Review: Dig This Way Records is back with a second sizzling 7" release, and this time it's a brand new collaboration with Italian-Jamaican label Tebel. It features Jonny De Ambassador and Abeng (Claudio SugarCube) as well as a serious group of musicians. "Country Boy" is well schooled in classic dub and ska, but comes with some slick contemporary flourishes in the form of production techniques and some groggy riffs. The vocals are lazy and louche, the drums cut deep and vibes are pure sunshine. The dub on the flip is even more roomy and horizontal for those lazy afternoons in the park.
Review: Standby for KC White's excellent 1973 version of the song made famous by Dawn Penn. The submissive message of the lyrics rings out over fat bass and has just as superb an effect as first time round. This wasn't White's only cover, because he is best known for covering hits like "First Cut Is The Deepest", always adding his own spin and at least equally the quality of the source material. The version on the reverse is a heady one and these are such enduring tunes that this is the fourth time they have been reissued since first time round. Crucial.
Review: Vocalist Eva Keyes and producer Dan Taliras first worked together back in 2018 on the joint single "Tired of the City". Since then they've released a handful of other collaborative records, with Taliras handling the obligatory flipside dubs. Like much of their work, "In A Crisis" is a revivalist roots reggae number in which Keyes delivers socially conscious lyrics atop a chunky riddim, crunchy Clavinet lines and hazy horns. As is traditional, Taliras delivers a Dub mix on side B, skilfully re-framing the track as a sparse, echoing and deep mixture of skeletal grooves, echoing vocals and effects-laden instrumental snippets.
Review: Emotional Rescue return to the work of Noel Williams as King Sporty. The Miami-based Jamaican made some seminal, stunning music that presaged the increasing importance of synthesisers in disco and dance music overall. This time the label have decided to give a regal airing to a cut previously only available squeezed onto the Deep Reggae Roots LP. "Safari" is a heady brew that keeps a necessary skank in the groove while channeling the nagging funk of The Meters and heading somewhere exotic. At just under four minutes, it's the kind of jam that warrants an extended treatment, and who better to do a respectful job than Lexx, who more than doubles the run time of the track on the B side.
Review: The Kingstonians were a relatively short-lived Jamaican band whose greatest work was produced by Derek Harriott between 1968 and '70. It was at the tail end of this period that they recorded their sole album, "Sufferer", an early reggae classic featuring a swathe of sought-after cuts. It's from that set that these two tracks are taken. For the record, both have appeared on 7" singles before, but are so hard to find that collectors are willing to spend up to 500 Euros to find original copies. A-side "Hold Down" is particularly potent, with the vocal trio's fuzzy vocals rising above a killer early reggae rhythm much in Hammond organ stabs, warm bass and clipped guitars. "Nice, Nice" meanwhile is a more up-tempo affair that gives a little more prominence to a typical early reggae guitar riff. Together the two tracks make for a suitably scintillating package.
Review: In 1979, dub legend Lee 'Scratch' Perry "adopted" a pair of Congolese musicians who had been left stranded on Jamaica, put them together with his regular session players in the Black Ark studio he later burned down in a fit of psychosis, and recorded an album. As this fine reissue proves (the second in as many months; it was also reissued under the alternative title "Roots From The Congo"), the resultant music - a vibrant mix of Perry's particular brand of dub reggae and soukous music - was not only magical, but also unlike almost anything that had come before. For some reason it was only ever released on small labels in France and Belgium at the time, meaning that original copies are extremely hard to find. This reissue, then, is long overdue. Do yourself a favour and snap them up before they all disappear.
Review: This coming together of two dub and reggae giants might never have been heard had it not been unearthed in some long-forgotten vaults. Originally recorded at some unknown point in the seventies, it follows their debut album Ital Dub, and later King Tubby Meets The Rockers, and is just as vital. Lead by the trademark harmonica expressions of Pablo, with the contagious rhythms of Tubby, it is a free flowing record that explores a number of different moods and grooves from deep and hazy to more life affirming and direct. As a result, it keeps you utterly locked throughout.