You might remember Tony Aiken for his classic funk album Unity, from the 70s – and here, he's back again – after nearly 40 years away from the studio! The album's got a style that's a lot more reggae-influenced than before – maybe not totally a reggae record, given the other influences that Tony brings to bear – but a style that's definitely Jamaican overall, especially in the rhythms! The project features a big number of guests – as you can probably guess from the images on the front cover – all given a soulful spirit by Tony's lead. Package lists no song titles at all – but there are 10 tracks total. (Soul, Reggae)CD
One of our top 10 dub albums of all time! This album bridges the gap between the the low-fi, down and dirty excursions of the 70's dub era, and the later high tech dub revolution brought on by On-U, Mad Professor and Jah Shaka. The rhythms here are all first rate, drawn mostly from their Chill Out LP with a few from Red, fueled by Sly and Robbie and a cast of regulars from the Island/Mango stable. Sly & Robbie also handle the production duties, and there's no shortage of fat grooves and unrelenting rhythms, then taken to the next level with deep space echo drops and 21st century sound effects and tape edits. Includes "Ion Storm", "Big Spliff", "Boof'N'Baff'N'Biff", "Puffed Out" and "Android Rebellion". This CD reissue's been newly remastered, with 3 additional dubs as bonus tracks: "Cool Off", "Destination Unknown" and "Fire & Brimstone". CD
Dennis Bovell —
Mek It Run ... CD Pressure Sounds (UK), Late 70s/Early 80s. New Copy ...
Fresh dubs of rare tracks by Dennis Bovell – all redone recently, but with a vibe that's right up there with the best of classic Kingston! The package has a fascinating origin – in that Bovell had a recent medical ban on playing the bass, so decided to turn the clock back, dig up some vintage tapes, and go to work in the studio of Mad Professor – to turn each number into a dub-heavy masterpiece! The sound is wonderful – still very much indebted to the original basslines, but stretched out much more fully too – with spacey sounds all over the place, really abstracted instrumentation, and the kind of groove that reminds us that they still do make dubs this great – as long as you know where to look. Titles include "Princess Dub", "In The Mix", "Afreecan", "Binghi Man", "Dub Code", "Burden", "After The Storm", "Wallpaper Eraser", "Mek It Run (Run Rasta Run)", and "Floods Of Tears". CD
A soulful singer from the dub generation – one who's not entirely a lovers rock vocalist, although he can work that territory too – but also an artist with a nicely laidback vibe that really sinks down in the grooves – as you'll hear from this set of early 80s tracks! Some of the music here is a bit looser than Brown's work of the 70s, but in a good way – an approach that's heard to especially great effect on the album's great remake of Billy Stewart's "Sitting In The Park" – given a relaxed groove and a lyrical twist that's quite different from the American version! Other titles include "Ital Rock", "Happy Memories", "No More Sugar", "Leader Of The Massive", and "Conversation Slip Away". CD
The soulful Johnny Clarke is in some wonderful company here – working with backing from a version of The Agrovators that features Sly & Robbie on some very modern rhythms, plus lead guitar from Chinna Smith and organ from Winston Wright! The group have a laidback, bad-stepping vibe that fits perfectly with Johnny's vocal flow – a style that has an edge, but in a way that's a bit different than some of the more righteous talents of the time – a great reminder that in the underground of the period, there was still some real magic happening away from more mainstream productions. Bunny Lee produced and arranged – and titles include "Play Fool Get Wise", "Riding For A Fall", "Midnight Cowboy", "I Love You Madly", "I Can't Explain", "Easy Skanking", and "This Heart Of Mine". CD