is very dangerous,” he said “It was the greatest course I’ve ever been on, but the most expensive. Like in high school,” he concluded. Meanwhile, Isaacs’ road manager, Copeland Forbes said the artiste was always enthusiastic even after he was diagnosed with cancer. Forbes also described Isaacs as a man who was well-known and loved all over the globe. Gregory Isaacs has died leaving 11 children. His body is to be flown to Jamaica for burial.
Gregory Isaacs the Cool Ruler
July 15, 1952 to October 25, 2010

Remember to switch off the flashplayer before starting

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pama International Meet Mad Professor – Rewired! In Dub

Mad Professor should need no introduction. From the early 1980's he has furthered dub music like no other. Producing, remixing, collaborating and releasing 1000's of reggae titles, with a who's who of reggae royalty & beyond, including; Lee Perry, U Roy, Mikey Dread, Johnny Clarke, Macka B, Sly & Robbie, Horace Andy, Max Romeo, Sandra Cross, The Orb, Beats International, Sade, Depeche Mode, Jamiroqui, Rancid, KLF, Beastie Boys, Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction) and many more. In the mid Nineties, Mad Professor’s profile increased to global status after remixing Massive Attack. The resulting album 'No Protection' went onto sell over 1 million copies.

Pama Intl have now teamed up with Mad Professor to bring you Rewired! In Dub... a complete reconstruction of Pama Intl's Outernational album. Upon it's release 'Outernational' received superb reviews and now you can read the thoughts of Gibsy Springline in his review of Rewired! In Dub at…..United Reggae.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Uniques - Absolutely Rock Steady

The Uniques, occupy a very special place in the hearts of Jamaican music lovers. Ask any reggae aficionado to name their favourite singer and it's a certainty that Slim Smith's name will head the list.
Keith 'Slim' Smith was one of the original Techniques with Winston Riley, and Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd recalled "before The Wailers hit the most popular group was The Techniques with Slim Smith..." but in 1966 Slim left to form The Uniques. They immediately established themselves as Jamaica's Number One group with hits such as 'People Rock Steady, 'Let Me Go Girl' and 'My Conversation'.

"At The Carib Theatre, The State Theatre, The Regal Theatre and the Music Union we stole the show from any other group performing and, on one memorable occasion, from The Wailers where Bob Marley threatened Slim Smith..." Jimmy Riley

Slim developed a close working relationship with up and coming producer Bunny 'Striker' Lee although, in typical fashion, he also recorded for other Kingston producers including 'Coxsone' at Studio One.

"After a few years Slim left The Uniques and went solo and the hits continued... 'Everybody Needs Love', 'Blinded By Love' and he was off on tour of Canada. He appeared in places like Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, Wales and all over London. In London he was regarded as the best Jamaican singer and was hailed wherever he appeared." Tony Mack

"I was in New York when I heard about the tragedy and I did not believe it at first... only when I heard it from several sources did I believe it. Slim had returned home to his parent's house after smoking ganja with some friends and could not get into the house. He broke a window to get in and badly cut his arm. His injuries were so severe that he bled to death before he could get treatment..." Jimmy Riley

"Slim is an incomparable singer even though he's been dead thirty odd, coming on for forty years. Slim was the nearest thing to Curtis Mayfield and he could also play instruments... look how long Slim Smith dead and you hear his music still. Do you know of another singer who's come up like Slim Smith? You've never had another singer who's made that impact on Jamaican music like Slim Smith." Bunny 'Striker' Lee

'Absolutely Rock Steady' is a spellbinding release showcasing a selection of some of The Uniques most popular hits presented alongside some of their less well known recordings. If you know and love the work of Slim Smith and The Uniques you'll be reaching for your wallet already... if not we're envious of you as you'll be hearing them for the first time. We guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

To mark this momentous release there will also be a limited silk-screen printed edition of the vinyl album.

To read a review of the album visit United Reggae

Classic Aswad and Easy Star All-star releases revamped

Due for release on 26th October are two different revamped reggae classics.

First up is Zion Train with their first new material since the grammy winning 'Live As One' album. This new work, available on 10-inch vinyl sees the train reworking Aswad's classic 1980 tune 'Rainbow Children'. Aswad front man Brinsley Forde still features on vocals and is joined by Dubdadda and Ras Pyton with dub and vocal remixes from Prof Skank.

The second release that day, although if you live in the UK it is available from the 18th, is ‘Dubber Side Of The Moon’. This is a complete remix of the entire Easy Star All-Star album ‘Dub Side of the Moon’ featuring bass heavy sounds from Groove Corporation, Mad Professor, Adrian Sherwood, 10 Ft Ganja Plant, Dubphonic, Dreadzone, Victor Rice, Dubmatix and many more.
Available to pre-order at Easy Star Records
A promo video can be seen HERE

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Upsessions - Beat You Reggae

Continuing on with the old skool early reggae inspired albums that have been rotating lately at Springline Towers, are Dutch rude boys The Upsessions with their release from late last year, “Beat You Reggae”. This is yet another album that embraces that early reggae vibe and wears its influences firmly on its sleeve. Tunes like ‘Boss Pressure’ and especially Boogeyman, with its manic yelps sound lost Upsetter material, while The Black Ballroom Skank features a toasted lyrical style that reminded me of I-Roy. ‘Reggae Funkalicious’ and ‘The Soultrain’ are exactly as their titles suggests. The first is full on, mighty organ led funky reggae with the latter and closing track a more Stax / Volt inspired selection. ‘Hold Me Belinda’ has semi soul aspirations as the intro leads you into believing it is going to burst into a Motown styled soul fest but then morphs into swinging ska. The vocals on this however are a bit strained and uncomfortable; perhaps it is the pace that is the problem because on slower numbers the vocal is much improved. The ‘Dorothee Blackswan’ croon sees the Upsessions in almost lovers rock territory and is a track doesn’t really do anything for me as it is rather weak. ‘They Say’ however, which is in a similar vein, has a certain gentleness to it that I find quite endearing. My favourite song on the album is the rocksteady story ‘Sammy Wear No Gun’ telling a typical tale of a man wrongly shot down. Good old fashioned fare that one.
This is an album of mixed styles where some work and some don’t, but overall it can be considered a success…oh and it’s worth checking out for the laid back ‘Max, You Can’t Ride A Monkey’. I haven’t got a clue what it’s about but this simple tune should put a smile on anyone’s face.

Track List:

01. Boss Pressure
02. Ready For The Beat
03. The Black Ballroom Skank (Outlaw Larry point a gun) aka The Black Ballroom murder
04. Boogeyman
05. Hold Me Belinda
06. Dorothee Blackswan
07. Reggae Funkalicious (Chapter 1)
08. Sammy Wear No Gun
09. Big Boss Reggae
10. Max, You Can’t Ride A Monkey
11. Backstabber
12. They Say

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Moon Invaders Vs Caroloregians – Hot Blood Cold Weather

This is a new split album from Belgium bands the Moon Invaders and The Caroloregians, well I say split but actually both are made up of nearly the same musicians with singer Matthew Hardison supplying lead vocals for both! Despite this both bands do have slightly different styles and serve up feast of great early reggae styled tunes. The Moon Invaders tend to lean more to R&B and ska, as typified by ‘I Believe’ and the cover of the Everly Brothers ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream’, while The Caroloregians go for a more skinhead, boss reggae vibe, akin to the Harry J Allstars, and The Upsetters, plus there are a couple of swinging 60’s, jazz tinged, organ grooves, in the shape of ‘Periferic’ and ‘Robbery’, thrown in.
One thing is for sure though, whatever your persuasion or preference is for the two bands if you like your reggae upbeat with a hook-filled catchiness plus that rocksteady, R&B, ska slant then this album certainly won’t disappoint.

Full Tracklist

01 Rocking Chair - The Moon Invaders
02 Super Sonic - The Caroloregians
03 Creole Crime - The Moon Invaders
04 F6 - The Caroloregians
05 All I Have To Do Is Dream - The Moon Invaders
06 Periferic - The Caroloregians
07 I Believe - The Moon Invaders
08 Rocking Version - The Moon Invaders
09 Working In A Coal Mine - The Caroloregians
10 Super Satellites - The Caroloregians
11 Natchez Street - The Moon Invaders
12 Robbery - The Caroloregians
13 Re:Session - The Moon Invaders
14 Karlking City Boogaloo - The Caroloregians
15 All The Bets Are Off - The Moon Invaders
16 Super Jet Jet - The Caroloregians

Maroon Town & Intensified Sign to Rockers Revolt

Interesting news from the rockers Revolt camp is that they have signed Maroon Town and Intensified to the label. Each of them are due to due one album that should be out early next year.

Maroon Town
London's ska/rap/funk genre busting 10 piece, originally formed in the mid 80's issuing choice cuts from the start. Record Mirror described their 1989 12" Pound To The Dollar as "the most innovative single of the year". Since then they have played to tens of thousands of people from Brazil to Jamaica, India to Canada, from Tajikistan to all over Europe. Now back home they are set to launch a brand new set next February on Rockers Revolt.
In the meantime catch them live at London Dingwalls w/ Pama Intl & Mad Professor, The Tighten Up Crew and The Sidewalk Doctors on 17th October

Arguably the UK's finest trad.ska & rocksteady band will be celebrating their 21st anniversary next year. To mark the occasion in fine style Rockers Revolt will be issuing their brand new album, complete with a bonus DVD documentary and rather nice artwork by the one and only Chema (who also created the Pama/Mad Prof art). The album is set for a shop release in Jan'11, but there be copies back before Christmas. Catch them live on 17th December at Folkestone w/ Pama Intl