Review: Brixton-born legend Don Letts (- a cultural polymath, pop star, filmmaker, radio broadcaster, commentator, Grammy winner and DJ- ) curates the latest Late Night Tales compilation with a diabotical 'Version Excursion'. Song choices are diverse, from French dubsters' OBF's rendition of "Sixteen Tons", to Ash Walker's refix of Omar's "There's Nothing Like This" and "All I Do Is Think About You" - immortalised by the ill-fated Tammi Terrell and preserved here by Quantic (the latter two both exclusives). Amidst a wealth of rarities you'll also find a cover (by Wrongtom Meets The Rockers) of The Clash's "Lost In The Supermarket" while between much more is Lett's exclusive rendition of Big Audio Dynamite's debut hit, "E = MC2". In Don Letts we trust.
Review: With the whole mash-up thing, it's nearly always rock, pop or electro-pop tunes that tend to get spliced together. Here though, we get an interesting twist from Krakowski with familiar songs by the likes of The Doors ("Break On Tru"), Robin Thicke ("Blurred Lines") and The Fugees ("Fu Dollars More") are given a soft reggae lilt for maximum fun.
Review: Music For The People return with their eighth release by none other than main edit man, Krakowski, who has already injected a great deal of boogie retouching into the label thanks to his previous EP. "Skabotage" opens things up in true stepper style, bringing in those brass horns and placing them over some Beastie Boys lyrics to mix things up more than ever before! "The Final Skankdown" is more of a lover's rock ting, re-hashing a track that's almost too famous to name, whereas "Dubbing My Religion" adds a roots-style percussion work over yet another pop anthem. Finally, "La Bambska" slows the original "Bamba" down to blissful reggae tones - incredible
Review: The undisputed king of reggae versions, Mato returns with his sixth series of dubbed out hip-hop covers. Far from the crass, crude mash-up culture, Mato's original instrumentation ensures a much more natural remix feel which, in some cases, sounds better than the original. Across the 10 track set we're treated a bouncy, sun-kissed take on Eve's "Gangsta Lovin", a tight skank-flexed take on The Beatnuts "Off The Books", a Vadim-style contemporary digi dub take on Nate Dogg's "Good Life" and a very authentic rendition of "Still Dre". Essential listening for both hip-hop and reggae heads.
Review: House of David Gang know their onions when it comes to funky reggae vibes, even though they come from Canada. The Jamaican spirit lives everywhere! Ed Solo's reggae mix is a smooth, swaggering blend of classic reggae, rocking guitar licks and laid back grooves. Picking up the pace, the Ed Solo and Stickybuds edit adds super tight drums and a dancefloor-heavy bassline to get those arms flailing and those bodies grooving. Two very different sounds from one classic track, if you're a reggae warrior, you can't miss this.
Review: Stuart Leath's Emotional Rescue label is returning to the dance in a big way this Spring, with a couple of killer reissues of long forgotten Caribbean disco jams. This first one is, predictably, essential, with former Blue Beat chanteuse Lauren Aitken's 1978 disco-reggae killer "Sexy Boogie" being the centre of attention. Curiously, it was only a B-side first time around, but rightly deserves greater exposure. Aitken is in fine form singing over an undulating disco-reggae groove peppered with sweet guitars and twinkling pianos. Soft Rocks man Piers Harrison gets his scalpel out on the flip, turning original A-side "Hoochie Coochie Man" into a yearning dub disco chugger that largely dispenses with Aitken's vocals.
Review: The King & City reissue series continues with Paul Robinson's disco boogie jam Come On Sister. Moving from the Lovers sound of his early productions, his first solo recording was aimed straight at the blues, clubs and pirate stations of South London and beyond - a prolific artist on the rise. Appearing as a 13 year old protegee drummer in The Simeons, recording for the legendary Freedom Sounds label out of Kingston; to forming the influential Roots / Lovers Rock outfit One Blood; then vocalist in the Nick Straker Band; and through to a 30 year career as "dubplate" producer / singer Barry Boom, Robinson is a man of talents and serious legacy. This highly sought after debut, part of Neville King and Lee Laing's family of labels, followed releases in One Blood and productions for female Lovers groups Blood Sisters and Charisma. A pure disco boogie party cut, Come On Sister sees the Robinson family hit the Brit funk.
In label style, the track is given the Discomix treatment, here by up and coming digger, dealer and producer, Bruno (Perfect Lives). Letting the horns, dub bass and drums build in anticipation before the keys and guitar join and it all drops to Robinson's vocals - Come On Sister.
Review: The second in the series of DJ Duckcomb-affiliated reissues brings the Jamaica / London connection to light, with a reissue of the Brixton based band Red Cloud under the spotlight. Double Talk was their debut release, coming on House / Freestyle / Reggae label Dancefloor Records, first explored by Emotional Rescue several years ago. After meeting with label head, Jeffrey Collins, in his then London base, the band went on release 2 albums, a 12" and 7" with him, as well as notably being Floyd Lloyd Seivright's backing band. The original 1983 12"" - now a highly sought after digger's disco reggae bomb - Double Talk is a perfect summer Lovers jam. A tale of sweat talking, cross loving and loss, with redemption and strength, all backed by an uplifting drum and bass, with guitar, keys and piano highlighting the JA climbs instilled in dem sound. Dubble Dub brings it all down, stripping away and lifting the interplay between keys and piano, allowing guitar to ride above warm bass grooves. Duckcomb then returns with his now trademark riding the vocal'n'dub, gently teasing'n'pulling, looping'n'flipping, before letting the echoplex loose to just let the wonderful groove bump'n'grind.