Sunday, July 24, 2011

What I'm Listening To: July!

"Rebelution" by Yami Bolo [Zion High Productions - 2003]


I'm a little hesitant these days to write about "Rebelution" because I've written SO MUCH for it in the past. I reviewed the album, they re-released it as a Dub version, I reviewed that, I think I wrote a news story for it on United Reggae and then I think I reviewed it there too! So I definitely donated a lot of time to what, I THINK, remains the latest studio release from the outstanding Yami Bolo, from Zion High Productions. However, this album, which I rarely go a WEEK without spinning at least once these days, I kind of use to . . . Almost stabilize my mood. I've spoken about it sparingly in the past - I've had a long road with mental problems and aside from medication, which certainly does help, there's all of this wonderful music and "Rebelution" has definitely been a kind of 'mobile' form of therapy for me. I listen to this album (and a few others) to help me to focus to write about OTHER albums and I also go for it when I’m not necessarily feeling BAD, but my mood is just constantly shifting and it almost always works. The tune I’m most centered on these days, fittingly, is 'Hail The Conquering Lion' with Ras Michael and today (while I'm writing this), we definitely give praise to His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie I, born 119 years ago.

"Nyah Man Chant" by Bushman [Greensleeves - 1997]

'Nyah Man Chant'

'Grow Your Natty'

In retrospect, this Steely & Clevie produced set is probably somewhat overrated - It is remembered and lauded (by people like me) as being great and landmark, but that's probably because it was the debut album of someone who would go on to be a very well regarded vocalist in his career. 14 years ago now, Bushman arrived on the album scene with "Nyah Man" chant which featured a bag of tunes with which his name is still oft-associated. Songs like the title track, 'Call The Hearse', 'Black Starliner', 'Grow Your Natty' and others are still highlights in his huge catalog and they all appear on this album, respectively. Also here, however, are less than stellar efforts such as 'Remember The Day', 'She’s Gone' and Bushman's cover of Bill Withers' 'Ain't No Sunshine'. It is ultimately a 'middle of the road' type of an album which he would greatly eclipse with its two follow-ups, "Total Commitment" and, of course, "Higher Ground" (both produced by King Jammy, incidentally), but every so often it is nice to get back to the real class of this album which is now classic material.

"In Concert Series: Luciano" [J&D Distribution - 2000]

Luciano does have a definitive live album to his credit, "Live!" which was done by Xterminator and VP Records the same year as this largely forgotten piece, "In Concert Series" from the once very useful J&D. The other album was a better performance, had better tunes and, also, it lead me to going through this album for what seemed like the first time in 200 years. Regardless of its age or time away from my players, however, certain moments on this album remain . . . Candy-like for the ears. Despite the presence of far more recognizable tracks such as 'Sweep Over My Soul', 'One Way Ticket', 'It's Me Again Jah', 'Lord Give Me Strength', it was some of the lesser known pieces here which really stood out to me. The best of them all came with the spicy ‘Jah Makes The World Go Round’, but ‘Final Call’ was also very strong as were a few more.

"FINALLY" by Frisco Kid [VP Records - 1998]

'Little & Cute'

FUN! I may have mentioned this one before, but as my copy of Frisco Kid's debut (and I think ONLY) album, "Finally" from 1998 spends 99% of its time tucked away in an office-box in . . . that room with all of my Wife's stuff in it - Pretty much every time I'm looking for something else and happen to stumble upon it, I pull it out and have at least a brief listen. Why? First of all is the artist, himself. I can't pretend that Frisco was the greatest DJ of his, or any other, era, but his delivery was damn solid and particularly when you're backed by THE top riddims of the time, courtesy of the genius that is Dave Kelly (who also wrote most the lyrics) - Fun times definitely ensue. This album would’ve probably been great as an instrumental, stocked with favourites such as the Showtime, Pepperseed, Arab Attack, Joy Ride and the hypnotic Medicine riddims. The final of those serves as a platform for what is probably my own favourite tune from the DJ ever, the KNOCKING 'Little & Cute' and other pieces such as 'Sergeant Wallace' (LYRICS!), 'Dreamland' with Wayne Wonder, 'Wackie News' (riddim on that one, whatever it's called, is MAD!), 'Bashment Time' featuring Mr. Easy and more - Just add to the fun here on an excellent Dancehall album from its time (if you don't have this one, probably above all others here today (unless I add something else), I would suggest you look into picking it up - Now easily available digitally.

"7 Year Itch" by Protoje [Don Corleon - 2011]

Call me simple - When you're nice to me, I feel inclined to be nice back. In my ridiculousness, I call "nice" listening to your music, even though I already have dealt with (and I actually think most people would agree with me). Of course, just listening isn't the ultimate goal, I'm trying to find some way to work the album back into a discussed 'circulation' around here and in this case, I’m having a pretty good time looking back as well. Last week, as I said yesterday, we got a link from Protoje, who said how much he'd enjoyed our review of his strong debut album, "7 Year Itch" from back in January. So, from since then I've gone back and had a next listen. These days (as is usually the case when I step away from an album for some time and then come back), the journey is more of a lyrical one and while I'm still in the midst of said steps, definitely go back to this one for yourself and focus more on what is being said. In Protoje's case, given the fact that his music is dynamic for various reasons and all of everything going on with his backstory, it's kind of difficult to focus on a single thing, but in doing so, I've gained even more of an appreciation for tunes such as 'Overtime' and others. I'm still working on trying to figure out how to work his album back into being mentioned around here, however.

{Note: Hope you caught that one}
{See Review Here}


'Romantic Call' w/Yo-Yo

I can't actually take credit for the fact that, ever since learning that Patra did indeed have an album a few years back "The Great Escape", I've been listening to her old tunes - Because I wasn't the one who just learned about it and I haven't actually been listening - It's been more like HEARING on my part. Instead, it's my Wife (oh love of my life) who has been enjoying the time traveling (I love you). That isn't, of course, to disparage Patra in any way because Patra's old stuff was pretty damn good. What you'll find on her second album, "Scent of Attraction", really isn't my favourite material, but her slightly grimier debut, "Queen of The Pack", was better than solid (and almost became the subject of a 'vault review' last year, largely due to the WICKED title track and 'Romantic Call' with Hip-Hopper, Yo-Yo (whatever happen to her???). And although it's been some time from last I heard a new tune from Patra, she's still around and quite actively performing, so biggup Patra and definitely biggup my Wife (who I'll leave alone now because she's looking at me funny).

"Entre Nous" by Nesly [Nouvelle Donne - 2011]


'En Mode Love'

Lastly - Apparently this album may've reached back in February, so I'm probably late to it because we just got it not too long ago. "It" is, obviously, the debut album from up and coming Zoukie, Nesly who broke out in 2010 with an outstanding year highlighted by a big big tune by the name of, 'Allez'. This is the album on which you'll find that tune, as well as eleven other predominately worthy stops along the way. Yes - Nesly, is a cutie (who is not shy at all about showing off that ass) (but that album cover is strange) and she makes some very very nice music as well. Certainly 'Allez' is the class of the album, but her most recent single, the sultry 'En Mode Love', is pretty damn nice also (and hopefully we put that video in here) as are a few other tunes here. I'm still well in the process of working my way through it, but the title track is a beautiful thing (and I think I've heard that before also), as is, potentially, 'Rien Que Toi'. It's been awhile from the last time we reached with Zouk, so you can probably expect a review for this one when we return.

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