Mungo’s Hi Fi have long been tastemakers in the sound system scene, with their ongoing series Puffer’s Choice putting the proof on 12”.

The third installment’s twelve eclectic tracks feature vocalists Mr. Williamz, Cian Finn, Earl Cunningham, JonnyGo Figure, Daddy Freddy with Tippa Irie, plus plenty more. Producers include Chief Rockas, Stalawa, Equiknoxx, and of course the hosting Hi Fi.

Opening collab “My Heavenz” finds Mr. Williamz serenading the herb to a heavyweight rumbler from Chief Rockas. The wobbling low-end embraces the Scotch Bonnet sound, leading nicely into “Go Lassie.” Previously a limited 7” release on the Dumbarton Rock imprint, Cian Finn hails up Ireland on a Mungo’s re-lick of an Augustus Pablo and King Tubby production. Dubster notes that the melody is both Irish and Scottish, fittingly.

Jeb Loy Nichols’ yearning “To Be Rich” may be the mellowest track of the compilation, but the lyrics are biting nonetheless on this smooth skanker. Stalawa mine those outernational vibes to link up with Kenyan Nazizi, whose vocal style is tender yet tough on “Rather Be Alone.”

Things tilt digital, as veteran Earl Cunningham offers praises on “Hotstepper;” apparently these are lost lyrics from the 80s, finding a modern home on the bubbly production work of Viktorious. Bony Fly does not venture much as far as the era is concerned – the synths in particular – with JonnyGo Figure bringing his wicked as ever vibes to “Crucial.”

“Lyrics Spree” is an intriguing modern digital cut, and is exactly as advertised: Parly B, Daddy Freddy, and Tippa Irie all go in, dropping names and boasts aplenty on an Interrupt riddim. The lone Jamaican cut, produced by the forward-thinking Equiknoxx collective, “BBS” finds Shokryme and RTKal trading verses in a bit of a left-field fashion.

Next, New Zealand’s Flying Fox strike it right on “Weak Hearts.” Equal parts dynamic and ghostly (or is that ghost-in-the-machinely?), this is the malaise of industrial haze set to the pulse of a late-night sound system session. INT DUB venture deeper on “Black,” a celebration of melanin via a potent vocal contribution by Skari.

“In My Zone” eases things up, a silky intro from Charli Brix giving way to the dancehall stomp of Mungo’s Hi Fi and the flow of Gardna. Somah and Nem link up for the closer, “Sailor,” the stark weight of the production balanced by the warm vocal.

An enjoyable journey through the relevant sonics of 2020 – while no substitute for the live performances so many of us are still craving – this is impressively curated, a firm reminder of the breadth of “reggae music.”

12” Vinyl and Digital available via the Scotch Bonnet Bandcamp.

More info:
Scotch Bonnet Records Facebook

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Co-Founder: Pomegranate Sounds
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Writer: NiceUp
Editor: Global Reggae Charts Magazine