Review: The King & City label is the subject of three reissues, starting with One Blood's classic Lovers Rock take of William DeVaughn's soul anthem, Be Thankful. Taking the influence of reggae from the Caribbean diaspora within the cultural melting pot of 70s London, the birth of Lovers Rock, often-dubbed 'romantic reggae', is a uniquely black British sound, developed against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems. A style suited to the London scene, it represents an apolitical counterpoint to the then dominant conscious Rastafarian sound and continued the soulful and commonly love-themed rocksteady style. Active during the scene's peak, King & City was launched by Neville King and Lee Laing to champion the sound and alongside other producers like Dennis Bovell, created genre-defining hits. Formed in 1979 One Blood was made up of the 5 Robinson brothers - Errol, Jerry, Lloyd, Trevor and Paul - and recording at the legendary TMC studios, went on to release two albums and countless singles. Be Thankful pays homage to DeVaughn's original, with smooth vocals gliding atop tight drum and bass, vocal jumping up dub pom acapella to summer perfection. The tapes here passed to cohort Lexx, crafting a wonderful discodub that is all groove, expertly cutting back and forth... diamonds in the back, sunroof top.
Review: Liondub International have a very important release out this week, as they pay tribute to Sugar Minott, who died exactly ten years ago this week. Tribute does exactly what its name would suggest, as a Liondub come out with eight remastered and remixed cuts from the singer himself. It's a touching piece of music that's matched by Minott's wonderfully smooth vocal talent, from the remastered version of legendary reggae cut 'Praise His Name' to the hard-hitting jungle VIP of 'Borderline' by Minott and Marcus Visionary. There's dub, reggae, jungle and drum & bass all wrapped up into one. Superb.