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      KFJC On-Line Reviews
    What KFJC has added to their library and why...

    Roots Dancehall Party [coll] – [Silver Kamel Audio]

    Reggae producer Nkrumah Thomas has put together this unique compilation of, what else, reggae tunes but mixed in the showcase style (stylee). That means that two songs are mixed together, one after the other, with different singers but using the same rhythm recording. The drum beats are the same. The guitars are the same. The bass is the same. The vocals and lyrics are different. It all makes for great reggae roots dancehall partyin’ dance music. These are pretty standard party reggae songs about dancing, dancing, sexy girls, dancing, and a good Sunday meal. Plus the singers are top notch: Jah Thomas, Barrington Levy, Sugar Minott, Triston Palmer, etc. Get rub a dub.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on January 13, 2014 at 11:47 pm
  • Filed as CD,Reggae
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  • Dekker, Desmond – “King of Ska” – [Trojan Records]

    When I first saw this album I thought,”oh oh” because this is a 1991 release of Desmond Dekker, the true King of ska, redoing a lot of his early songs from the early days. I most often like the original recordings. Like, why mess with a classic when it has already achieved greatness? But then I thought, why not. Many of the biggies like to go back and try again on their hits. Why shouldn’t Desmond? Hmmmm…… well what can I say? Keep it positive. He’s still got the voice, that super voice full of enthusiasm and bounce. And it is ever present on the ten tracks that Trojan Records choose to release. It’s great to hear him keep on singing at that point in his life. Yeah, those are good reasons. Exclude the flat production and kind of predictable instrumentation which weighs down the ska. Maybe it’s like, ska lite, or ska for the cocktail lounge. I could handle that. I mean I don’t want folks bouncin’ around while I’m trying to drink my Manhattan when I’m trying to listen to the guy on stage. But I digress. Remember, he has a SUPER voice.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on December 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Captain Sinbad – “Reggae Music Will Mad Unu!” – [Maximum Sound]

    Heeeee’s back. After over 20 years of not recording, Frenchie, England’s reggae producer supreme, convinced Captain Sinbad to come out from behind the boards and work his dancehall magic for a new reggae recording. Remember “The Seven Voyages of Captain Sinbad”, that early ’80’s classic? Well, Captain Sinbad sounds like he just picked up where he left off. With a heavy hitter team of musicians (of course including Sly and Robbie), Sinbad sings of his life, honors the history of Jamaican reggae and gives reverence to THE favorite plant. His voice is solid, strong and commanding, grasping the listener on his first note and taking you through to the last heavy bass thump. Each song is followed by a bouncing dub version. The cover art will make you feel like it’s the summer of 1982 all over again.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on December 3, 2013 at 10:50 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Captain Sinbad – “Reggae Music Will Mad Unu!” – [Maximum Sound]

    Heeeee’s back. After over 20 years of not recording, Frenchie, England’s reggae producer supreme, convinced Captain Sinbad to come out from behind the boards and work his dancehall magic for a new reggae recording. Remember “The Seven Voyages of Captain Sinbad”, that early ’80’s classic? Well, Captain Sinbad sounds like he just picked up where he left off. With a heavy hitter team of musicians (of course including Sly and Robbie), Sinbad sings of his life, honors the history of Jamaican reggae and gives reverence to THE favorite plant. His voice is solid, strong and commanding, grasping the listener on his first note and taking you through to the last heavy bass thump. Each song is followed by a bouncing dub version. The cover art will make you feel like it’s the summer of 1982 all over again.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on December 3, 2013 at 10:50 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Palma, Tristan – “Settle Down Girl” – [Trojan Records]

    Tristan Palma, aka Triston Palma, aka Triston Palmer, born in Jamaica in 1962, has been making music since he was 8 and he seems to have no desire to stop. Name one of the big players on the Jamaican reggae scene and Tristan has probably worked with them. This 1983 release, “Settle Down Girl”, is in the Lover’s style, of which I was not aware, but one Palma mentions numerous times in interviews. In my dad’s time Palma would have been known as a “ladies man”. Decide for yourself what to call him but these nine tunes do present a fellow very interested in the ladies. He’s a smooth talker for sure. Song after song he tells the girl or woman why she needs to be with him even though he understands the circumstances may be difficult. His easy vocal styling lull the listener into his trap while the Roots Radics band fills out the sound with their distinctive bass and drums. This is laid back, romantic reggae and it sounds sooooo good.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on December 1, 2013 at 11:11 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Mojah, Fantan – “Hail The King” – [Greensleeves Records Ltd.]

    Initially reviewed by Mr. Lucky but somehow lost.
    Here is his review: ” Fanton Mojah’s Hail the King is the debut album from this reggae sing-jay, and upon it’s initial release in 2005 he exploded on the scene. The reggae massive couldn’t help but be captivated by the voice and energy of the Bobo Ashanti rasta, and he immediately scored a hit with “Hungry”, a tune on the updated “Mr. DC” riddim. He has a voice that fluctuates from a mellow, hazy tenor to a rasping whiny explosion. He’s generally a singer, but his time working in sound systems in JA has prepared him for the tracks that require a harder edge. Fantan really feels the music, he’s not just going through the motions, and it makes for great listening. The music is generally in the new roots style, with a couple of tracks having a more digital sound (Feel the Pain, Love Grows) and others with more of a dancehall feel (Corruption, Hungry). I personally enjoy the slower songs where Fantan can really use the time and space to showcase the subtleties of his style and voice (Hail the King, Nuh Build Great Man, Kings of Kings). -Mr. Lucky”
    What else can you say? I concur. Naysayer.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on November 19, 2013 at 12:52 am
  • Filed as CD,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Prince Far I and The Arabs – “Dub to Africa” – [Pressure Sounds]

    Prince Far I. Really, what else needs to be said. Prince Far I.
    Well, maybe a bit more. On this 1979 release the Prince, master percussionist and producer did both of those things plus introduced the songs in his distinctive low, gravel sounding voice. It hits you deep when you hear him speak. Not a lot of chances for his “chanting”, as he called it, rather than “toasting”, but it works so well. For this album the Prince hired new, younger musicians, rather than his studio regulars. These guys later became the foundation of the Roots Radics. The bass is strong and deep. There is a lot of guitar work. The effects may not be as twisted as one would expect but even more straight forward Prince Far I is more out there than most dub that comes out. Put your head between the speakers and feel the bass.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on November 19, 2013 at 12:19 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Sabebe – “Light of Saba, The” – [Kingston Connexion]

    Originally out in 1978, reissued in 2008 by Jacques Golub. As much a
    soul album made in Jamaica as a reggae album. The closing track,
    “Africa” with its great driving hand-percussion, catches an
    Afro-Beat stride, and other moments felt like the Art Ensemble
    of Chicago trying to sneak onto Soul Train for a slow dance
    number. “Caliweed” is a blend of herbs and Isley’s “Summer Breeze”
    while the track before that seems like it came from the same
    hydroponic high, “Music in My Brain.” That has some very 70’s
    synth analog oogling. Some horn charts that have the football
    highlight reel strength, the lead-off track has both congos
    and a Congo-esque falsetto feel as the band summons their name
    and strength. Voodoo too with the bonus of “Legba Praise” pure
    heavy hitting percussion riffin’ (Check the fine liner notes
    for tributes to the elders in an interview with Phillip Whyte
    the man at the heart of Sabebe’s flame.) Mellow positive vibes.

    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on November 11, 2013 at 11:15 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Steel Pulse – “African Holocaust” – [Sanctuary]

    “African Holocaust” is Steel Pulse’s 11th studio album and marks a return to their militant roots. This is roots reggae style but with a British feel to it. The rhythm is a bit quicker, the horns soften out the top registers, and the bass keeps a steady beat throughout. It’s a very polished sound, as it should be, considering how long these guys have been around. They are one of the top reggae acts world wide and have that staying power like Black Uhuru and Burning Spear. David Hinds’ lead vocals set out to educate on a multitude of current world wide topics including global warming, police brutality, weapons of mass destruction and the deaths of political activists world wide. There is talk of Jah, of Haile Selassie, of Babylon. It’s what you would expect from a group like Steel Pulse: strong pop reggae that many will enjoy.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on October 14, 2013 at 11:11 pm
  • Filed as CD,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Fat Freddy’s Drop – “Based On a True Story” – [Drop]

    When I slid this in the CD player I had no idea what to expect, except there would be some reggae. From the first notes, I was caught off guard and fell whole hog into the world of Fat Freddy’s Drop. A little research showed that Fat Freddy’s Drop (FFD) come from Wellington, New Zealand (NZ) and are composed of seven musicians who have a lot of experience in playing with many bands. These guys came together to form what would become NZ’s most successful independently produced band, staying on the NZ charts for over a year, going several times platinum, winning a number of NZ Grammies, selling out shows in Europe, Australia and NZ, of course. I didn’t know that, though, when I listened to their CD “Based On a True Story”, several times in a row. And it shouldn’t make a difference to anyone. Here’s what you get: a wonderful melding of reggae, soul and jazz, skillfully played. The compositions are lush but not filled up. There is space between the notes. They are not afraid of a pause, a quiet moment. They are not afraid of mixing up instrumentation. Joe Dukie’s (Dallas Tamaira) vocals are some of the smoothest, most soulful to be heard in a long time. In fact, smooth is a word to sum up this group. Smooth. Soul. Sex. That’s what this group has. If most contemporary soul was as rich and hot as this I would listen all the time. Listen up and melt to their sound.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on October 6, 2013 at 10:00 pm
  • Filed as CD,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Tuff Lion – “Ten Strings” – [I Grade Records]

    Tuff Lion is a reggae guitarist of supreme order who has played on numerous albums with numerous groups. His album “Ten Strings” is a full instrumental album with guitar as the lead, taking the place of vocals. A solid reggae rhythm section starts off and carries through all the tracks while Tuff Lion plays both electric and acoustic guitar. At first I thought it sounded like jazz guitar similar to George Benson. There is a strong jazz guitar influence in the playing, that is for sure. Very smooth and laid back. And that describes the whole album. Very smooth and laid back. Really clean. Easy listening. It’s sort of odd for my untrained ear to hear this music with the complicated guitar lines flowing through the sound. Youtube has an interesting post of Tuff Lion explaining how to play reggae guitar with its stops and starts, downstroke power, rhythm guidance. That I was familiar with. Yet this album is so different. It feels like music you would hear at a spa, lying back waiting your turn for the masseuse. The beginning tracks are the strongest and will make for a nice change of pace in a set or for a bed. Great for a music bed. Stay away from the last five tracks, otherwise enjoy.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 25, 2013 at 1:41 am
  • Filed as CD,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Grant, Della – “Don’t Make Sense” – [Twinkle Records]

    Della Grant is one of the Queens of Reggae and “Don’t Make Sense”, her ninth album helps her continue her reign. Coming from a family of reggae luminaries (her husband Ralston Grant is one half of the Twinkle brothers), Della uses her pedigree to a righteous end. What caught me when I first heard a track from the CD was the voice, the beautiful unique voice that is Della’s. It’s not so much smooth as vibrato, with this wobbly sort of quality that catches your ear and hooks you in. And I retract the part about smooth: she is very smooth, connecting the notes over this style of ease and assuredness. Her songs cover topics about love and relationships, social injustice and all things zion. They flow together so well and the transitions make sense.
    The instrumentation is classic reggae stylings. Some of it sounds synthesized, like karaoke. But good karaoke. Or cocktail lounge. YES! That is it. This is music for the Reggae Cocktail Lounge, no joke. It would be so perfect to be sitting back in some upholstered booth, sipping on a drink, after work, the band tunes up, the familiar bass line drops, and Della steps out under the spot light and begins to sing, soothing all the stress of the day away. I want this place. I want Della singing there. Until I find it, this CD will have to do.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 16, 2013 at 10:40 pm
  • Filed as CD,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Lee, Bunny and The Agrovators – “Dub Will Change Your Mind” – [King Spinna Records]

    The new King Spinna Records label, (started in 2011), began with a bang with this release of extreme rarities by Bunny Lee and the Agrovators. Some of these tracks are so rare that even Bunny Lee himself talked about how he had not known they existed. But they do. Coming from 1974 to 1978, these Bunny Lee produced dubs feature a whose who of the reggae and dub community. Just look at the list on the back. There is a big focus on Carlton “Santa” Davis’ funky flying cymbal style. You’ll hear Sly and Robbie do their best along with all the others. Set to dub. And you will hear how the amazing Bunny Lee can twist a song just enough to make it spin your head around. This is dub production set at it’s finest. Celebrate this King Spinna Records project with the numerous spins it deserves.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 10, 2013 at 12:22 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Lee, Bunny and The Agrovators – “Dub Will Change Your Mind” – [King Spinna Records]

    The new King Spinna Records label, (started in 2011), began with a bang with this release of extreme rarities by Bunny Lee and the Agrovators. Some of these tracks are so rare that even Bunny Lee himself talked about how he had not known they existed. But they do. Coming from 1974 to 1978, these Bunny Lee produced dubs feature a whose who of the reggae and dub community. Just look at the list on the back. There is a big focus on Carlton “Santa” Davis’ funky flying cymbal style. You’ll hear Sly and Robbie do their best along with all the others. Set to dub. And you will hear how the amazing Bunny Lee can twist a song just enough to make it spin your head around. This is dub production set at it’s finest. Celebrate King Spinna Records project with the numerous spins it deserves.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 10, 2013 at 12:21 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Prince Jammy – “Prince Jammy Destroys The Invaders” – [Greensleeves Records Ltd.]

    This Prince Jammy monster dub rerelease album originally comes from 1982, several years before his groundbreaking all drum machine digital ragga style blew the roof off of reggae and dub. “Prince Jammy Destroys the Invaders”, produced and mixed at King Tubby’s, recorded at Channel One, house band Roots Radics: it doesn’t get much better than this. As the album cover suggests, this is dub in space. It’s open ended. Not crowded at all. Lots of room for the sounds to bounce around. Because space is filled with…. well… space. Prince Jammy doesn’t need to fill each moment with something going on. Just the dubby dub bass and drums are enough to keep the listener going for awhile. But rest assured, the once in awhile odd space sound, the soundtrack of space invaders (as in video game also), will come out of nowhere and shoot across the speakers and through your room, putting a smile on your face. Now, if space travel sounded like this, I might think of signing up. Enjoy the fun.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 9, 2013 at 11:37 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Thompson, Linval – “Negrea Love Dub” – [Trojan Records]

    lovedub

    Echoey, reverby, stuttery dub..produced and written by our good friend Linval Thompson. Pressed in England, 1978. My favorite part about this is the use of what sounds like a church organ, it particularity shines on A1 and A4…..Percussion keeps the rhythm flowing, courtesy of Hoss Mouth and Sly Dunbar, hand drums, drum set and a snare that is being smacked in the back of a deep, resonant cave. Also in the mix are the occasional electronic pop-corn sounds, skankin guitar licks, tight like glue bass lines, ska-ish horn bits and doubled back vocal samplage… This is some kick back lazy island sway, making love and lighting up sort of dub. Real spliffy. -Surfer Rosa

  • Reviewed by surferrosa on August 28, 2013 at 2:54 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Jah Shaka – “Commandments of Dub Chapter 7” – [Jah Shaka Music]

    Jah Shaka, the article don! Seen? UK based reggae/dub artist, soundsystem blaster. A.k.a. the Zulu Warrior’s spiritual test came in the 1980s when he held it down for roots cultural tradition against prevailing trends towards slackness in the dancehall. Jah Shaka does not waver at the pinnacle of UK dub with the respect of his Jamaican dreadren secured. The Commandments were a series of albums that were released on his own Jah Shaka Music label between 1982 and 1991 and Chapter 7 stands out for its occasional weird drum production and synth noodling which stamp it 80’s, yet twerked enough for it to take this long to get it. Turn up the bass, rattle the rearview, future-time is now, seen? 33 1/3rd. MtheG.

  • Reviewed by mann on July 16, 2013 at 8:46 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Dj Dubcuts [coll] – [Jamaican Recordings]

    This is a collection of dub singles from some of Jamaica’s top DJs. For those of you who don’t know your dub, this album presents the perfect opportunity to ease yourself into the genre. From guys like I Roy to Lee Perry this album highlights the progession of Jamaican dub in the 1970’s. This is dub masters at their best! Heavy bass and drums mixed with bubbling lyrics. This is a gold nugget to be found in a river of dub all-stars.

  • Reviewed by honeybear on May 29, 2013 at 12:00 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Channel One Story, The [coll] – [Vp Records]

    channelone

    Smooth sultry summer grooves drift out of the Channel One Studio into master to saturate our souls. While not as well known as studios like Studio One or Treasure Isle, Channel One significantly molded the shape of reggae in the 70s and 80s under the management of Chinese-Jamaican Joe Joe and Ernest Hookim. Started in the Hookim home in downtown Kingston in 1974 after their jukebox business went under, Channel One hit it big with the Mighty Diamonds track ‘Right Time’. Alongside studio drummer Sly Dunbar’s signature double drumming they collectively pushed reggae back to a more roots sound with the militant rockers style, especially with house band Revolutionaries. In the 80s Channel One helped streamline the dancehall style with the help of house band Roots Radics. This CD tracks the evolution of Channel One sounds with classic names like Dillinger, Clint Eastwood, Barrington Levy, Yellowman, Delroy Wilson and many others. Throw this on and get lit letting the sun rays lick your face.

  • Reviewed by abacus on May 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm
  • Filed as CD,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Ring Craft Posse, The – “St. Catherine In Dub 1972-1984” – [Moll-Selekta]

    ring_craft
    Rodguel “Blackbeard” Sinclair captains the Ring Craft Posse,
    producing a nice variety of dubs, each tagged to a district of
    Portmore in St. Catherine, Jamaica. The lead off district
    “Westbay” blows the doors open with great horns triumphant
    over the shuffle. Sly and Robbie are part of the posse so
    the rhythm never fails, I’m not sure which guitarist[s] to
    praise for the gritty grind on “Garvey Meade” and the super
    aquatic flacking on “Braeton” but nice work on both. The congos
    and distant chorus on closer, “Westchester” placed second for
    me, but surely your dub will delight in other ways. Melodica
    addicts, they’ve got you covered. Including “Waterford”, unless
    that’s a harmonica, but check out the grunt and metal drum
    shots on it too. “Naggo Head” coughs too much to be confused with
    Rosemary Castle. Supposedly that district was named after
    a man who was beheaded long ago. I won’t pretend to know the
    original tracks by the Aggrovators, the Revolutionaries, or
    Roots Radics, from which these dubs were clubbed, but tune
    in to Spliff Skankin’ on Sunday between 3-7 pm, and all will
    be made clear.

    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on May 4, 2013 at 11:58 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review


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