Tracks of the Week

Popcaan – Only Jah Know

Popcaan - Only Jah KnowAndrae Jay Sutherland, better known by his stage name Popcaan, is a Jamaican dancehall artist currently signed to Mixpak Records. Poppy was also born in Portmore, Jamaica, like his one-time boss and mentor Vybz Kartel. Popcaan rose to fame under the tutelage of Kartel in 2007. It wasn’t until 2010 that Popcaan made his break through collaborating with the Worl’ Boss on ‘Clarks’. His first solo hit was on the New Zealand produced ‘Lost Angel’ riddim with ‘Only Man She Wants’.  (more…)

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Forest Man – Children Crying

Forest Man - Children Crying(Pisces 7”)

Underneath the massive body of well-known Black Ark/Lee Perry tunes, there are also a mass of lesser known peaches recorded at the infamous Black Ark. Usually these are found on smaller labels with artists who are not quite as well-known as say The Meditations, The Congos, and Max Romeo. (more…)

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Howie Smart & Daddy Soujie – Sweet Reggae Music

Howie Smart - Sweet Reggae MusicBlack Diamond 12″ (1985)

One of many mid-1980’s scorchers out of Canada, this one is on the “Things A Come Up To Bump” riddim. The catchy moving melody was originally laid down by Kingston’s Coxsone Dodd.

Over time many lyrical gurus have blessed this riddim, namely Lincoln “Sugar Booga” Minott, Anthony Johnson, Freddie Gregor and Leroy Smart. But it is another Smart, this one by the name of Howie Smart from Toronto, who comes with my favourite cut on this remade riddim courtesy of Mes Jam Record’s Don Wycleffe Messam. (more…)

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Barry Brown – Politician

Politician - Jackpot 7"Jackpot 7″

It’s election time here in the UK, which always gets me pulling out of one of my favourite Barry Brown tunes, Politician.

Barry Brown was a greatly underrated artist throughout the golden era of roots and early dancehall. He may have had to start out by running errands for the likes of Bunny Lee, but when he got his break and opportunity he recorded a number of hits such as ‘Step It Up’, ‘No Wicked Shall Enter’, ‘Lead Us Jah’, ‘Cool Pon Your Corner’, and probably his most well-known tune ‘Far East’. (more…)

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Exco Levi – One Shirt

Exco Levi - One ShirtOff the Countryman LP (Penthouse, 2015)

This track is off the new long player produced by Donovan Germain of Penthouse Records fame.

Germain had the good foresight to hear Usher’s R&B hit ‘Good Kisser’ from last year and think to himself that it could sound more reggaefied.

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Wayne Smith – E20

Wayne Smith - E20The drum intro caves after just one bar, unleashing this ‘computerized riddim’ full-force. While Wayne Smith’s famed “Under Mi Sleng Teng” has a subtle sense of reservation with its rolling bass line, “E20″ cranks both the pitch and bpm upwards, resulting in dance hall devastation. (more…)

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Jah Cure – Life We Live

Jah Cure - Life We LiveFrom the first moment I heard Jah Cure I was instantly a fan. Not since the great Gregory Issacs has there been such a powerful voice in the lover’s rock sub-genre. This man is a genius and I am surprised he hasn’t made more of an impact on the mainstream. (more…)

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Dizzy Flemmings – Silencioso Reggae 

Silencioso Reggae(Black Seed 7″)

There are many examples of multi-versioning about. Foundation riddims given outing after outing, being updated through the years. Possibly my favorite riddim is the one called ‘Burial’.

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The Upsetters – Return of Django

Return of DjangoComing from the first Upsetters LP of the same name, ‘Return of Django’ features that tough yet organic Perry sound which launched him onto the world stage. With its instantly recognisable horn line and bouncing bass-driven rhythm, the heavy Upsetters sound quickly became commercially popular, spreading beyond the Jamaican and becoming a cornerstone of the Trojan ska sound.  (more…)

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