The Old Timer Riddim [Seedness Records]
Ladies first. Getting us started this week is a damagingly interesting release via Seedness Records - the Old Timer Riddim. What's so damn interesting about this thing? Okay, first of all, it carries twelve vocal tracks and all twelve of them come from female artists. That's not unprecedented at all, but I don't know that it's ever been done on such a scale and with such a powerfully diverse group of vocalists either. On one side you have an excellent mix of Afro-French, French Caribbean and French talents such as Wonda Wendy, Miel, Princess Nayah (and her lips) and the WICKED Sista Jahan from out of Martinique. The same riddim carries the legendary Judy Mowatt as well as Yaz Alexander, Tamika, K Vibes (who reminds me of Lady Majesty) (biggup Lady Majesty), Queen Sheba and Nina Alverdez (so we'll just mention everyone this time). ALSO, if that were not enough, the Old Timer also features she who is, in my opinion, the most talented female in Reggae music today, the amazing Queen Omega from out of Trinidad ANDDDDDDDDDD someone named Sara Lugo [WHAT!]. A legend, two of my absolute favourite artists today and a very nice group of others puts the Old Timer on our radars. Furthermore (yes, there is more), if you look closely at the bottom-left of the cover, you'll see another of our favourites - Oneness Records who is also on board here, because the Old Timer appears to be the same gorgeous track which backs 'Ancient Of Days' from Mark Wonder's amazing record, "Working Wonders" (in stores now). And if you don't care about any of that, it's also VERY GOOD, so check out the Old Timer Riddim today.
'Good Gosh' by Al Pancho [Circadian Riddims Productions]
Yeah! Next in we have a look at a brand new tune from veteran chanter, Al Pancho, who links up with Circadian Riddims Productions to deliver what has to be his biggest tune in quite some time, the wicked 'Good Gosh'. While I am certainly not the biggest fan of Pancho's, I do love to give everyone credit when they deserve it and credit is to be thrown around liberally in this instance, because this tune is a really nice one in my opinion and maybe even one of the better of his entire career and, again, that's coming from someone who isn't constantly all over every Al Pancho tune, so definitely check out 'Good Gosh'.
Binghiman ah bun dem to ash
Babylon free di ghetto youths from jailhouse and prison yard"
The Tropical Escape Riddim [Chimney Records]
Chimney Records' Tropical Escape Riddim is one we've been meaning to mention for a little while now but it's kind of slipped through, but here you well have one of the strongest riddims of 2012 to my opinion. The track very much comes in the form of some of the better slower pieces from the likes of bonafide masters such as Don Corleon and Arif Cooper - it's EXCELLENT! Alaine (a staple on those tracks from Corleon and Cooper) leads (literally and figuratively - she has the first and best song on the riddim, the fittingly titled, 'Amazing') an outstanding group which includes huge names such as Tarrus Riley, I-Octane, Romain Virgo, Ce'Cile and Queen Ifrica. Also here're Christopher Martin (biggup Christopher Martin), the blazing Kabaka Pyramid, Chronixx with a MASSIVE tune and others. This one has already been doing damage, it would look excellent on your players and I may even review it someday. Why not.
The Project 5 Riddim [Millbeatz/Star Blu Entertainment]
The Project 5 is another one which I should have gotten around to sooner, but it's better late than never. A very COOL and bouncing Soca track, the Project 5 has definitely become an early favourite from Carnival 2K13 and, as its name would suggest, it's partly due to the five big tunes, from the five big artists assembled by Millbeatz Entertainment. Like who! Machel Montano headlines a group which also includes Michelle X, Benjai and the always fantastic Saucy Wow. To no surprise, however, my favourite song on the riddim, 'Permission Granted', comes via the scalding Patrice Roberts. Every track here is good though and I would recommend it for Soca heads and new fans alike.
"Da Rebirth" by Eljai [Jah Mix Entertainment]
Sweet singing Eljai from out of Belize is back with a new album, "Da Rebirth", which becomes his first in two or three years or so. Eljai is an artist who has well had success in the past and, really, is a quality singer so while his name may not leap out at you to any extent, immediately (at least not yet), he's not someone to be forgotten and his past works have shown that. His present is likely to do the same as the early indications from the new album are just as strong. I should mention that "Da Rebirth" shares (by my almost surely incorrect count) four or five tunes with its predecessor, "I Know", including (not surprisingly), 'Blessed' and 'Down In The Wilderness', featuring Capleton and General Degree, respectively.
'Call of the Righteous' by Addis Pablo [Rory Stone Love Records]
Son of Reggae royalty, Addis Pablo, is up next with a piece of musical mastery in his latest official release, 'Call of the Righteous'. The progeny of the legendary Augustus Pablo, Addis, like his father, does his work instrumentally (that actually is a word) and I don't know if I've ever heard him do something as beautiful as this tune. The digital release for 'Call of the Righteous' includes the original tune as well as a dubbed out version (which is HEAVY!).
"More Love" by Smiley [Suntracks]
'Don't Cry' featuring Saïk
I saw the title "More Love" as an album from 'Smiley' and immediately began to think to myself that an album that I had been waiting for from… three or four years now had finally arrived (biggup the other Smiley, who I do think is going to be doing an album this year - FINALLY), but this wasn't the more familiar user of that name. This Smiley however, from out of Gwada (and who looks EXACTLY like a younger Maxi Priest), had also been doing big works over the years and particularly this year when he'd already pushed a couple of big tunes and he now delivers his own debut (I THINK it's his first) album. There's a BIG tune on this album which I heard first from just a few months back by the name of 'Don't Cry' (which I saw and it jumped back in my head) which actually features Achis Reggae favourite, the overly-talented Saïk - and he isn't the only one! "More Love" also features cameos from Admiral T and even Methi'S [WHAT!]. I haven't heard the full set here, but I have a very good feeling about this one. Beat me to it and check out "More Love" by Smiley today. Why not right now?
"Rising Up" by Jah Rain [149 Records]
Last year, 149 Records was responsible for delivering what was, in my opinion, one of the most sensational projects of what turned out to be a sensational year, Anthony Que's "Meditation Time". And now they're back (technically early for 2013, but it was actually released late last year), with a new release, "Rising Up" from the lyrically impressive young veteran, Jah Rain. This release has somewhat of a 'problem', because it only has nine songs, but it appears to be a complete winner which is, for many people, going to serve as an excellent introduction to someone who figures to be on the cusp of having a really powerful career. As I alluded to, Rain's main quality as an artist is, and has always been, his talent of writing (a quality which he isn't at all shy about sharing with the world, wonderfully), which is on a full and vibrant display on "Rising Up".
The Bed Knocking Riddim [B2S Muisk]
DJ Greg and B2S Musik are up next with the downright hypnotic and appropriately named Bed Knocking Riddim which is a stellar track for late-2012. I love to point them out when I get the opportunity (which is unfortunately rare these days, although more often than maybe this time last year or so) and here is another - the Bed Knocking Riddim is an authentic Dancehall track which perhaps has a few textures and flavours from the Techno world, but it works for me and it also works in hands of the vast majority of the well talented vocalists chosen to appear on it. Mr. Vegas, Admiral T, Lefside, Demarco, Mighty Ki La (still waiting on that album), SamX, Keida (yep!) and even the Red Eye Crew all do well on the track and they're not the only ones.
"Cyan Mek Mi Runway" by Al Pancho [Manahoac Records]
And lastly this week, Al Pancho remains busy as, along with dropping the previously mentioned big tune, 'Good Gosh', he also recently worked a six track EP for Manahoac Records, "Cyan Mek Mi Runway". While I don't know that anything here is on that level just yet (and I haven't heard the entire thing, so maybe it is), I do give credit and respect for a project like this which is definitely going to help get the artist's name more and more out there and furthermore, I can't imagine Al Pancho's more steadfast fans not absolutely LOVING the current direction of his activity these days. So if you are such a fan or just want to listen to more of the chanter's work, check out both his new big tune, 'Good Gosh' and now the EP set, "Cyan Mek Mi Runway".