Thursday, June 13, 2013

3 Hours of [FREE!] Delight From Tiger Records

Yow! A very, very wonderful event/showcase is going down this weekend and You are welcomed to take part in it. Achis Reggae favourite and friend of ours, Sherkhan of Tiger Records is cracking open the vault and freeing up a great deal of their current catalogue and doing ABSOLUTELY FOR FREE on Sherkhan's website - For three hours on Sunday, which is the 16th day of June, you can freely log onto the site and have your choice of more than one hundred and fifty [150!] songs and it will not cost you a damn thing! That's a lot of songs to choose from and in honour of the coming occasion, we thought that it might be a good idea to narrow things down a bit for you or just give you a few ideas of what you might be able to look forward to by, briefly (not really), digging through some of the vault of Tiger Records. 

{Note: I don't have a list so I may mention some things which're not available during the event. If that should happen - GO AND BUY IT because it's probably really, really good anyway) 

"French Connection" by Perfect Giddimani [2009]

To my knowledge, the very first album Tiger ever did for an artist was the powerhouse of a release that was "French Connection" from the explosive and unpredictable Perfect Giddimani back in 2009. What most stands out about this one nearly four years on was just how accessible it was. Roots Reggae isn't typically known for being the most 'reachable'' genre, but this album was definitely that because it offered up such a fun time. That is certainly a specialty of the volatile Perfect's and his dynamic ways were well on display here. Through tunes such as 'Step Away', 'Son of Jamaica', 'Marijuana We Seh', 'Bobo Special', 'Mi Nah Cut My Dread' and others, Perfect dazzled on an album which has only gotten better with time. Sizzla Kalonji, Zamunda and Lutan Fyah guested. 
"Ghetto Princess" by Diana Rutherford [2011]

The Lioness, Diana Rutherford, would make her album debut on Tiger Records in 2011 with the infectious and colourful "Ghetto Princess". The healthy release would offer the young veteran the opportunity to put on full display her deep and versatile bag of talents throughout its sixteen tracks and nearly an hour's worth of playing time. When I look back at this one now, what I most find remarkable is the FOUNDATION of the album. For some reason, I recalled "Ghetto Princess" as being this kind of pan-genre project and that wasn't what it was, for the most part. It was a sleeper of a HEAVY Reggae album which pinnacled on pieces such as its devastating opener, 'Harmonies of Cries', 'Rely On Me' alongside Assailant, 'A New Day', with Sizzla Kalonji (a tune which I now enjoy considerably more than I remember having had), 'Still A Lady', 'Lost In Extasy' and others. 
"Stand Up Strong" by Bazil [2011]

Tiger would do the double drop in 2011, chasing "Ghetto Princess" with the indescribably fascinating "Stand Up Strong" by Bazil. Nearly two years later and I don't even think that I've thought the final word on this album (which would make for a fine Vault Review someday because I’m pretty sure I never did actually write one for it) in terms of what I REALLY thought about it. But you don't have to beat it down to a powdery detail to recognize the basics. First of all, Bazil had a very high skill level. Lyrically he was very good and his delivery was one which was wholly captivating as, in a very Gentleman/NiyoRah type of fashion, Bazil needed very little in the way of 'space' to create melody. He didn't need a great track (although he got plenty of them on this album) to make a song entertaining and "Stand Up Strong" was definitely entertaining. It was also a bit more with tunes such as 'Don't You Stop', 'Right Things', 'Gunman Movie' and others. A PERFECT album for someone who might be new to Reggae music.  
"Much More To Life" by Norris Man [2013]

Lastly, while I can't at all imagine that Sherkhan will think to make free the only two months old "Much More To Life" - the latest album from Trenchtown veteran chanter, Norris Man - it's just an album that you should have these days. Each and every time I go back to it, I find something new to enjoy about it and while I immediately saw it as one of Norris Man's finest releases when I first heard it, I'm beginning to think that it ranks AT LEAST on par with any of them and I wouldn't be surprised if, some day, I came to consider it his opus. "Much More To Life" was huge!  
"Reggae Zone Mix Vol. 1" [2010]

And while it wasn't an album and I'm not the biggest fan of the mixtape, Sherkhan did do a very nice one in 2010, "Reggae Zone". Of course, it helps if you're a fan of Tiger Records' output - because it makes the music here far more familiar and impacting, but perhaps this would also be a nice place to start as well as it featured some of the label's staples such as Diana Rutherford, Perfect, Norris Man and Bazil and also Sizzla Kalonji, Lutan Fyah, Assailant and others including someone who I'm going to speak HIGHLY of right now.

Riddims & Tracks
The Box Guitar Riddim [2010]

Unless I'm really overlooking something, the Box Guitar is probably my favourite track that Tiger has ever done and certainly a great deal of that goes with the fact that it carried what was… simply one of the best songs I have EVER heard, the all-conquering and downright MASSIVE [!] 'Cross My Heart' from Junior X (the aforementioned "someone who I'm going to speak HIGHLY of right now"). That piece was a heavy and mighty and intoxicating social commentary from someone in Junior X who has, at least to my opinion, spent his career quietly redefining what it means to speak on the times in a very cunning and clever way. But he was not alone and was joined not only by a lot of the names I've mentioned thus far, but also the venerable Mikey General, Terry Ganzie, Likkle Devon and Lutan Fyah. Probably one of the most underrated tracks in recent years in my opinion - it was fantastic.
The Sufferah Riddim [2008]

Jah Mason and Teflon were amongst the names featuring greatly on the HEAVY Sufferah Riddim - a track which almost sounded like it kind of missed out on its time and I mean that in a good way. The Sufferah was a bit of a 'blast from the past' in how it was vibed, sounding like it came from a year thirty years or so prior to its actual time. It CRAWLED! But it also developed into an excellent composition and is another of my favourites in Tiger's vaults. Michael Rutherford, for a change, and Blessed also made fine appearances as did the usual suspects. Oh! And the clean instrumental of this one was gorgeous! 
The Wharfedale Riddim [2006]

The Wharfedale is probably the most well known single composition that Tiger Records has done to date and while it is best known for the brilliant Tanya Stephens mashing it to pieces, what she left behind was more than enough for the expected likes of Rutherford, Norris Man ["They cannot conquer me! Rastafari protect and keep I and I alive!"], Kalonji and especially Lutan Fyah, to make great usage of. The crystal voiced and woefully under-recorded Chrisinti also gave a fine effort in ‘Tomorrow'.  
The Ol' Sitt'n Riddim [2007]

Norris Man advised all to 'Let Love Take Control', while Junior X told of the 'Modern Day Pharaoh' on the SUBLIME Ol' Sitt'n Riddim from a few years back. Another very underrated track, as a composition, the Ol' Sitt'n was fantastic. It was a beautiful piece and with its kind of 'mid' pacing, it made itself open for a wide variety of different types of material, from a healthy roster of vocalists. It also would birth very nice pieces from the likes of Emperor Mangasha (I had COMPLETELY forgotten that Mangasha was on this riddim), Black Lion, Assailant (whose 'Don't Do Me Dat' was big) and even the late Eloquent.  
The Dutty Foot Riddim [2012]

If you just… need to get a few things off of your mind and feel like crying a little, DEFINITELY check out the Dutty Foot Riddim. It did have nice songs on it within its five vocal tracks, particularly 'Wat A Lala' by Lutan Fyah, of course, 'Rebel' by The Lioness and 'My Feelings For You' by Norris Man. But THE highlight of this acoustic piece was the riddim itself and the clean instrumental is about four minutes of as good of 'crying music' as you are going to find.  
The Arena Riddim [2007]

Although it isn't his usual style, the Arena Riddim found Sherkhan and company heading into the Dancehall and doing so proudly and in an impressive way. Of course when you do such a thing, it may not be a bad idea to secure the services of someone like Busy Signal and that is precisely what Tiger did - TWICE. The daring DJ would twice reach the track, once with the HARD 'Teaser Myspace' and again with the wholly ridiculous 'We Nuh Play With People', the riddim's best tune, which found Busy going all Timex Social Club on the people ["Never know seh wi evil. Boy diss: Gunshot right away. Dem check seh a joking ting, wi nuh laugh. No water gun war wi nah play"]. Teflon also joined in as did Jah Trouble (who sounded all of eleven years old at the time).  
And The Sun Come Dung [2012]

And there was also (I think I'm almost done) ("Briefly"… right!) (Now checking in at 1664 words) the And The Sun Come Dung Riddim from not too long ago at all which was a sparkling track, which I definitely could have used a few more tracks from - it was very good. Highlighted by Diana Rutherford's scathing 'Beware' and the Jah Cure-ish 'Let Me Love You' by Zamunda, this track also featured the work of Terry Ganzie and even Zeno. Again, be sure to check the instrumental as well.
'Smile On My Face' by Diana Rutherford [2012]

Unsurprisingly, Rutherford has also had quite a few singles on Tiger Records and one of her better was selections was probably this piece, 'Smile On My Face', which, as its title suggests, was a piece about leaving your problems "worry" behind and focusing on the things in life which bring a smile to your face. On top of that, I also remembered this one because the cover for the digital single (which Bredz hopefully included here, otherwise this thing will just kind of float around in here somewhere) was amazing. The smile on her face looked divine.
'Earthly War' by Ras Brando [2011]

The lively Ras Brando [BOOM!] also recorded a few nice pieces with Sherkhan and Tiger (including a nice combination with Al Pancho and Anthony John which… I THINK was on the Ol’ Sitt'n), called 'Other Datings') (it is on the Ol' Sitt'n) such as this overlooked single from a couple of years back, 'Earthly War'. Of course, this is a commentary on the state of the times, but in Brando's case, like all of his music, it gets an extra dosage of PASSION. Brando is someone else who you don't hear from as much as you'd like, because every time he does have something, it is almost always impressive. This was no exception.  
'You Mean The World To Me' by ErupDiana Rutherford [2007]

Erup took time out his busy schedule of clicking his damn fingers to record this nice combination track with Diana Rutherford, 'You Mean The World To Me'. You may not have expected it to be such, but this song had layers in its sound and it was mightily impressive. Not the smallest reason for which was the fact that it featured Rutherford adding a bit more on her really maxed out vocals, but the two also had a whole heap of musical chemistry as well.  
'Bad' by Jah TroubleJuvenile [2008]

Check 'Bad' - a combination featuring the aforementioned Jah Trouble alongside Juvenile. I've known this song previously, but perhaps because I haven't heard it in awhile - It caught me! Damn infectious! 
'Hard Rain' by Likkle Devon [2012]

And finally in our very, very brief look back at the catalogue of Tiger Records and stuff you may be able to download for absolutely nothing at all from on Sunday, June 16th  is a very good song which I was almost sure was at least a couple of years old, but apparently only released just last year, 'Hard Rain' from veteran and Tiger Records staple, Likkle Devon. It's kind of Techno/Electro and a the obvious changeup on this list, but good luck trying to get this song out of your head after you've heard it once or twice. 

So! Remember, this coming Sunday log on to for three hours and ENJOY! It's 1pm-4pm in Jamaica. In London that is 7pm-10pm. In Amsterdam, in Paris and in Berlin that's 8pm-11pm. In Ethiopia that is 9pm-12am. In New York it's 2pm-5pm. In Tokyo that's Monday, the 17th, 3am-6am. Figure it out and be there to take advantage of one the coolest ideas and online events in recent times courtesy of Sherkhan and the wonderful people at Tiger Records. And I know that you're thinking so I'll just tell you - NO! YOU CANNOT DOWNLOAD THE GIRL ON THE FLYER! WHAT!

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