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tech sergeant "tech sergeant" (kilmarnock)

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Cb200 + Bionic Dread: Limited
Cb200 + Bionic Dread: Limited
Price: £20.81

5.0 out of 5 stars Here For A Good Time, Unfortunately Not A Long Time!, 22 Jan. 2015
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due to the limited nature of this edition, prices will spiral upwards, stocks will run out, and that's a pity, as this package contains some of the best toasting, even best reggae music, ever released. it's worth starting with the fact that the cover is not as is advertised, but is that of previous editions of the single album release of cb 200 (i.e. the wee motorbike).
it makes a lot of sense to release these albums on the one disc, as timewise, it provides a good hour of listening, the albums were recorded and released initially within a period of only a few months between them, both recorded at channel one studios (the sound is crisp, clear and above all, fresh sounding), and they are dillinger's finest two albums. there is nothing on these records that is in any way approaching 'filler', it's entirely quality.
dillinger's catalogue as a whole contains other gems, but nothing remotely as complete as these. i have heard a fair amount of sub-standard material credited to him (have you ever heard 'funkey punk'? it's the most abysmal effort ever put out by a reggae artist!), and would suggest that this album and the excellent (although 'funkey punk' is on it) trojan 'anthology - cocaine in my brain', would be all you need to enjoy the best of dillinger without a drop in quality (except for 'funkey punk, which on reflection, no it's still rotten, is good for a laugh).
it's generally accepted that 'cb 200' is the better of these two albums, but i would say (hah!) that's there's not much in it, if anything at all, and the two flow perfectly as one entity. the only perceivable difference is actually the covers to the albums, the motorbike image on the first being relatively basic, whereas 'bionic dread' has an elaborately created sleeve, featuring a more high powered 'bike, actually very un-reggae like.
but, to the music, which is flawless, each very familiar rhythm is chatted over with exuberant joyous ease, and is clearly the sound of a man enjoying his work. worth re-iterating that the sound quality is stunning, not sure if it's been re-mastered, not sure it matters! trying to find highlights to illustrate the quality on show is difficult, but i may pick the title tracks, the definitive version of 'cokane in my brain', 'forward 10 commandments', 'ragnampiza' (with the magnificent line"...and i don't use fertiliser") as those today, but may pick totally different tracks tomorrow!
as a document of it's time, as an illustration of masterful deejaying, as an indicator of how to utilise classic rhythms, as an awesome hour of reggae music, buy it before it disappears!


Boss Mans Dub: The Lost 1979 Dub Album
Boss Mans Dub: The Lost 1979 Dub Album
Price: £10.65

5.0 out of 5 stars Boss Man's Holiday (For 35 Years?), 21 Jan. 2015
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i know some people operate on 'kingston time', but it's pretty careless to mislay such a vital piece of work for nigh on 35 years. however, situation rectified by the good people at 'hot milk'records, who are building an impressive catalogue based on discoveries such as this and others. this is the first official release of 'boss man's dub', previously only circulated as a white label, thus, more or less robbing the genre of a recording that is a great example of dubbing at the end of the 70s, progressing from roots into dancehall. i think it will be viewed in the future as one of linval thompson's major works, due to both the nature of the times, and the sheer excellence of the content.
it's a very complete work, and one (after many listens), that seems to be over much too soon, such is the compelling, drawing power of the material. the whole is bolstered by two extra tracks which end the album. these appear to be from the same times, and the second of these, 'roots version', is a five and a half minute belter. for a dub album, a theme of the upbeat runs the whole length of the record, and this is accentuated by some wonderfully positive horns, which weave in and out of things. although the product of many influences and techniques, it has a very individual feel to it, and is a vital element, i feel, in the history of dub music. perhaps due to being on the cusp of the oncoming dancehall, and at the tail end of the roots sound, it is a kind of hybrid, and this increases the importance of this recording as a valuable 'document'?
also to be enjoyed as the thoroughly and skillfully assembled piece of work that it is.


Rockers Meets King Tubby in a Fire House
Rockers Meets King Tubby in a Fire House
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £14.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Horace Swaby Encounters Osbourne Ruddock In The Waterhouse District Of Kingston, 17 Jan. 2015
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which would perhaps rip the guts of the cool out of things. but, no, this 'return leg' is every bit as good as it's big brother, the more celebrated, and well known 'king tubby's meets the rockers uptown'. it is fitting that this remains as testament to the two premier icons of dub in collaboration, four years after the 'first round', but as the lesser known piece, actually it is a more cohesive complete album, more thematic than the former (and we don't even need to go into the fact that that is one of the best dub albums of all time. it's just a fact). the only separating factor may be that there isn't a high impact, wholly original 'single' such as 'ktmtru', or on the other extreme, such a down beat, emotional (the doomiest bass line ever) track as '555 dub street'. but that is minor, very minor, as this album cuts it in a more than fine style.
even on a first listen this record feels like an old friend, particularly for those with a roots penchant, every dub a familiar rhythm with the unique touch that could only be provided by these two masters of the art (prince/king jammy seemingly also had a hand in things, but his involvement is uncredited). coming in at around 32 minutes, is bolstered by four bonus dubs from around the same time, and these flow with the vibe of the album, rather than feel like add ons. hard to illustrate highlights, but initial standouts may be the title track, the classic 'dub in a matthews lane arena', and try to stay still when listening to 'jah say dub' - not easy, incredibly catchy!
all in all, top of the game dubbing, a perfect (kind of) follow up, but different enough to stand up on it's own. different enough not to suggest they be ever packaged together, but entirely deserving of increased recognition as an vital element in the history of reggae music.


Wildweed
Wildweed
Price: £15.81

5.0 out of 5 stars A Fire Of Love And Desperation, 14 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Wildweed (Audio CD)
from the minefield that is the gun club and jeffrey lee pierce's back catalogue come records of awesome power and beautiful fragile perfection - 'fire of love', 'miami', 'the las vegas story', 'mother juno', and this. it is a great shame that so much sub-standard material has also seen light of day, as these only have the effect of diluting the legend and the legacy.
i didn't buy this when it came out, but a mate did, and it was played almost constantly, and therefore not heard by me for some 28 years, but always on the 'list'. always when i came across a copy it was prohibitively expensive. until this recent re-pressing.
for me, jeffrey lee pierce is one of a very small knot of musicians that understand/understood the true raw spirit of rock 'n' roll, and are/were aware of how to invoke it and unleash it, (lux 'n' ivy, nick cave and johnny ramone would be the other members of that club), along with the ability to conjure up an ugly triumphant noise at the drop of a hat. no casual skill, this.
commencing with the hyper-catchy riffing of 'love and desperation', through to the epic 'the minight promise', the standard doesn't drop below inspired. lyrically gifted and with a voice which is pleading, foreboding, and always seemingly at the point of falling apart, this album has the hallmark of one which has been mission led. much has been written about the backing for these recordings, and although i have no issues with such, as to my mind the rhythm section is solid and complementary to the songs, and with utmost respect to john mckenzie and (one time doll by doll) drummer, andy anderson, anyone could have undertaken the roles with no ill effect.
the 'bonus' tracks are also worthy, and are of a more experimental nature - he does an impressive take on the spoken word technique of william burroughs on 'the fertility goddess' - and paint a further more complete story to the record.
the jeffrey lee pierce story is a fascinating and ultimately sad one, but to have this album, and the four mentioned above, as legacies to a mighty talent, we can be assured that the mission was successful.


Hard Food
Hard Food
Price: £7.49

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Food, Hard To Take - A Modern Dub Classic, 11 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Hard Food (MP3 Download)
it's too sad for words, this is definitely a bitter/sweet release. on the one hand, and way beyond the value of a piece of music, there is the tragic murder of style scott, another shameful episode from a still violent jamaica, and on the other, there IS this brilliant recording, which will surely bolster the man's legacy, particularly as it has been the first studio produce for some fourteen years.
all the more pity is that it is such an uplifting, positive and absolutely contemporary album, stacked with an innovative set of tunes, and featuring a stellar cast of guests, the likes of lee scratch perry, bunny wailer, u roy (still in great voice) and magma, as well as the legendary bass playing of 'flabba' holt. this is a great sign for modern reggae and the future of such, but looks like the last new recordings from dub syndicate.
just about everything good about reggae is on show here, from the opening, hard, heavy and inventive 'sound collisions', to the final three 'bonus' tracks of classic versions. having backed scratch on many occasions, creating 'jah wise' feels like it was a breeze, and i don't imagine lee perry to be your standard studio client. similar skill is applied to adapting to the vocal needs of bunny wailer, u roy, and a great ragga style voice over from (new to me), magma. an initial standout for me is the haunting 'gypsy magic', dubbing seamlessly along with romany style violin. as is this, the remainder of the album is instrumental in form, and the art of the modern day dub is demonstrated on all, as i have said, hard, heavy and innovative. what more can we ask?
all in all, not much more, but to appreciate and enjoy this record for the classic work that it is.
perhaps, speaking too soon, and a might selfishly, but an extensive re-issue programme would be a welcome and fitting epitaph, as dub syndicate material is too thin on the ground, and prohibitively expensive when found. music like this is for everyone.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2015 9:25 AM GMT


Dubbing with Anansi
Dubbing with Anansi
Price: £7.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dubbin' It Old School New Style - Dub For Now!, 25 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Dubbing with Anansi (MP3 Download)
today's lesson is 'how to dub in the present day' and this lecture is delivered on this album by, appropriately enough, the mad professor, who is taking the art to a new degree. that is in creating dub that is as vital as the best that is offered by the 'old' masters, and bringing it to the present, adding his own brand to it. quite simply this album is a treasure, and a thing to be cherished.
kicks off in relentless style with 'atlantic crossing', into which many different elements are utilised to great effect, and this sets the pace up to the initial standout track 'culture vulture', at which point the rate is slowed quite beautifully by the skilful slow burner that is 'middle passage'. things motor up again after this and a plethora of influences are introduced in a no nonsense series of inventive and hypnotic pieces that complete the album, which comes in at a healthy 50 minutes. i'm at a loss to find any fault, or even anything that would dip events below the exceptional standards set. this is top of the game stuff, and i have no hesitation in recommending the album to all reggae/dub appreciators, regardless of favoured eras. to nutshell, it's dub for now, and that's a rare enough thing.


Niney The Observer: Roots With Quality (2 CD)
Niney The Observer: Roots With Quality (2 CD)
Price: £11.77

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Indeed, But Make It A Tenney - VP Compiled Magnificence, 20 Dec. 2014
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in a conversation with a fellow punk crusader recently, he inferred that "you can't go wrong with reggae". and whilst this is a worthwhile viewpoint, i had to counter that it is possible to go so far wrong with reggae, that you end up 'oot the windae'! unless you know where to look, there is a plethora of sub-standard or weak material to be had. however, this is the place to look, another compiled triumph from VP, the people who make it easy for us to find (as the legend goes) roots with quality. it's hard to find anything on this that dips below 'brilliant' among 40 tracks concerned with the career of niney the observer, as both artist and producer. kicking off with the classic 'blood and fire', and including a stellar line up of artists, disc 1 is pretty much relentless, dubs often following top class tunes. remarkable level of quality.
special mention must go to the two openers of disc 2, extended version of dennis brown's 'wolves and leopards' with brilliant contribution from the legend that is bongo herman, and gregory isaacs' tremendous 'slavemaster' with excellent voicing from ranking buckers - 12 minutes that would justify the admission price on most comps, but this ain't most comps, so the standard is maintained all the way through such like horace andy's 'materialist', also in extended form, to the album's end, completing almost two and a half hours of a superbly researched and compiled anthology of the man's best work. tempted to say 'if you were to buy only one reggae compilation...........', but there are so many VP products of a similar standard that are keeping the genre alive and fresh for both interested newcomers and for the old hands looking for new approaches and vinyl replacements. excellent purchase.


Most Wanted
Most Wanted
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £9.68

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He was a bad, bad boy, but he was good to his Nanny and his Mammy., 26 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Most Wanted (Audio CD)
shall we then set aside his murderous criminal activities and his inglorious demise in prison, and allude to what he gave to the dancehall? good, because this is a very impressive compilation of six 12" singles, a-sides and b's, and generally an excellent slice of some of the greatest dancehall material. these 'most wanted' albums from greensleeves rarely disappoint, and tend to lean on 12"/extended mixes for content. this is a great variant on purely album or 7" versions, and an accurate demonstrator of the times covered.
many and varied are the backing musicians and the producers on these recordings, but the unifying factor of the opening 6 tracks is the relentless flow of classic track followed by heavyweight dub x 3. quality. this leads us to the weakest track, 'if nanny was here', which is a bit too 'coward of the county' for my taste, but the accompanying dub is superb, a real loungey soul dub. things pick up with the earnest 'my mammy'. he couldn't quite do sentiment or 'maudling' like eek-a mouse can (but indeed, who can?), but this is sincere enough, the album veering to it's end via 'jean green' and dub which are more in line with the collection's first few tracks, ie cracking stuff.
conflicted with the rating, being not quite a 5* album, but being far better than a 4* one, i would need to say 4 and a half*.


Mundell
Mundell
Price: £9.48

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dancehall Monumental, 24 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Mundell (Audio CD)
first, to the guts of the record - this is crucial dancehall, crewed by the best team available for the job, and validated by the considerable skills of hugh mundell. this was his last 'full' recording before his pointless murder, and should have been the base for further excellence in the post roots era. not to be, not only because of the above tragedy, but because his final recordings, which appeared in the form of 'arise', had taken another, altogether different direction.
so, as his only full tilt at dancehall, it is a record to be cherished, produced by henry 'junjo' lawes, mixed by scientist, and performed by the roots radics at the peak of their powers, this has all the components required for excellence. mundell's distinctive voice (6 years matured from the classic 'africa must be free by 1983') and writing style complete the picture. this album has been available with a number of running orders, and tbh each version i have seen makes perfect sense. this version also has 4 bonus tracks of equal quality to the bones of the album, two being dub versions of 'jacqueline' and 'rasta have the angle'.
'jacqueline' is the most immediate song on the album, but repeated listenings unearth many treasures, including the mighty 'going places', which might be my favourite ever dancehall track, and is screaming out for an extended mix (does such a thing exist?). highlights are many, flaws few, it is a fit and proper tribute to an exceptional artist, who, by rights, should have been going places.


Arise
Arise
Price: £29.13

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hugh Mundell - Last Words, 15 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Arise (Audio CD)
it's taken me a long time to cease comparing this album with the certified classic that is 'africa must be free by 1983', and having done so can enjoy this for what it is. a very good, if perplexing record. recorded in 1983 (the final irony), the year he was murdered, only 21 years old, this contains 5 songs and 3 instrumentals/dubs, the whole engineered by dennis bovell. the entire rhythm of the work is upbeat, and the mood similar (optimistic?), and that may be the factor in it's difference to previous works.
the songs themselves are strong and structured in the dancehall style, a minor glitch being the slightly heavy handed drumming, which again may have been dictating possible future directions. no standouts but no failures either.
although bovell was the engineer, the instrumental tracks (more dancehall than dubs) don't feature his hallmark style and invention, and therefore appear to be an opportunity lost, although these are perfectly listenable, and apt for the album. also, on two occasions (of 3) they are placed before the song, rather than after, which confuses the issue somewhat.
as i say, it's been a long time growing, and maybe not the album he may have chosen as his last, but it's a fitting reminder of the man's enormous talent and potential. like keith hudson, he had the ability to take the art of reggae music to different and new places. he left a fine catalogue of music, all the more remarkable for the age he was taken.


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