Thursday, January 27, 2011

United Reggae - iPhone App

United Reggae has just launched its iPhone app so you can read, listen to and watch United Reggae content on your mobile!

It features:

Weekly news with audio samples
Interviews, reviews and reports on reggae music and culture
New reggae albums new releases
New videos
The monthly PDF version of United Reggae

The app can be downloaded from iPhone App Store for free by searching for "United Reggae" or direct on itunes.

It is also compatible with iPad and iPod touch and will soon be available on other phone platforms such as Google Android, Nokia OVI and Blackberry.

Visit for details.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dennis Brown at Joe Gibbs

Released on January 10th via 17 North Parade, a VP Records imprint, is an insightful compilation of Dennis Brown’s most popular Joe Gibbs produced songs.

It is a four CD set that forms a comprehensive overview of Brown’s classic work at Joe Gibbs including the two iconic album sets “Visions Of Dennis Brown” & “Words Of Wisdom” plus a further 38 classics collected together on discs 3 & 4 making this set the very blessed of Dennis Emmanuel Brown.

To read a full review on this release visit United Reggae

A biography (on this site) about Brown's life can be found here

To buy Play

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Menahan Street Band - 'Make The Road By Walking’

Having been recently listening to the fantastic debut album from Charles Bradley, I was left wanting to hear and find out more about his backing group the Menahan Street Band, who are the brainchild of guitarist/producer Thomas "Tommy TNT" Brenneck.
The idea for this group came while Brenneck was living in an apartment on Menahan St. in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York and he put together a small bedroom studio (must have been some bedroom with all that brass) to use in creating this fine selection of instrumentals we have here, some of which have been utilised on the Bradley album.
The opening and title track of this 2008 album is 'Make The Road By Walking', which is named after a membership-based organization, located just around the corner from Menahan Street (on Grove Street), that promotes social and economic justice for the community through organizing, legally advising and aiding with numerous other forms of advocacy. The song itself is a steady paced tune with a slightly melancholy, jazzy vibe that wouldn’t have sounded too out of place as an interlude on Marvin Gaye’s ‘Trouble Man’. In fact 'Make The Road By Walking’ sets the tone for the whole album with emotive horns, solid basslines then a sprinkling of conga drums, vibes or flute placed on top. None of the instrumentals are also either too frenetic or too laid back in tempo; the whole ambience of it just flows along serenely and elegantly.
This is definitely an album for the hip and the cool, that has a gritty cinematic feel to it, so not surprising to learn then that triumphal sounding 'Going The Distance', was actually composed for the Stallone film 'Rocky Balboa'. It has also been endorsed by the Hip Hop community as they look for breaks, with Jay Z sampling the title track on his ‘Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)’, while 50 Cent, Kid Cudi and Royal Roach have all used ‘The Traitor’ for various projects.
I don’t know if Brenneck has more plans for the Menahan Street Band, but on the strength of this creative soulful, jazzy, afro-beat fuelled album I for one hope to one day hear more.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Charles Bradley - No Time For Dreaming

I hate this time of the year, in the UK it’s cold, damp, dark and miserable but a beautiful debut album has arrived to make this period a whole lot more bearable. It may not be an album full of big summery vibes, but Bradley’s voice and the quality of the musicianship, with sparkling keyboards, slight guitar and prominent horns in recreating that classic Stax flavoured soul sound of the 60’s, warms your cockle’s right through.
Now who is this Charles Bradley you may ask, with his James Brown styled vocal, is he some young upstart trying to emulate one of his heroes? Well no at 62 years of age Bradley is old enough to have worked with them back in their heydays, indeed he saw Brown at The Apollo in 1962, when his sister took him and the energy of that night formed a lasting impression on him, but Bradley is he more than just some kind of James Brown karaoke, impersonator. Yes, this is a man, whose voice has evolved from a lifetime of paying dues, having nomadically laboured for decades at various day jobs from Maine to Alaska singing and performing in his spare time. Yes, this is a voice that with its distinctively rough-hewn timbre has that unmistakable sound of experience in each note that makes you feel every step of his gruff, and sometimes rocky, personal path.
Despite all this talk of classics from times gone by some of the lyrics are very relevant and up to date such as the gospel soaked blues of philosophical opener “The World (Is Going Up In Flames)”, an obvious take on the troubles in the world today, the up-tempo “Golden Rule”, that rule being the one of love for your fellow man and “Why So Hard”, which is most definitely a personal tale of trying to make it in America and with a voice like his it does make you wonder why it has taken so long for somebody to finally give this man a break!
As with all soul albums there are plenty of stories of love and heartache and Bradley can certainly make you feel those highs and lows as he wrings out all the emotions.
As I said at the beginning the musicianship is great and when I tell you that the music is supplied by guitarist/producer Thomas "Tommy TNT" Brenneck’s musical ensemble the Menahan Street Band, which features musicians from Antibalas, El Michels Affair, the Dap-Kings and the Budos Band, then you’ll know why.
This is an incredibly atmospheric album with a real nostalgic sound and for me is great and powerful way to start the New Year.

“No Time For Dreaming” is available via Dunham Records from January 25th 2011


01. The World (Is Going Up In Flames)
02. The Telephone Song
03. Golden Rule (love for one another)
04. I Believe In Your Love
05. Trouble In The Land (inst break)
06. Loving You, Baby
07. No Time For Dreaming
08. How Long
09. In You (I Found A Love)
10. Why Is It So Hard?
11. Since Our Last Goodbye
12. Heartaches And Pain

Mungo’s Hi Fi remix “Everyman Does His Thing A Little Way Different”

Mungo's Hi Fi are to release their remix of "Everyman Does His Thing A Little Way Different" taken from the album ‘Time Will Tell’ by Henry and Louis meets Blue and Red (aka RSD). The vocal is by Pacey and is a reworking of the Errol Dunkley original of the same name.
The song came about following a chance encounter with UB40 in Jamaica, who linked up a legendary recording session with top artists like Johnny Clarke, Tony Tuff and Willie Williams.
Mungo's Hi Fi have taken the vocal and crafted a one a way riddim track bringing it bang up to date in the only way they know how by adding a very heavy bass vibe to proceedings that you can feel as well as hear.
The flip side of this 180g heavyweight 12" features a dub work out by Mungo’s and it will be available from the 24th of January on Scotch Bonnet records.
Check their website for more details.
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Maroon Town – ‘Urban Myths’ To Be Released On 7th March

I have been lucky enough to hear the new Maroon Town album ‘Urban Myths’, which is due out on the 7th of March on Rockers Revolt.
The album blends ska, rocksteady, latin beats and rap to create a totally infectious vibe and if you liked their early songs like ‘Pound to the Dollar’ and ‘Average Man’ then I’m sure you’ll find plenty to like about this.I hope to have a full review available soon, but be sure this is an album you won’t want to miss.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Forthcoming Releases from Vp & Greensleeves

For the first quarter of this year VP & Greensleeves records will release many new projects with just about something to please any reggae fan.
This month (January) will see the release of two new 4CD box sets on the 24th titled ‘At Joe Gibbs’ from Culture & Dennis Brown and I’ll be reviewing these for United Reggae.
Also out on the same day is the new album from Bushman called Sing The Bush Doctor.
For February they have lined up from the 7th Etana "Free expression"(VP Records)and compilation “Songs for Reggae Lovers” (Greensleeves Records).
On the 14th they will be releasing Elephant Man "Dance & Sweep - the adventure of the energy god"(VP Records)and the fantastic Maikal X "Genesis" (Rock 'N Vibes / Greensleeves Records).To close the month out will be a release from Diplo on the 21st titled " Riddimenatry "(Greensleeves Records)March will bring Tiger " Most Wanted "(VP Records)on the 7th with Richie Spice " Book of JOB "(VP Records) on the 14th plus two various compilations for the 21st “Ragga Ragga Ragga 2011” and “Evolution of Dub - Volume 6” both on Greensleeves Records.