August 26, 2011
August 19, 2011
Out of the many great vocal groups that came in the late 60 ies and all throughout the 70 ies iv'e always felt that "The Maytones" where among the best and most underated. They originates from the May Pen area in Clarendon and consisted of Vernon Buckley and Gladstone Grant.
They got their start recording a few cuts for "Studio One" that never got released and moved on to record for Alvin Ranglin and his GG Records. The hits kept on coming throughout the 70ies but compared to the output from many other groups "The Maytones" never did release that many albums.
Fans of Roots Reggae should not be fooled by their clean cut looks, many of their tracks are str8 Rasta dealing with Zion, repatriation etc.... "You dont haffi dread to be a rasta" In 1980 Vernon Buckley moved to Canada and "The Maytones" split. I have no idea what happened to Gladstone Grant but Vernon Buckley has kept on recording and releasing albums, although very irregularly.
There's 3 albums i know of; Raw, Rocky road and the latest, Words of wisdom who was just released on his label "Music Life". I just ordered the album and an review will follow, the samples iv'e heard sounds very positive. Time may have passed, Vernon may be getting older but his voice is still one of the best in Reggae music. You owe it to yourself to check "The Maytones" out, their music is too good to not be heard.
August 15, 2011
Im always for trying to support the Swedish Reggae scene and make folks aware of it. This guy may not be all that established and big yet but quality wise he can hold his own. This new video showcase him at his best, it has an hit factor while staying true to the roots. Go check his site, he got plenty of free music for y'all to download.
August 4, 2011
Everyone knows about the hunger crisis on the horn of Africa by now. I dont care who you are or how rich or broke you are, if you can get online and read this post it means you have the resources to give at least something.
Does not have to be much, i know i did not have a whole lot and im sure many of y'all are kinda broke as well. But please, skip buying that CD or vinyl u where planning to get and donate a few pennies. There's plenty of causes that i would never donate to (some of y'all might get offended if i mentioned which) but this is not one of them. Be as generous as y'all possibly can.
July 29, 2011
If you belong to those who are fed up with riddims and prefer traditional band set-up's with musicians composing original music youre not exactly spoiled nowadays. There's a billion new ( & often digital) riddims coming each week but few group/band releases. It seem as if one of the last places for this form of reggae is Africa. Aside from the more famous acts are "Ghettoman" and his group "The Believers" who comes from Biafra (in Nigeria).
While being a new acquaintance for me these folks aint no newcomers and have released several albums stretching back as early as the 90 ies. I could make it easy for me and just state that this is some high quality stuff and end it here but im sure y'all want a slightly meatier review so i promise to examine the album a little closer. My first observation is that it's kinda short, just 8 songs long. Don't let that scare you away though, quality is more important than quantity (and this sure delivers on the quality part).
First song is "Mama Africa", an uptempo song about the trials and tribulations Africa is facing. While being strictly roots this song also has a strong cross-over potential with it's groovy afropop vibes and positive feel, the serious lyrical content don't weigh down the song. Next up is "Peace in Jerusalem" and it's hard to not think of a certain Alpha Blondy song when listening to it. Not that it sounds the same but still, the song is a lil less uptempo but still far from an "sufferers" song. Ghettoman continues with the seriousness for 2 more songs before he decides to light things up a bit with "You're my sunshine". It ads some variety to the album and is another potential radio hit (in an ideal world they would play this sorta songs on the radio).
Slightly related to the previous song is "Stop violence against women", it's hard to disagree with the lyrics and it's very catchy and features an Spanish speaking toaster who ads a nice vibe to the song, another uptempo winner of this album. Skipping one song we come to the albums last song "Which way" who just like the first song has an afropop vibe to it and deals with the confusion in the world and what the politicians do to come to terms with it.
This album is far from most music being produced in Jamaica nowadays, it has an timeless vibe to it rather than the "listen once and throw away" attitude that permeates much of the riddim based music nowadays. It's quality ll the way and will sound just as fresh 10 or 20 years on as it does today. Guess it's another artist to keep my eyes on. Don't forget to visit Ghettoman's website, it has an free download of an promo album with 13 full songs. As im having problems with my mp3 encoder i will not include any streaming samples. Once the problems are solved i will ad some.
July 23, 2011
It was quite some time i reviewed an African movie on here, been watching em regularly though and thought it was time to write another one. My review for Spade (im awaiting the sequels shortly and will review them) has almost gone viral popping up on Nigerian sites all over internet. Let's see how this one does. Ghanians has a taste for horror movies, i like that and i most certainly like this movie. It was a big hit when released in Ghana and it's easy to see why.
The plans where that Akose's boyfriend Kwranteng where to seduce & marry her rich Employer madame Serwa and kill her so that they could live happily ever after in her big house. The plans changes when he really falls in love. Akose kills her herself and assumes everything is back on track but is instead thrown out of the house. Scorned and hurt she takes help from an evil wizard and kills Kwranteng who has just signed over ownership of the house to this poor family he decided to help. Akose will stop at nothing to get "her" house back and the stay at their new house will be anything but joyfull for the unfortunate family who moves in there.....
Wow, I did not expect all the special effects or how good they are, people catches fire, spikes are shooting out from bodies, folks puke worms and the miscarriage scene is both atmospheric and whit imaginative FX work. Iv'e seen plenty of American low-budget horror movies looking way less polished than what "Flash Fever" does. Being the Ghanian "super block buster" that this movie is im surprised it has no big actors. Not that it needs them though, the cast does good and Ewurabena Bray who plays Akose is quite an looker.
Coming to the question of pace, it do clock in at around 180 minutes and 3 parts but it feels a lot shorter and never feels as if it's dragging or has a bunch of scenes that's unnecessary. One good thing with long movies (if they work) is that you really care about the characters and it's very much evident here. I liked this movie a lot, it has cool effects, a good story and I strongly recommend y'all to watch it.
July 16, 2011
I said i would be back and im no liar, my first post on the blog was a book report and im back with another. It's not enough for us true fans to just dig the music we dig, there's plenty of history around it, anecdotes from the studio, collaborations and performances. Of course, we wanna know all about it. Rite now there's no a whole lota English spoken magazines out there (thanks for "Irie Up", it does an important job) but there's lotsa books. Enjoy this report on some of these books.
Jamaican Warriors (Stephen Froehr)I dunno what to make of this book, i got mixed feelings! Obviously Stephen Froehr is a good writer, his research is good, he knows how to present stuff in a straight forward way. He has a way of bombarding you with facts without overwhelming you. Whit that being said, at times he has a real superior attitude that really bugs me. The book itself is some sorta mix between an fascinated outsiders expose' of the reggae industry and an traveling book. He meets tons of interesting folks, gives us plenty of background info and research along with tons of tourist observations and anecdotes. We get pieces on Mortimo Planno, Leonard Howell, Sugar Minott and many more. Regardless of what you may think of Mr.Froehr and his approach you will learn plenty from reading this book and considering you can get this book for like2$-3 + shipping it's a great purchase.
Dancehall, the rise of Jamaican Dancehall culture (Beth Lesser)Without a doubt, this will go down as one of the ultimate books on reggae ever made, from the photos all the way down to written material, this book leaves very little left to be desired. If you're into the 80 ies reggae scene this book is quite an treasure. While being an cofeetable photo book the texts accompanying the photos are very good and just as much an reason to get it as the photos themselves. This is an eyewitness account of the scene and with books like "Volcano Revisited" and "King Jammy's" it provides a more complete documentation of the scene than what makes sense. Hopefully the other eras in the history of reggae will be just as comprehensively researched and documented as the 80 ies have been. A must, both for the photos and the accompanying texts.
Reggae International (Stephen Davis & Peter Simon)The title of this book is misleading, it hints at documenting Reggae around the world but at the time this book was written there was no international scene (besides England, wich this book deals with) except for Jamaican immigrants trying to create a slice of home abroad and a few scattered clicks of international fans with the focus on Jamaica. This is not a bad book though (although a bit predictable) and has chapters on the history of Jamaica, it's religious life, RastafarI, the history of Jamaican music, Deejays, vocal trios and political unrest. It's accompanied by a wealth of images and most definitely a recommended purchase. It has been out of print for a while now but can still be found in good shape and for a decent price on Amazon. Hurry and get your copy though, i have a feeling this is a book that will pretty soon be quite pricey and rare.
The Rough Guide to Reggae (Steve Barrow)In my first ever post to this blog i featured a book called "Reggae & Caribean Music", an attempt to write an encyclopaedia on everything Reggae. I was not crazy about it and felt it lacked in several departments. I guess this is the successful version of that book. You don't read "The Rough Guide to Reggae" from page to page. There is no coherent narrative that ties everything together. However, this is one of the most complete books on Reggae you will ever read, it covers every era and all kinda artists and scenes. Early Ska and Rocksteady, 70 ies roots, dub and recent dancehall all along with local scenes like New York (Wackies) and British Reggae (Roots as well as Lovers rock) in easy to digest, compressed pieces. There are several editions of this book available and they are all increasing in price so it might be a good idea to buy it now while you can still afford it, another must have addition to your Reggae library.
One love, One heart (James Haskins)It's every parents duty to be a positive influence in their childrens life and what could be a better example of this than to steer them into the wonderful world of Reggae? But besides bombarding them with music, how do you do it? Perhaps with a book aimed especially for children, it's a very thorough book starting with the history of Jamaica, slavery, african roots and RastafarI. It's amazing how X is able to pack so much information into so few pages and still keep it easy enough for a child to understand. He continues with Jamaican music history, how it ties to african traditions, the birth of Ska and it's transformation to Rocksteady and later on Reggae. He deals with soundsystems, Bob Marley, the Rootsreggae of the 70 ies and more modern dancehall. The final chapter deals with International Reggae and has info on African acts like Alhpa Blondy and Lucky Dube only to continue with Europe and the UK where X mentions that the original skinheads where white, British teens fascinated with Jamaican music, not the Racists many think of today. Sprinkled throughout the pages are a bunch of photos and in general im quite impressed with this book. It may not have that much to offer to adults but it's an excellent way to introduce kids into Reggae.
Well, that concludes my book report for now, there's plenty of titles i have not dealt with so i will be back with more as soon as I've bought and read more titles. I'll try to be back soon again with more interesting post, i feel rested and ready to get going with the blog again, i told y'all it wasn't dead!!!!!
June 27, 2011
Some of y'all might have checked out the blog lately and wondered why it's never being updated? Don't worry, it's not dead, it's just taking a nap. Been bussy whit stuff in my life and have not been too motivated but i will be back, just be patient.
Was going to do a post about the genious of Yellowman but another blog where faster than me and im no copycat, lol :D So to keep it short, i'll be back in a moment.
Was going to do a post about the genious of Yellowman but another blog where faster than me and im no copycat, lol :D So to keep it short, i'll be back in a moment.
May 25, 2011
Been wondering for a while now whatever happened to "Cocoa Tea", his "Obama" album isn't exactly new anymore. As i was surfing around i found this article on "The Gleamer" where he reveals he got a new album coming, hopefully we will not have to wait till next year as he hints.
He's also droping a few lines on the current state of Reggae and it's future.
"....However, the overall project 'Whe De Reggae Deh?' speaks to something that he says people are asking about when he does performances outside Jamaica. "Everywhere I go in the world, people ask me where the reggae gone from in Jamaica. People are saying we are trying to export hip hop, rather than import hip hop and export reggae," Cocoa Tea said.
He said the queries have come across Europe, England, the USA and Canada, as well as Japan. "People used to the type of reggae that we sing. It is music that can inspire a people and a nation," Cocoa Tea said. That is in contrast to a lot of music being produced in Jamaica now, which Cocoa Tea said "is about dancing and the riddim."
Read the whole piece here:
May 21, 2011
Many of y'all probably don't know but Swedish "Joey Fever" is no new cat on the block, he started way back in the late 90 ies with the now defunct group "Collision" and it wasn't until they split that his rise to fame as an solo artist started. It's taken some time but here he is, a rising star on the international scene with plenty of collaborations and experience behind him. He's an versatile and modern dancehall singer/dj with strong influences from the 80 ies scene. AS a matter of fact i kinda thought this album would be kinda like the 80 ies dancehall version of Bitty McLean's highly praised "...on bond street" album. It may be influenced by that era but not to the point where it sounds exactly like it (at least most of the time).
He starts on a serious note with "Someone out there", a mellow track where Joey Fever advices folks who feels that life has no meaning to seek Jah. It's a good song but not too representative for the album. If we skip a track we come to "Rock you" a duet with Desmond Foster an emigrated Swede with a great voice and potential. It has an slightly more retro, organic feel to it and we get a taste of Joe's toasting abilities. This should work well on the dancefloor or at an party with it's uptempo feel good vibe. A coupla songs later we get "Game on" featuring Mary Ndiaye (an artist i have never heard anything of before), a song about a girl who live a fancy, fast life but to what price? Mary does a great job (whoever she is) and compliments Joey really well.
My favorite on here is "Dj School" who has a nice vibe to it, he switches back and forth between singing and toasting. This song sounds extremely 80 ies, Waterhouse dancehall a 'la Prince Jammy and got great lyrics about how u have to study and work hard to reach anywhere in the dancehall. If all songs had sounded like this i think this album would have went from good to amazing. "Serious things" is a plea to all youth's to keep it cool and not deaql with guns, drugs and badman stuff in general. It does not differ too much from the other songs on the album but i like it. Last on the album is the love-song "Truly deeply", it sounds a bit too comercial and artificial for my taste but it's not a bad song.
If you have followed "Joey Fever" for a while there is no doubt he has grown incredibly much as an artist, he has a flawless patois flow, can sing and toast and got nice riddims to perform over. If you like the style of Swedens "other" international star, "Million Styles" you will be happy with this album. I definitely like it but not as much as i was hoping to, i would have liked it if Joey had kept things more 80 ies retro. I'm not all that crazy about modern dancehall with plenty of "autotune" and there's some of that on here. But when all is said and done, it's a good album and i will jam it way after this review has been written.
Posted by Krikon at 10:48 PM