Sunday, July 04, 2010

Summer Reggae Movements

Summer is here and the new music is coming fast and quick. Artists like Chevaughn are vying for hottest single title with songs like "Summer Break," (see video) while solid new releases and vintage collections are dropping hard. Perhaps none is more anticipated than Capleton's newest for VP Iternal Fire (out July 6). 
Capes has been somewhat absent from the charts in Jamaica, but he's been recording steadily on all the latest riddims as always. Ganja ode "Acres," which was featured on Greensleeves' Biggest One Drop Hits 2009 comp effectively revises his smash "Ton Load" and hails the world's producers and cultivators herb with the DJ riffing, "Add a G-A-N and call it Ganjamaica..." "When I Came To Town" is excellent one-drop reggae produced by Clive Hunt, while producers Shane "Juke Boxx" Brown, Bobby "Digital B" Dixon and Kemar "Flavor" McGregor round out production on this solid set. One hidden highlight comes near the album's conclusion: "Blessing" produced by Edward Harris for Cut Stone is sweet conscious reggae at its best. Overall, Capleton is back with a righteous album sure to please his core audience and new fans alike.

But that's just the beginning for the crucial new titles from the VP/Greensleeves/17 N Parade vaults. Busy Signal's newest D.O.B. drops July 13 on VP, while reissue titles from Federal Records and Ernie Smith will please the vintage heads. The two-disc set Definitive Collection of Federal Records:1964-1982 chronicles Ken Khouri's famous label and studio. This is a who's who of ska and rocksteady with songs by The Maytals, John Holt, Lyn Taitt, Bob Andy and Hopeton Lewis included. Importantly, Definitive Collection charts the changes that took place in Jamaican music during the turbulent 1970s. Everything from American soul music to black power and the war in Vietnam influenced artists and songs in that era. Similarly, the Ernie Smith collection shows a different class of Jamaican singer, one who had the ability to fuse the island vibe with pop, country and soul.
 From the album press release:
"Glenroy ‘Ernie’ Smith is a national hero in Jamaica. His constant presence on radio and stage during the 1960s and '70s placed this folk influenced, pop singer and songwriter at the top of the national charts and above the rising tide of reggae music and Jamaica’s other musical hero – Bob Marley."
Chart business: You can read up on the latest Jamaica music chart action here and here. As far as fast movers, you probably already know about Gyptian's run-away success with his single "Hold Yuh." Vybz Kartel could be the next to crack international charts with his various versions of "Clarks" and "Clarks Again," both fun odes to the suede shoes that even the Wu Tang Clan have praised.

Attention reggae Industry heads: Tuff Gong Worldwide is starting a new registry for the reggae industry. Get in touch with Michelle Rodriguez to sign up.

I'm glad that I stay subscribed to Juno Record's weekly reggae new releases list. Juno has some great exclusives and first-run listings from UK and European roots reggae and digi-dub acts that you may not come across otherwise. Check vital new releases from Reality Souljahs and fantastic steppers from the Digital Conscious crew. Awoah!

Annette Brissett is a new artist ForwardEver is definitely checking for. She's got a smoky voice that sounds like a cross between Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks and reggae crooner Tanya Stephens. For all those missing the days of Judy Mowatt and Rita Marley, Brissett may just bring the modern roots woman back into prominence.

Watch a video or listen to the song below. "Life Your Head Up," recorded at Syl Gordon's Cell Block Studio in Jamaica

Reggae's "Mr. Showman" Beres Hammond is coming back to SF August 27 with the Harmony House band and Kenyatta Culture (Joseph Hill's son). It's going to be amazing show, but just to get you set up, check this recent video of Beres in New York.