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Music Reviews

Fraser, Dean – "Big Up!" – [Island JDamaica Jazz]

Hemroid The Leader   12/12/2019   CD, Reggae

Classic reggae sax sound of Dean Fraser, playing 11 reggae-jazz hybrid tunes. Light, groovy take on things. Idris Muhammad shares the drum credit with Sly Dunbar. Nimble rhythm section. Sometimes more jazz than others (9, 10) with sounds like George Adams. Opens with cool “Dick Tracy”

Pablo, Augustus – "Live In Tokyo Japan" – [Jet Star]

Hemroid The Leader   12/12/2019   CD, Reggae

somehow. understanding partially the extremely high spiritual power of Augustus Pablo – he intends to give us the Love of God, with the understanding of our human position in this purgatory planet – I aimed in my mind to taste this nectar.
This is not just a band out for fun: this seemed more like a pilgrimage with a mission: to impart this taste of love of God in humility and human blues-reggæ: the music onto the King. 😊
That said: He plays all his distilled nectar.
Going back on these notes: He went with his herbalist doctor: armed with beautiful powerful herbs to help a dying Horace Brady/Augustus Pablo deliver this Crucial Message to JAHpan. this is I guess a vague idea of the instruction/communication imparted.
That said: rhythm section are headhunters: these guys ain’t jokin’. Difficult to mike and mix the melodica – but we get it. JAHpanese engineers must have been blown away. 😊
fans of: God: the JAHpanese Archipelago, refined”spaghetti” westerns depicting the struggle between Good and Evil – the good..- Pablo!: many quotes we recognize of Pablo’s melodies as sung!: “Africa must be free” even Wailers’ and many Studio One / Lee Perry recorded melodies: as Pablo was at home there. A hundred JAHmaican melodies here. after a few listens I am sure I’ll catch the Cuban Archipelago”Peanut Vendor / El Manicero”.
pss: indeed: on multiple relistens you hear I-JAHman Levi”s “Early in the morning”…
This album should be sitting comfortably between I-JAHman’s Haile I Hymn and Rico Rodríguez’s Man from Wáreika. tops

Amazon reviewer jorge gonzález -larramendi

Fire On The Mountain [coll] – [Pow Wow]

Hemroid The Leader   12/3/2019   CD, Reggae

Dread do Dead. Well-known reggae acts crossover. Good for turning off your mind, bad to think too much about. Grows on you like fungus. Kind of like it, but I also think it sucks. Distasteful. Entertaining.

Ranglin, Ernest – "Memories of Barber Mack" – [Island Jamaica Jazz]

Hemroid The Leader   12/2/2019   CD, Reggae

Blowin’ Smoke

10 instrumental reggae tunes, 4-7 minutes each, acoustic, bright jazzy sound, throwback “mento’ style. Dedicated to foundational mento saxophonist Barber Mack, who blew smoke into his sax and emerged from backstage with smoke “emitting from every orifice”(!).. Use it to nice up your show when you’re getting down. Sly on drums. They do ‘Stop That Train’ as well as ‘Fade Away’, and the rest are Ranglin tunes.

Levy, Barrington – "Here I Come" – [Time Records]

Hemroid The Leader   4/24/2019   12-inch, Reggae

1985 dancehall smash recorded at Channel One in Kingston, Jamaica, backed by Roots Radics. Ubiquitous classics “Here I Come” GTA: San Andreas; “Under mi sensi” #41 UK singles chart. But other tracks reward mightily “A Yah We Deh” “Cool and loving”.. all of them.

Tapper Zukie – “Man Ah Warrior” – [Kingston Sounds]

Hemroid The Leader   1/11/2019   12-inch, Reggae

1973 debut, 2015 reissue. Badness to rock your body line. Deejay/ toasting wasn’t yet an accepted form. He was the leader of the Zukies. He didn’t leave the ‘enforcer’ lifestyle behind for another 3 years. If you eat pork there is a message here for you. Other messages too! +++

Sizzla – “Praise Ye Jah” – [Xterminator Productions]

Hemroid The Leader   1/11/2019   12-inch, Reggae

Smooth R&B reasonings- but the sentiments are as contemporary as the production is dated. Great vocal performances. Lyrics convey profound deep wisdoms. Now-time meditations – see ‘homeless’. Many others

Released 1997, a month after the classic Black Woman & Child.

Talent Spotting Part Two [coll] – [Twinkle]

Hemroid The Leader   1/11/2019   12-inch, Reggae

1992 compu-rhythms from Nottingham UK’s Dub Judah. Vocalists showcase style with dubs in between. Norman Grant/Twinkle Brothers sound.
A1-4 Perspectives on famine in Ethiopia. B4-5 atypical rhythm.

Gainsbourg, Serge – “Aux Ames Et Caetera” – [Philips]

Naysayer   12/3/2018   CD, Reggae

Serge Gainsbourg, French sex icon and sultry singer of suggestive French pop tunes decided to put together a reggae album back in the late 1970’s. Pulling in the magic of Sly and Robbie, The I Threes for background vocals, many studio reggae greats and recording and mixing at Dynamic Sounds Studio, Gainsbourg nails it track after track. The propulsive bass lines and smooth backing vocals are a perfect match for Serge’s cigarette filled, raspy low tone almost monotone singing. These songs are most probably not about Jah. Most assuredly the pinnacle of a period yet so timeless. Get sexy.

Culture+-+%22Cultural+Livity+%3A+Live+Culture+%2798%22+-+%5BRas+Records%5D

Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   CD, Reggae

Culture live in South Africa 1998. CONs: Cheesy MIDI horns, “Shall I go away?” annoying pandering. PROs: Classic tunes. I like Culture. But the canned version presented here is tough. The best tunes are ones that dive headlong into the cheese. Check out the sick guitar on “I’m Not Ashamed” #14. Weed carol #13 “International Herb”. #5 “Christopher Columbus”
Guilty pleasure at best, otherwise shlocky. Jah gotta pay the bills after all

Moses, Pablo – “Itinuation, The” – [Editer a Paris]

Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   CD, Reggae

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Contemporary roots reggae. Slick Harrison Stafford production features the instrumentalists. Uncomplicated, straightforward pop approach. Like Moses sings on Living In Babylon, “Not everything good for talk.”

Twinkle Brothers – “Twinkle In Poland” – [Twinkle Records]

Hemroid The Leader   3/13/2018   12-inch, Reggae

Radio Poland journalist Wlodzimierz Kleszcz brought Norman Grant to Poland in 1986, paying him with studio time. Kleszcz saw a connection between the roots music of Jamaica and Poland – a link between ex-slaves and the Polish Gorale ex-serfs. The music feels earnest but forced at times, like the material is not fully developed. Psalms 23 is Grant chanting the bible. Whatever its deficits, it is endearing. Just before the wall fell, searching for a connection.

Mungo’s Hi- Fi – “Serious Time” – [Scotch Bonnet]

rasbabo   2/7/2018   12-inch, Reggae

Mungo’s Hi-Fi Serious Times
Electro-Dancehall style reggae. Mungo’s Hi-Fi comes out of Scotland, but sounds like they are straight outta Kingston, JA. Great line-up of vocalists with many styles and dope rhythms from the sound system. DJs on the decks dropping bomb tracks, and MCs on the mics with excellent flows and vocals. Sides A and B are highlighted by female vocalists Warrior Queen, Soom T, and Marina, who help balance things out and add a sweet flava to a scene often dominated by dudes.
Sides C and D the Dudes are back in control and strutting their stuff. Cornell Campbell is a recognizable name on the last track, but all cuts are strong.
Ras Babo

Mad Professor Meets Jah9 – “In The Midst of The Storm” – [VP Records]

Hemroid The Leader   5/24/2017   12-inch, Reggae

9 digital-style dubs on a blue spatter transparent LP in an edition of 1000. Pressed exclusively for Record Store day 2017 by VP Records out of Jamaica, Queens.
Jah9 is dub poet and certified yoga instructor. Mad Professor got his name as a boy due to his fascination with electronics. He began his career in music in 1973, as a service technician.

Alcapone, Dennis – “Forever Version” – [Coxsone]

Naysayer   9/11/2016   CD, Reggae

Rerelease of the first Dennis Alcapone album with six additional tracks. The early 1970’s were a transitional time in Jamaica, which Alcapone played an important part. Sounds were moving to bigger sound systems, deejays, using original tracks for new voices to interact with, an end of ska. U-Roy was the #1 deejay but big attention went to Alcapone who gave U-Roy a run for his money. “Forever Version” captures this time of transition. Some tracks are very much ska influenced or straight up ska. Others head toward the tradition of reggae. Most of the songs are about love, getting the pretty girl, partying at the dancehall and not the stuff of Jah and Sellasie. Dennis Alcapone has a distinct voice as he delivers his lyrics over the sounds of classics from the Heptones, the Wailers and others. He does have this unique, high pitched yelp that he drops in each song, sort of accentuating key parts. It’s clever and infectious when listening to one track. A fine addition to the library.

Capital Letters – “Vinyard” – [VP Records]

rasbabo   4/6/2016   12-inch, Reggae

Capital Letters is a British reggae group and this album was originally released in 1982. Reissued for us again in 2015, this is a solid album. Good smooth musicianship and rootsy vocals. Lyrics sing about political injustices and inequalities of the times without sounding preachy or overly “Rastafied”.

I heard influences in the vocal styles of Mighty Diamonds or Israel Vibration, and also a slight haziness like Singers and Players. All tracks are solid, but I wish they had included some bonus dub versions. Alas, enjoy the roots.

Ras Babo

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