Review: Only Roots come through with a classic wedge from Barry Biggs. These pure vibes first came in 1976 and on this package you're also treated to the Clarence Wears guitar piece from the same year, plus a couple of spicy dubs. "Work All Day" is a golden offering with an aloof and soulful vocal that drifts up top like a wispy cloud on a summer's day. Muted chords enrich things and the natty riffs keep things subtly funky. That original Wears guitar piece is a real heart wrencher - the guitar rings out into the sky with oodles of reverb giving it even more poignancy.
Review: This is a super new 7" from Japan's Rock A Shacka. It finds the Chosen Few tackle reggae cuts from The Stylistics and The Moments and the results are so sweet they'll have your mouth watering. "My Thing" hits a gorgeously soul drenched bullseye between dub, reggae and lovers rock, largely thanks to the gorgeous vocal up top. The gently swaying drums and guitar riffs only heighten the soothing effect. "Children Of The Night" goes slower, with more effects and fatter bass to sink deep into as the horizontal grooves encourage you to lay back and gaze at the stars.
The Groove Master - "I Love The Way You Love" (3:52)
Review: For their latest missive, Rock A Shaka have decided to offer up a new pressing of The Chosen Few's early '70s classic "I Love The Way You Love", a slab of languid, soulful sunshine recorded at a time when reggae as we know it today (rather than rocksteady or ska) was still a nascent musical form. While the original vocal version has featured on a number of the Jamaican band's albums over the years, the accompanying flipside "Version" by producer Prince Tony Robinson AKA The Groove Master has previously been frustratingly hard to find. It's worth picking this up just to get it, as Robinson's additional musical flourishes - think Tommy McCook style sax, fluttering flute solos and harder rhythm guitar - lift the band's fine riddim to even higher heights.
Review: Cosmic Shuffling is a Geneva based combo who distill funk, ska and soul into their own unique sound. They last appeared with double a side ska 7" single 'Eastern Ska' and got plenty of people in the game excited. Now they follow on with another winner that opens with some brilliantly instrumental work. 'Short Break' has natty little riffs and swaggering drums, with a playful lead that takes you back to the heat of a mid-60s Jamaica when rocksteady sounds were all the hype. A shuffling ska rework takes care of the reverse and takes off with great horns from a six-piece band.
Review: Charlie Bethel Wilder has been recording as Captain Planet for the best part of 15 years. In that time he's delivered a string of vibrant, kaleidoscopic albums that draw heavily on Latin and Afro-Cuban music in all its forms. "No Visa", his latest album, is another deliciously summery affair that adds a heavy dose of reggaeton rhythms and mutant R&B beats into his tropical synth-pop pot. The results are uniformly excellent all told, with highlights including the humid, synth-laden bubbliness of Patty Cake, the radio-friendly rush of Chico Mann hook-up "Rebosando", the rainforest-ready weight of "Fly Where You Want" and the head-nodding tweaked R&B/triple-time eccentricity of "Yalla" featuring KarenBe.
Review: After spending the last few years offering up occasional singles, Swiss Ska and rocksteady revivalists Cosmic Shuffling have finally readied their debut album, Magic Rocket Ship. It's a suitably fun and entertaining affair, with the Geneva-based combo delivering tracks that stick closely to the vintage ska and reggae blueprint while adding a little contemporary poise, polish and studio warmth. The plentiful highlights include righteous dancefloor ska outing 'Cat in the Hat', the Latin-jazz swing of 'Ann Bonny', the languid and skanking reggae haziness of 'Life Goes On' and the Latin-Ska fusion of 'Night in Palermo'.