Here comes another single release from ‘Prince Fatty Versus the Drunken Gambler’, that recent and well-received album of dubbed-up frantic reggae fantasy (see reggaemusic.org.uk 26th August). This time it’s a version of John Holt’s classic ‘Ali Baba’, with Winston Francis taking the lead and Dennis Alcapone providing his characteristic background contributions. This is paired on the single with another track from the album in the form of ‘Kung Fu Battle ina Brixton’, with the remarkable Horseman taking charge.
As if that were not enough to be going on with, Mr Bongo records commissioned Sinna One – a Brighton-based artist with a distinctive cartoon style of illustration influenced by street graffiti, comic books and sci-fi – to paint a large Prince Fatty mural on the side of a pub. Obviously. You can see it below.
Prince Fatty: Ali Baba/Ku Fu Battle ina Brixton; release 5th November 2012 on Mr Bongo records
Hot on the heels of the single release of ‘Got Your Money’/’Wet Dream’ (see reggaemusic.org.uk 5th August) here is the full realisation of Prince Fatty’s latest fantasy which is apparently inspired by sources including ‘Kung Fu, vintage public service announcements and dub’. As well as both tracks from the single, there are another eight assertive tunes to be found here, featuring, amongst others, Horseman, Hollie Cook, Dennis Alcapone and legendary Pioneers member, George Dekker. The album opens with ‘King Fu Battle ina Brixton’, an alarming prospect indeed for any London commuter, with the distinctive vocal contribution of Horseman leading the way and a curious guitar solo straight out of some unspecified previous decade. Next up is the classic ‘Ali Baba’. Some fainthearts might understandably be nervous of tackling this afresh, but this is a fine version. Beginning and ending with an announcement in received BBC pronunciation from another time, possibly another planet, ‘Ali Baba’ finds Winston Francis and the ever reliable Dennis Alcapone making themselves known atop a sharp dubbed-up rhythm track. ‘For Me You Are’, with Hollie Cook and Horseman, will be familiar to those who have already heard Hollie Cook’s excellent debut album and its Prince Fatty dub version (see reggaemusic.org.uk 29th April). It remains a particularly strong track with its definitive Fatty dub rhythm unrelenting throughout – Hollie Cook and Horseman’s treatment of the sparkly disco-era ‘And the Beat Goes On’ is also revisited here. ‘Go Find a Fool’, featuring Winston Francis, is treated with the respect it deserves and what a pleasing sound, its dub fading to an old-school conclusion of forlorn love. By contrast, ‘Barbarina’ offers fast-paced dub in a vintage style with Dennis Alcapone again prominent in the mix. ‘Prince Fatty Versus the Drunken Gambler’ is a vital and at times amusing album that generally refuses to behave itself. In fact, it could almost be described as a mix of Kung Fu, vintage public service announcements and dub…
Prince Fatty Versus the Drunken Gambler, Mr Bongo label, release 17th September 2012