Prince Fatty: Supersized

PRINCE FATTY

SUPER SIZE

[MR BONGO]

Prince Fatty’s debut album, Survival Of The Fattest, was the kind of joyous, old school sounding reggae release that couldn’t fail to put a smile on the face of even the meanest screwface. Happily for us, these same qualities underpin every track on this follow-up, again produced by Mike “Fatty” Pelancoli at his Brighton hideaway.

Tracks by Horseman, he of mid-eighties’ Horseman Giddy-Up fame, inject a welcome element of fun into the mix, and especially when paying tribute to Notorious BIG on Shimmy Shimmy Ya, or cutting loose on a cut of Cypress Hill’s Insane In The Membrane that careers through several dizzying changes of tempo. Already a dancefloor favourite, that one’s balanced by a stirring reworking of Christopher Columbus by Little Roy [who’s also heard on Still I Wanna Love You] and a cut of Bruce Ruffin’s Dry Your Tears, courtesy of Winston Francis, that fair takes the breath away. The former Studio One veteran’s mellifluous vocals can also be heard on Ain’t Got It and Come On Girl – tracks that confirm Winston’s timeless appeal and reveal the depth of Fatty’s appreciation for dub and early eighties’ style dancehall.

Super Size has it all since in addition to vocal and deejay tracks, we’re treated to generous helpings of vintage style reggae drum and bass that uplift the spirits, rather than head down the brutal, minimalist route favoured by many UK crews. We’re not talking versions here but standalone dubs, and how long is it since anyone included anything like that on a commercial reggae release?

For proof of how refreshing this can sound in the hands of people who really know what they’re doing, check out Roof Over My Dub and Bedroom Eyes Dub, featuring Little Roy and Natty respectively. And whereas Roof revisits a rockers’ format, the mix of Come On Girl has much in common with those speakerbox-shaking tunes producers like Jah Thomas used to make at Channel One, when engineers like Scientist ruled the roost. There’s an even a touch of lovers’ rock heard on That Very Night In Dub, co-starring Hollie Cook and a revitalised Dennis Alcapone. If there’s a more sultry young singer in reggae than the Slits’ Ms Cook, I’ve yet to hear them. Fatty’s learnt his lessons well and where exciting new dubmixers are concerned, there’s no one to touch him right now.

 

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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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