KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Grant, Della – “Don’t Make Sense” – [Twinkle Records]

Naysayer   9/16/2013   CD, Reggae

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.

Lee, Bunny and The Agrovators – “Dub Will Change Your Mind” – [King Spinna Records]

Naysayer   9/10/2013   12-inch, Reggae

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.

Lee, Bunny and The Agrovators – “Dub Will Change Your Mind” – [King Spinna Records]

Naysayer   9/10/2013   12-inch, Reggae

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.

Prince Jammy – “Prince Jammy Destroys The Invaders” – [Greensleeves Records Ltd.]

Naysayer   9/9/2013   12-inch, Reggae

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.

Thompson, Linval – “Negrea Love Dub” – [Trojan Records]

surferrosa   8/28/2013   12-inch, Reggae

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

Jah Shaka – “Commandments of Dub Chapter 7” – [Jah Shaka Music]

mann   7/16/2013   12-inch, Reggae

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.

Dj Dubcuts [coll] – [Jamaican Recordings]

honeybear   5/29/2013   12-inch, Reggae

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.

Channel One Story, The [coll] – [Vp Records]

abacus   5/22/2013   CD, Reggae

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.

Ring Craft Posse, The – “St. Catherine In Dub 1972-1984” – [Moll-Selekta]

Thurston Hunger   5/4/2013   12-inch, Reggae


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

Shaffer, Doreen – “Adorable” – [Grover Records]

cadilliac margarita   3/11/2013   12-inch, Reggae

 

1997 album from one of the original queens of ska and reggae. Recording solo albums since 1970, she often collaborated with the Skatellites starting in the mid-1960s before becoming their lead singer in 1994. This album is like a sweet breath of fresh air. Her vocals are warm and soothing, and the subject matter is pretty lovey dovey. There are elements of ska, straight reggae, and even soul. A nice cover of “Groovy Kind of Love” is just one of many sweet love tunes. This simply put me in the best mood while doing things around the house.

<3!!! Caddy

Prince Jammy – “Prince Jammy Presents Strictly Dub: Pressure Sounds 67” – [Pressure Sounds]

surferrosa   10/9/2012   12-inch, Reggae

Before King Jammy… there was Prince Jammy. This record is taken from an obscure album that briefly surfaced in the early 80s and according to the liner notes is regarded as a minor masterpiece of Jammy’s mixing style. What you have here is bouncy dub dubby dub with a swing and a sway. All instro… that is no vocal samples. Sounds like a super stony chill session on an island beach..the grooves roll and the bass lines bump. Side A has more of a sleepy kick back sort of feel. Side B is a bit more upbeat and horny. Dub-tastic. -Surfer Rosa

Jah Shaka – “Happiness / Exile Dub” – [Jah Shaka Music]

Thurston Hunger   9/7/2012   12-inch, Reggae


12″ 45 single from 1982 or so, new to KFJC now. Start on the
bottom with Exile Dub, so you can see the bass as it prowls…
wait for the part where it drops those three high notes.
Bim bim boooo. That is one fine predatory bass line. The horns
add a sweetness, reverb’d guitar could swirl a surf listener
in. The happiness is more subtle on the dub side, it springs
out as the minor riff blooms briefly into a major. The roller
rink key boards are added in later and also a nice touch…
On the A side aka the vocal, the happiness is less subtle,
the horns take a back seat to the positivity offered lyrically
by Bim Sherman, now the bass is moving behind the furniture.
Still on the prowl, but you got to look a little harder to spot
it. Close it out toasting style, Yabby You works in a murder
style, giving the track a bit more frenzy that befits that
killer bassline -Thurston Hunger

Rockers Vibration [coll] – [Dread at the Controls]

MSTiZA   8/28/2012   12-inch, Reggae

Rockers Vibration is an exclusive compilation from the studios of Michael Campbell aka Mikey Dread (RIP) on his Dread At The Controls label. If you are a fan of reggae music you will recognize nearly every artist and producer. You will hear the tape echo snare of Tubby’s style on the Ovation’s Shy Girl. Rod Taylor’s His Imperial Majesty is found on the full length from Taylor, Ethiopian Kings. Freezing is a classic and the studio session players are all stars on this one. Forever Love features classic Sly and Robbie. Hot Cross Bun is top notch. Sunshine’s Taking the World is a hit. Roll it up and enjoy.

Lepki, Lui – “Late Night Movie” – [Joe Gibbs Music]

Grizzly Adam   5/17/2012   12-inch, Reggae

Peers, focus on the process of school. Landlord, they don’t
like the nightshift smoke signals. Who says these? Lui Lepki.
Who likes the couch, company, and which murdererstyle dj
doing rubadub doesn’t like the latenight movie? Can’t buy
love, or loving words. But best things in life are free. Food for
penitentiary, it cost money. Family and loves, even belly
empty, are better, seen? Understand, we have here
something called Reggae started by Bob Marley, some say
Prophet, some, King of Reggae. The blind must be led, keep
on moving ahead. Society gets a blow, so fight against violence a must, that builds the nation where we want love
in a jam down, no violence, one big family. Sweet
honeybunch, and harmony. And Majesty, rightful ruler. One
destiny. It all breaks down and goes crazy with the custom
officer, the high point of the album. Quite a journey by way
of mouth and good for the version all over the kfjc reggae
library.

Isaacs, Gregory – “Hold Tight” – [Cousins Records]

Grizzly Adam   5/17/2012   12-inch, Reggae

Hovering hold hands heavy hot ‘Open the door’ key setup
begin. Love the Burning – drum snap of the hi hat, and shuby
du-badu of liking the – Spearish ‘Margaret’. Slow dance
darling to the oldies style, gangstar horn of ‘Hold Tight’.
Dubbed out, Ethopians sync #4. Hear him hold on homonym
maud dib/wah dee wah da wah do – do you no know on a
classic patrol riddim. #6 Half the harmony specialty back
and forth, love and mind, half dubbed out rework of smooth
retro dancehall. ‘Josephine’ returns to the heavy energetic
spot on roots/lovers beginning the album. Out of nowhere, pure skank spunk of essence ‘False Evidence’, voicing a loss
of rights and arrest – stars on this one. Comet impact, three
seven delta, B#3 ‘Same Time’ strikes good for a one hit
intense overall freedom show. To knock some lively sense
into them, Isaacs brings ‘Me Nah Want’. Lovely early disco
oldies come again, in B#5, and segues tune-wise, power!
Come again. Last cut fast and dubby.

Boothe, Ken – “Who Gets Your Love?” – [Trojan Records]

humana   4/26/2012   12-inch, Reggae

The album cover describes Jamaican Boothe as “Magnificent, Mean, and Moody” I didn’t hear the mean on here, but the moody predominated, if you can call reggae moody. Many of the lyrics reminded me of other songs, but with a distinct twist all Boothe’s own. There’s a cover of Marley’s “African Lady” here, and the standout for me was “This Love,” which was more along the lines of Magnificent with its upbeat rhythms.

Kiddus I – “Rocking Rebel” – [MVDaudio]

Grizzly Adam   4/7/2012   CD, Reggae

The reality of this release is that it is off cassette which was never released, and 20 years later we are now getting the document allowing us to evaluate the sole work of Kiddus I, and here is how he fits in. CD One #1 African Brothers #3 Barrington Levi, Eek-a-mouse #4 Rock my boat, Clint Eastwood, Congos #5 Wailers, Israel Vibration, Burning Spear #6 Charlie Chaplin #7 Jimmy Riley #8 Morwells #9 Dennis Brown, Heptones, Melodians #10 Jacob Miller CD Two #1 Andrew Tosh, Jah Cure #2 Frankie Paul #3 Blood and Fire, Pressure Sounds #4 Twinkle Brothers, Black Uhuru, Daweh Congo #5 Extended Dillenger or Johnny Clarke #6 A much loved riddim. Junior Delahaye #7 Freddie McGregor, Winston Jarrett #8 Disco ska #9 Twilight circus dub sound system, Pablo Moses #10 Sean Paul #11 Ini Kamoze

Andy, Horace – “Exclusively” – [Wackie’s]

Cousin Mary   4/6/2012   12-inch, Reggae

Originally released around 1982, German label Wackie’s re-released this long sought after LP in 2005. Horace Andy’s sweet voice predominates on songs concerned with widely varied topics such as clean water, love, prejudice against Rastas, Bob Marley, God, and armageddon.

All tracks are very pleasant, I liked Side B better where there is nice organ on some tracks. Horace Andy also records with Massive Attack.

Queen Omega – “Away From Babylon” – [Jet Star]

Grizzly Adam   3/27/2012   12-inch, Reggae

#1 Entertainment, Rob Rankin’s Solid Foundation introduction tune, KKUP 91.5. Half rap half gospel “indeed”, Jahmazing Grace. Lovers conflated with heavenly overtones of love. #2 Above the conflict and friction in babylon, on large stepping rhythm. #4 Top joint, joyous, without the economy of the bare pop production (solely pop), and not for the dating either, for “single” reasons. Spins with the likes of Tarrus Riley. #5 Evidence of her large voice like used in top 90s soul. B #2 Hip hop style, like Damian Marley. Dancehall in a snap of the body rhythm. “I am the junglist-bring me my cannabis-and you just can’t stop this-you want this.” #3 On the “Satisfy My Soul” wavelength. #4 Did this end up on the Jeff Sarge (WFMU) compilation for the mothers, during the Reggae Schoolroom fundraising marathon, end of February beginning of March, a few years ago? #5 Play with Aisha’s “Wickedness Increase”; on an in common riddim.
-eveningly infinitely wipes

Francis, Winston – “Mr. Fix It” – [Coxsone]

Grizzly Adam   3/27/2012   12-inch, Reggae

#2 A lifted melody. Sure is sweet, and given fine treatment, in vocal and bass. The guitar is a bit prominant, give it a great character, and anticipates since much loved reggae sounds. #3 A sound explored by Jimmy Cliff as well, could have been The Harder They Come or You Can Get It If You Really Want. #4 A cover, “too experienced to be loved by any one”. #5 Eretta a girl, being wooed by the crooning voice of Winston Francis. #6 Tambourine, and the sounds like might be found on old country radio, Elvis and the such. B #1 Built on the melody of that other ancient tune, The Long Black Veil by Lefty Frizzell, which has the coda that talks about the mind going or over my bones, and is quite sad. #2 Funk/Rocksteady. Highly recommended, anticipating funk free jam. #3 About regretable attraction, that kind not good for you, like Philip for Mildred in Of Human Bondage; done in an upbeat style with a nice hand percussion accompaniment. #4 This was upgraded and redone and used many times as a riddim, you might recognise it. #5 Well known. “That’s the sound of a man working on a chain.” Recommended for the Soul Patrol. #6 With a brief solo on the guitar. Composed with having some improvisation in mind.
-eveningly infinitely wipes

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