Run The Track: October 2010

Mr. Vegas

FAMBO FEATURING UNGA THIS LIFE [NOTICE PRODUCTIONS]

Fambo, the artist formerly known as Future Troubles, turns sing-jay on this life-affirming testimony to his early days, when he was struggling to make it and put his difficulties behind him. Unga’s r & b singing on the chorus, the billowing girl harmonies and bright-as-a-button style of production make it the most commercial release of Fambo’s career so far.

Club and radio DJs therefore can’t miss, and who knows? We may just see another dancehall tune breach the mainstream again, because This Life is the strongest contender we’ve heard in a long while…

MR. VEGAS FEATURING SHAGGY & JOSEY WALES SWEET JAMAICA, VIBES MIX [CLIFFORD RAY]

We’ve already reviewed this once except it’s now even better thanks to the added attraction of Shaggy & Josey Wales, whose dee-jaying lifts it onto a next level. It’s great to hear Josey revisit his eighties’ hit Nah Left Jamaica and whilst Shaggy [who’s voiced tunes with Josey for Big Yard in the past] doesn’t do much, he certainly adds to the vibes. Vegas, acting as cheerleader, sees the tune home in style, and there’s no stopping this cut of Jo Jo Bennett’s Lecture rhythm.

A big tune for the island AND the music, and by one of the most in-form artists in reggae right now.

T.O.K IN THIS CLUB [SHAMS B-RICH]

BUGLE DON’ STOP [SHAMS B-RICH]

BUNJI GARLIN NO GUNMAN [SHAMS B-RICH]

In This Club heralds the return of T.O.K to Richard Browne’s Shams label, where they first started out many years ago. Soft by T.O.K’s standards it’s still a decent party tune, and the kind of light, radio-friendly hit that’ll fit neatly on commercial playlists [providing they select the Radio Edit, that is!]

Bugle’s Don’ Stop is an uplifting reality tune, urging us to “keep on pressing, even when life gets down and depressing.” He’s making some nice tunes currently, whilst Bunji decries the gunmen. Both tracks are melodic, catchy sing-jay numbers, but don’t miss matching cuts on the Bullet Train rhythm by One Third and Konshens, whose Jah Have A Plan is another well-produced roots reality tune.

ELEPHANT MAN DON’T STOP [BULBY – FAT EYES]

DELLY RANX CRUSH DEM [BULBY – FAT EYES]

KONSHENS & TIFA UNDA FIRE [BULBY – FAT EYES]

Colin “Bulby” York’s Numbers rhythm is a creeper – slow and undulating, but deadly nevertheless. The line-up’s pretty good too. Elephant Man’s been quiet by his own prolific standards, but has lost none of his talent for bawdy lyrics. Don’t Stop is typically graphic but shot through with humour; Delly Ranx lets off against hypocrites and Jamaica’s latest double act will surprise all those who had Konshens pegged as a roots man, since he’s flirting with slackness here, sharing “nookie” talk with female deejay Tifa.

Further cuts by Spice [adapting Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time], Bling Dawg, Black-Er, Macka Diamond, Natalie Storm and veteran Anthony Red Rose, of Tempa fame, are available too.

I-OCTANE MINE WHO U A DISS [RUSSIAN]

I-OCTANE NO LOVE INNA THEM [CASH FLOW]

I-Octane’s a serious talent. His lyrics are full of truth and whilst there’s not a great deal of personality in his delivery, he’s got a knack of making you hear what he’s got to say. He and Russian make a good combination and the pair don’t disappoint as the sing-jay lets rip with a chilling reality tune and the young beat-master fits tinkling piano over shuffling drum patterns. Can’t wait for the remix and a bit more instrumentation, whilst No Love Inna Them sends out a message to those who’ll grudge you for everything, even though they don’t lift a finger to help themselves…

BUGLE HAPPINESS [SOSIQ]

SINGING SWEET BAD TREATMENT [SOSIQ]

KIBAKI GIVE YOURSELF TO ME [SOSIQ]

Bugle again, chanting about the unpredictability of life and his determination to live life whilst he can. “Time don’t wait upon no man,” he sings, adding that if he’s not happy, how can he make anyone else happy?

Good point. Nicholas “Sosiq” Banarsee built this Fallen Angel rhythm and it’s beguiling with its squeaky, off-key keyboard phrases. Kibaki is all strained emotion, whilst Singing Sweet lends support to those ghetto youths driven to crime by hunger. “What makes them treat we so?” he sings, echoing the Cannonball Adderley hit.

ANDREW & WADADA BLOOD HAMMER [DEEWAN]

Not for the first time, Bounty Killer was arrested a while back for domestic violence. He beat the girl with a hammer, leaving her bruised and battered and yet as we go to press, there was some doubt whether his victim would press charges.

Junior Reid’s sons – without mentioning him by name – ask whether he’d like someone to do that to his mother or his daughter. They admit that some girls will do everything they can to test their man, but remind the self-styled “Defender Of The Poor” that we should nurture and cherish our womenfolk, rather than exercise aggression. Hope Mr. Price is listening [and that he gets what he deserves…]

DOLAMITE GOVERNMENT LAWS [SUNCYCLE]

LISA HYPER ROLLING DEEP [SUNCYCLE]

ZAGU ZARR SUFFERING [SUNCYCLE]

Dolamite, leader of the Suncycle Crew and one of NW10’s finest dancehall exports “nah respect them Babylon laws” and it’s no wonder. Likening himself to a rebellious slave, “just like Kunte Kinte,” he uncovers the hypocrisy of a system that increasingly favours the rich over the poor and is responsible for more falsehoods, hardships and deaths than is ever admitted to by the powers-that-be.

Such revolutionary talk is very much to his credit, and it’s good to see he’s still supporting talented youngsters as well. More fire!

VYBZ KARTEL ME BIBLE DEH NEAR ME [BLOODSHED GARDEN]

PRESSURE THE SYSTEM [BLOODSHED GARDEN]

RAS GOUDIE WAH DEM A GO DO [BLOODSHED GARDEN]

Vybz timed this tribute to famous black leaders to coincide with the start of Black History Month and just to confuse those who’d write him off as a foul-mouthed porn star, his lyrics are cultural as those of any Rasta. Then again he’s not called “Teacher” for nothing and he makes a many good points in this tune. It’s clever too, the way he quotes from the melody of Marley’s Johnny Was, whilst stirring in plenty of Bible references.

Whilst it’s not listed above, GB’s address to politicians on Write A Letter is worth a listen; Pressure speaks on behalf of the sufferers and Ras Goudie questions the role of the police in Jamaica, who he accuses of committing atrocities and killing people indiscriminately. [A statement alas, that’s borne out by official statistics.] Other cuts include those by Jamelia and Serina [both girlie sides] and Suga Roy & Conrad Crystal’s People A Cry, which is another thought provoking defence of the poor.

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About johnmasouri
John Masouri is a long-time author and music journalist specialising in reggae and its many off-shoots including dub, ska, roots and dancehall. The author of Wailing Blues: The Story of Bob Marley's Wailers, published by Omnibus Press in 2008, he is currently working on a biography of reggae singer Peter Tosh, due to appear next year. In addition to book projects, he continues to write articles and reviews for Reggae Vibes (France), Riddim (Germany) and Echoes - formerly Black Echoes - which is renowned as Britain's No. 1 black music monthly. His work has also appeared in Mojo, Music Week, the Guardian, the Observer and the NME, as well as magazines in the US, Caribbean and Japan.

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