Reggae . Dub . Dancehall . Ska . Rocksteady


Genre pick of the week Cover of The Midlands Roots Explosion Volume 1 by Various Artists.
Birmingham may be England's second city but when it comes to reggae music, there are plenty of reasons for it to claim first place. Perhaps no band has done more for British reggae than Steel Pulse whilst Musical Youth, not only found chart success but took reggae to the nation's children in a way no other band could, not forgetting UB40 who also experienced huge international success. These bands didn't exist in isolation. Birmingham and the other towns and cities that make up the Midlands were a powerhouse of British reggae. Finally, it's time to shine the spotlight on some of the lesser known acts that spent years performing and recording without achieving those levels of success. "The Midlands Roots Explosion Volume One" from Reggae Archive Records, is the first in a series of compilations that hope to showcase some of the unreleased, forgotten and barely known musical gems from what was such a vibrant scene. It's only appropriate that the first volume leads off with the band that put both Handsworth and Birmingham on the musical map, Steel Pulse. We've included the band's first release from 1976, the very scarce "Kibudu - Mansatta - Abuku," a track that strongly hinted at the heights they would soon reach. As a bonus, we've also included the instrumental version from the original B side; both tracks are making their debut on LP and CD. For those familiar with Musical Youth's later chart hits, "Political" may come as a surprise, with grown up lead vocals by former member of Jamaican hit makers The Techniques, Frederick Waite Snr., and a hard roots edge to the lyrics. This was the band's first release issued on a small Birmingham label and another track worthy of far wider exposure. Also included here are hugely successful live act Capital Letters, Steel Pulse's contemporaries Eclipse, Black Symbol and their spin-off group Oneness, plus Sceptre, and Benjamin Zephaniah. Sleeve notes are by Jim Weir who was a musician involved in the Birmingham reggae scene.

Roots Radics Meets Scientist And King Tubby

In A Dub Explosion

Special reissue of this classic dub album.

Recorded at Channel One by The Roots Radics and produced by Nkrumah ‘Jah’ Thomas in the early 1980s. The dubs were then produced by King Tubby and his protégé Scientist. 

All tracks feature the seminal Roots Radics band - Errol "Flabba" Holt, guitarist Eric "Bingy Bunny" Lamont and drummer Lincoln "Style" Scott, Noel "Sowell" Bailey, Dwight Pinkney and Steve Golding, keyboard player Wycliffe "Steely" Johnson, and saxophonist Headley Bennett - all later of either Dub Syndicate or digital pioneers Steely & Clevie. High class, pre-digital dubs by the masters.

Released late last year Tosca’s "Outta Here" saw the duo of Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Hubert rip up the rule book and start again. Having spent two decades and seven albums practically defining downtempo, chill-out music here was an album with one thing on its mind, the dancefloor. Still some traditions are worth maintaining and so like with each of their previous albums the band now present "Shopska", a reworked version of "Outta Here" that puts each of the albums tracks into a radically new perspective from tough 3am techno and bouncy electronica through to spaced out dub and beyond. Tom Demac, FaltyDL and Ogris Debris hold it down for the strobe light crew, while Mato, the undisputed champion of the hip hop-reggae blend comes through with two seriously stoned interpretations. The collection perfectly walks the fine line between quirky and quality, delivering a superb selection for whatever mood suits you.

Rocksteady took over Orange Street, Kingston, Jamaica around 1966, the same time that an extreme heat wave hit the Jamaican Island. While Jamaican independence in 1962 provided the spark for the energised party rhythms of ska, four year later the soundsystem crowds were yearning for something with a bit more soul, and a bit slower. The raised temperatures of 1966 proved to be the tipping point, and rocksteady was born. A short-lived sound from the island, supplanted by the early stirrings of reggae by 1968, rocksteady would see some of the power escape from the big three producers - Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, Prince Buster, and Duke Reid - who up to that period ruled the airwaves. It was time to make room for a new wave of up-and-coming producers who also had something to offer the people. So sit back and enjoy some rocksteady straight from the dances of Jamaica. Includes tracks by Roy Shirley, Glen Adams, Lester Sterling, Uniques, Errol Dunkley, George Dekker, Don T. Lee, Webber Sisters, Alva Lewis.

NEW TO PRE-ORDER: Goat - It's Time For Fun / Rocket Recordings |
Thu 2nd - 5:02
NEW TO PRE-ORDER: Totally Mild - Down Time / Bedroom Suck / F... |
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NEW TO PRE-ORDER: Pridjevi - Pridjevi / Trouble In Mind |
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NEW TO PRE-ORDER: Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Trag... |
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NEW TO PRE-ORDER: Batteries - Batteries / Do Yourself In |
Thu 2nd - 4:31
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