Congos in Camden, Prince Fatty in Brixton

The contribution of the Congos to reggae is well-understood and well-documented. Their classic album Heart of the Congos Print(1977) is still held in awe as a reggae landmark ( 18th September 2009) while more recent dub reworkings (see 19 May 2012) continue to attract attention. Plus they still perform live, with undiminished force. Now you can catch the Congos, with the unique voice of Cedric Myton up front, at the Jazz Cafe, Camden, on 26th June, a most inviting prospect.

Not long after, July 6th sees the London launch of the Prince Fatty Rub a Dub Club in Brixton, accompanied by the esteemed Trojan Sound System, along with the sounds of Hollie Cook, Horseman, Dennis Bovell, Jabbawocky HiFi, The Minister of Blaxploitation (AKA Moody Boyz) and (it is promised) more…Fatty’s tracks are mixed live and analogue with all the reverb, echo and tricks of 70s dub technicians that you might hope for, while the visitations upon ska, dub, dancehall and bass from the Trojan Sound System speak for themselves. Mightily impressive dub releases from producer Prince Fatty have been covered on these pages before (eg, 22 October 2012) and here this uplifting retro/forward-facing live dub sound hits the streets of Brixton. Better lively up yerself then!

Wednesday 26th June 2013, The Congos at the Jazz Cafe, Camden, £15 advance; doors 19.00.

Saturday 6th July 2013, Prince Fatty Rub a Dub Club, 22:00 – 04:00, Brixton Jamm, £8 advance, more on the door. 

Details as notified at time of writing – check first.    

Culture featuring Kenyatta Hill – on Tour

Lo_ResAlthough the word ‘legendary’ is somewhat over-used in referring to some of reggae’s key bands from decades past, in the case of Culture it might just be the only word that fits. Their seminal – OK, legendary – debut album ‘Two Sevens Clash’ was released in 1977 and stands as a permanent testament to the power of roots reggae with a strong spiritual dimension. Produced at the Joe Gibbs studio, its vocal core of Albert Walker, Kenneth Dayes and Joseph Hill generated a striking and melodic sound. The contributing musicians – including Vin Gordon, Bobby Ellis, Sly Dunbar, Tommy McCook and Robbie Shakespeare – speak for themselves. The harmony vocals and the straightforward melodic strength of this release still sound powerful today: if at all possible have a listen to the 2007 re-release of ‘Two Sevens Clash’ (Shanachie label) which adds some 12” mixes, dub and the distinctive contribution of I Roy to the original release.

With his son, Kenyatta Hill, taking the lead vocal place of the late Joseph Hill the music of Culture has continued to be performed live to new audiences, and there is now the rare chance to catch the current incarnation of Culture on a UK tour, commencing 19th March 2013.

Details were correct as notified at the time of writing but check locally first.

Tuesday 19 March: Exeter Phoenix t: 01392 667080 w:
Wednesday 20 March: Brighton Komedia featuring DJ Mystikal Roots Hi Fi
t: 0845 293 8480 w:
Thursday 21 March: Newcastle upon Tyne The Cluny t: 0191 2304474 w:
Friday 22 March: Manchester Band on the Wall t: 08452 500 500 w:
Saturday 23 March: Kendal Brewery Arts Centre t: 01539 725133 w:
Sunday 24 March: Glasgow 02 ABC t: 0844 477 200 w:
Tuesday 26 March: London Assembly Islington t: 08442491000 w:
Thursday 28 March: Norwich Arts Centre t: 01603660352 w:
Friday 29 March: Liverpool The Picket t: 08444 771 000 w:
Saturday 30 March: Nottingham Notts County Sports Bar
Sunday 31 March: London Bridge Park Complex t: 0208 9610866

Lee Perry

The unique Lee Perry is due for a live session at Fibbers, York, on Saturday 27th October 2012. Who knows what that’ll be like but it should be worth investigating. Probably a good idea to check details and date before then. Meantime here is a reminder of Lee Perry in action in 1982.

Little Roy: Sliver/Dive

Implausibly enough Little Roy has turned Nirvana’s angry and slightly desolate song of childhood into a brilliant 7” reggae single that sounds as though it was minted in Channel One in the early 70s and has just been discovered in someone’s attic, complete with period production values and a relentlessly upbeat feel that puts the original into a different place entirely. It seems even less likely that Lil Roy (or anyone else) would have a go at a reggae take on Dive, but – hey!- here it is. What a pleasant surprise. Here we are now, entertain us!

Ark Recordings, released June 27th 2011.

Scientist Launches Dubstep into Outer Space

From Scientist comes this serious double-CD of dubstep rhythms. One CD consists of ‘dubstep originals’ in the shape of 12 unreleased tracks from producers including Kode 9, Shackleton, Pinch and Mala; the other comprises Scientist’s mixes of the same rhythms.

It opens with Pinch (ft Emika) and the atmospheric ‘2010’, the synth intro opening out into a dubstep percussive sound, before reverting to its outer-spacey themes in the outtro. The Scientist mix adds much echo and a very heavy treatment of the rhythm to generate another take on the same track. Guido’s ‘Korg Back’, a fairly straightforward three chord rhythm, retains its simple structure in Scientist’s hands, along with a haze of electro sounds. The collection closes in cosmos style with ‘Abeng’ from Kode 9 and Spaceape, the feel justifying the ‘launch into outer space’ theme of this release. Overall it’s an ambitious bunch of tracks but interestingly it remains accessible to audiences that might not yet be fully signed-up to dubstep. Continue Reading “Scientist Launches Dubstep into Outer Space”