The Drop: Far and Wide / CCTV

Here is the second double A-side single from The Drop’s debut album ‘Last Stand’ which is due out on Shoal Records on 14th September 2018. ‘Far and Wide’ is a mix of rock and reggae, forceful and powerful. ‘CCTV’’ is very different, a spooky extended intro taking us into The Drop’s take on this noughties classic dub step track by LV. The press release says that, as on the original version, “… Dandelion reignites his soulful vocal melodies, this time over gloomy laid-back Roots Reggae, with lashings of psychedelic guitars” which just about sums it up.

The forthcoming album. ‘Last Stand’, promises much with none other than Lee “Scratch” Perry featuring on first single ‘Dunna Runna’. The Drop are heading towards a UK tour in October and November so watch out for those dates – to be announced.

Bob Marley and the Wailers: Kaya 40 Remix

The classic ‘Kaya’ album is now forty years old and here is a brand-new remix of all ten tracks, courtesy of Stephen Marley, released in conjunction with the original album. It is hard to imagine that the original version could be improved upon, and, unlike some Bob Marley remixes (such as ‘Roots, Rock. Remixed’) there is no attempt here to construct new songs from the old ones. Instead, the Kaya 40 remix is relatively subtle: for instance, adding a dub-leaning mix to ‘Sun is Shining’ and ‘Kaya’ itself or bringing out the lead guitar (presumably from Julian ‘Junior’ Marvin) more strongly on ‘Crisis’. Stephen Marley has used Bob’s vocals from demos of the same tracks and made use of different takes of the songs to come up with something distinctive.

Musically, the band at this time, featuring Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, Carlton Barrett and Tyrone Downie, were at their peak. Listening to these songs today, it is striking how strong they remain melodically. ‘She’s Gone’ is a powerful song, and when it comes to final track ‘Time Will Tell’ you can almost hear the bells ringing in the local gospel church.

No fussing and fighting, this has always been a gentle and relaxed album. Now, with a more assertive remix, it gains a new, and well-deserved, lease of life. Stephen Marley’s remix respects the integrity of the original album and, unlikely though it seems, manages to improve it. A great listen.

Bob Marley and the Wailers: Kaya 40 Stephen Marley Remix; 2 CD, 2 vinyl, and digital releases, 24th August 2018

Natty and the Rebelship: Man Like I

This album came out ten years ago and was a lively infectious take on contemporary reggae. Natty and the Rebelship band now plan to perform the whole album live in their forthcoming tour of the UK. The tour is scheduled for Autumn 2018, kicking off in Milton Keynes on 2nd November and concluding in Manchester on 29th of that month.

Prior to the tour, a limited-edition reissue of the album is planned for September 2018. Released on no less than the Tuff Gong label, ‘Man Like I and I…X’ will be a double-vinyl remastered version of the original ‘Man Like I’ album together with new recordings of favourite tracks featuring some of Natty’s associates including Seun Kuti, Benjamin Zephaniah, Maverick Sabre and El Fari and Ramzi (from Palestinian band 47soul). The album also shares an acoustic version of live favourite “Bedroom Eyes” and a track Natty recorded with Sly & Robbie that did not feature on the original album, alongside four further new original tracks to complete what has justly been described as a ‘collector’s package’.

Natty and the Rebelship: ‘’Man Like I and I…X’, release September 2018 on Tuff Gong records.