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Raggamuffin Selah Sue

Posted by Smiles Davis, November 3, 2010 12:41pm | Post a Comment

There is something spellbinding about good music, that’s undisputable. Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, James Brown, Nina Simone, they are all very different in their own right but the common denominator, aside from pure genius, is undeniable luminescence. Die-hard fans would give their first born to see musicians such as the ones aforementioned live. Today they’d just be considered “groupies.” I have a hunch that’s because to a certain degree most modern day music in general has been watered down, therefore fans and the people that follow the work of such artists tend to be diluted, or for lack of better words, not that smart. So often I feel as if I were born in the wrong era for music. There’s just so much crap to decipher these days that we don’t always have the opportunity to come face to face with that caliber of artistry. I do believe they exist and many times go without proper recognition. Then again, that sort of genius often comes with an innate desire to uphold anonymity. Where the hell is all the out of this world talent?

I decamped the proverbial fish bowl and stumbled upon some authentic shit the other day. A little Belgian belle by the name of Selah Sue came blaring through my speakers yesterday morning, stopped me dead in my tracks and made the hair on the back of my neck stand attention like a Queen’s guard. Then for about 72hrs straight I proceeded to play all her tracks in succession, one after the other, concurrently driving my husband into oblivion. It’s affirmative: Selah Sue is good music. 10-4, Roger that! She makes me want to rejoice. Damn, it’s good. Sue performs these dreamy, acoustic, Reggae- Soul sets that make you wanna go home to your lover or make you wish you had a lover.

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Reggae Great Gregory Isaacs Dead at Age 59

Posted by Billyjam, October 25, 2010 02:50pm | Post a Comment
Gregory Isaacs "Night Nurse" (live @ Reggae Sunplash, 1983)

Reggae great Gregory Isaacs died earlier today, Monday, October 25th, in his London, England home following a year-long battle with lung cancer. The singer was only 59 years of age. A purveyor of roots Gregory Isaacsreggae and lovers rock, the Jamaican born artist will be best remembered for his song "Night Nurse" taken from the 1982 album of the same name that he recorded at Bob Marley's Tuff Gong studio. Above is a live version of the song by Isaacs with Roots Radics from 1983 at Reggae Sunsplash in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Isaacs, aka the "Cool Ruler" (also the name of the album he released in 1978), was born in 1951 in Kingston, Jamaica and began his reggae recording career while still in his teens. He made his recording debut in 1968 -- a duet with Winston Sinclair titled "Another Heartache." Soon after, he teamed up with two other vocalists in a short lived trio named The Concords. After that he went solo and in 1973 had a hit with the song "My Only Lover." In 1974 he scored a number one hit in Jamaica with the single "Love Is Overdue." This was followed by many other hits and by the end of the 1970s he had become one of the biggest reggae performers in the world, helped in great part by signing to the Virgin Records imprint Front Line Records, and appearing in the film Rockers.

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Recommended Reggae Compilations

Posted by Billyjam, July 15, 2010 02:22pm | Post a Comment
Rita Marley
Digging in the crates of my reggae albums today I came across some really good various-artist collections from the early nineties. This was a time when reggae music, particularly dancehall, was making a big impact in the US thanks in large part to the proliferation of hip-hop that was dancehall fused. Of these collections I have singled out three that are still available at Amoeba Music and are well worth tracking down. Compilations are always a great way to get a nice jump into any style of music, reggae included!

Classic Reggae Vol. 1 (Profile) was originally released in 1992 but the reggae on this compilation dates back from the mid 70's to the early 80's. This all killer, no filler collection is jam packed with classic selections ranging from the sweet voice of Sugar Minott on “We’ve Got a Good Thing Going” to the ragga stylings of Johnny Osborne on the bass heavy track “Buddy Bye," and Beres Hammond's timeless “What One Dance Can Do.” Other reggae classics on the CD are Barringtion Levy’s thrilling “Murderer,” Rita Marley’s 420 themed “One Draw,” Dillinger's timeless "Cocaine In My Brain," the lovers-rock classic’ “Cottage In Negril” by Tyrone Taylor, and one of reggae music's all time anthems, “Greetings” by Half Pint.

Also released in '92 on the same label was the then contemporary dancehall collection Dancehall Stylee (The Best Of Reggae Dancehall Music Vol. 3). This twelve track comp offers a sampling of some of the top dancehall artists from the vibrant scene, including Cutty Ranks, Frankie Paul, Louie Rankin, Shabba Ranks and Barrington Levy. The powerful Ninjaman and Florigan track “Zig It Up” is in this collection, as is the head-bobbing Lady Patra track "Ambition," which lyrically offers a little overview on her philosophy of life. Note that both this comp and the previous one mentioned were released Profile Records, who have built a name for their hip-hop catalog but have also put out some great reggae music! Additionally Profile released a series of wonderful house and techno compilations from the late 80's to early/mid 90's.

Finally, on Heartbeat Records (a label that specializes in Jamaican music) is Steely & Clevie's Plays Studio One Vintage. As reggae fanatics will be quick to tell you, Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, who was considered the Berry Gordy of Jamaica, owned Studio One and his renowned studio was responsible for launching the careers of countless Jamaican artists. Artists who recorded at Studio One include Bob Marley and the Wailers, Burning Spear, Dennis Brown and Marcia Griffiths.

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Father's Day (contains spoilers)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 20, 2010 09:16pm | Post a Comment

job o brother
It's a Hallmark card not yet writ

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An Electronica-Dub-Reggae treasure for all-but-free! Djosos Krost's ignored No Sign of Bad

Posted by Mark Beaver, November 14, 2008 03:30pm | Post a Comment
Djosos Krost No Sign of Bad
Djosos Krost
(DJ Pharfar and DJ Filip) are two dub-obsessed Danes who are better known for having produced the most popular mix of Junior Senior's dancefloor hit, "Move Your Feet." 

I was on board No Sign Of Bad from the first dub moog-fuzz chords of this album. Guests on vocals include Tuco, Jah Bobby, Little Tasha, EMO and Adrian. Tuco, featured on lead vocals for the opener "Straight Upfront" has that lover's reggae vibe pulled from the holy book of Hugh Mundell and Gregory Isaacs. Such a slinky, relaxed delivery as the little dub bleeps and blurps chase each other's tails around the tune.

A good while back (95-99), I was really into the Japanese electro-dub outfit Audio Active and their super-tripped take on bong-heavy dub. Their two classic releases Tokyo Space Cowboys and Happy Happer still satisfy that stony, space-travel urge instilled in all lovers of On-U era Lee 'Scratch' Perry masterpieces like Time Boom De Devil Dead and From the Secret Laboratory.

Here's a classic track from Audio Active.



And one from that particular era of On-u Sound Dub Syndicate 'Scratch!'



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