Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Check It #62: In The Middle

"One Blood" by Papa San [Beloved Records]

First up this week is the return of bonafide lyrics machine, Papa San, who brings forth his brand new album, "One Blood". Though for the healthy present of his career, San has largely focused his efforts on Gospel music, it's always interesting to check in on what he's doing because you'll still hear that downright masterful foundation which originally earned him so much attention so many years ago. And he's always remained quite popular, even in Gospel circles apparently, and "One Blood" has already generated a nice buzz. So check out the new album from Papa San who, arguably (but likely), may just be the best Dancehall lyricist - ever. Fred Hammond, Stitchie and others feature. 

CD [I THINK] + Digital
'Truck Load' by Beenie Man [Di Genius Productions]

From one legend to another - check the latest collaboration between Beenie Man and Stephen McGregor, 'Truck Load'. This may just be the best tune from Beenie that I've heard in… a really loooooooong time and, given its source, it comes as no surprise. It definitely would be nice to have another big year from Beenie Man and an album (but it's… been too long for me to even hope for such things now), but even if he ultimately turns in one far less than stellar, with tunes like 'Truck Load', he's off to a good start.

"Save The Juvenile" by Ruff-Ann [Cannon Productions]

Next we have an album which I heard about sometime late last year but never saw materialize until very recently. FIRM veteran, Ruffi-Ann is in with a new album of her own (which is apparently being billed as her debut, but I'm certain she's had at least one other) (…of course I'm entirely too lazy to verify that, but I'm almost sure) as she goes all Lutan Fyah on the people via "Save The Juvenile". Ruffi-Ann is someone who you kind of often think has retired, but when she makes you aware that she hasn't, she does it in a very big way with this album being the latest example of that. Though I have yet to make my way through it, I do have a pretty good feeling about this set. Ruffi-Ann is very talented and she's teamed up with one of the greatest of all time this time around as "Save The Juvenile" is produced by Dean Fraser which, obviously, means that she worked with Tarrus Riley (new album, "Love Situation", in stores now) who -- and she did -- who appears on 'Good Friends'. Really looking forward to this one, but beat me to it and pick it up today. 

CD [I THINK] + Digital
The Swing Heavy Riddim [Itation Records/Bizzarri Records]

Like the two entrants chasing it, we meant to mention the LOVELY Swing Heavy Riddim last time as coming soon for a couple of big reasons. First of all, it links a pair of our favourite labels in the always active Italian based Bizzarri Records and the unfortunately not too prolific Itation Records from out of the US. I can't actually remember the last time that we dealt with something from Itation, but I'm damn happy that they're back with this set. The other reason why we had to mention the Swing Heavy is because that it's just very good and, given the circumstances of its origins, it comes to no surprise at all. Also very strong is the lineup of vocal talent tapped to deal with the track as it features staples from both labels and big talents in general. Of course Lion D appears as does Skarra Mucci w/Teacha Dee, Raphael and Ras Tewelde, none of whom are new to working alongside Bizzarri. As for Itation, Lutan Fyah, Jah Sun and Delly Ranx all voice the track as does Achis Reggae favourite Messenjah Selah, Turbulence and even Kabaka Pyramid. BIG, BIG! 

The Cultivator Riddim [Royal Order Music]

Speaking of Kabaka Pyramid, the scalding chanter also makes a big appearance on the just as spacious Cultivator Riddim courtesy of the also very strong Royal Order Music. The roster of artists here is just an abundance of talent. Joining the Pyramid are the likes of Sizzla Kalonji ('Sweet To My Brain', big tune), Chronixx, Perfect Giddimani, Delly Ranx, Pressure Busspipe, Kali Blaxx and others (including Wayne Marshall whose offering, 'The Boom Draw', is excellent). Given the title (and the cover) of this one, you definitely know what to expect from this group and you can expect it across a sterling composition which is included in a clean form via the Roots & Harmony Band. Don't miss this one.

'Play On' by Ras Indio [West Coast Studios]

Check the latest from impressive Belizean chanter, Ras Indio, who becomes the latest in an increasingly solid batch of artists (which actually includes Ras Batch) (biggup Ras Batch) to link up with the burgeoning West Coast Studios from out of Morocco. When I saw the title on this one, I was kind of expecting like a party atmosphere on a track, but I was wrong. 'Play On' is a sublime effort and a big tribute to Reggae music which you really need to hear. Check it out and hear for yourself. 

"Roots Rock Reggae" by Isiah Mentor [Doobie Sound]

It has been a surprisingly long half-decade from the last time that we've heard from vocalist Isiah Mentor on an album with "Rasta Government", but he's ending the break and returning with "Roots Rock Reggae". Mentor is one of those artists who I'd like to pay more attention to than I do and, just listen through the clips of the album, he's giving me and everyone else like me an opportunity to do that with what is, potentially, a big album. I have another really good feeling about this one and I may slap a review on it when I get my hands on. Don't wait for me though, pick up Isiah Mentor's "Roots Rock Reggae" right now. 

'Sirens' by Khari Kill [Ted Dun Know Productions]

Briefly, check out the first single from the forthcoming Hollow Body Riddim from Ted Dun Know Productions. 'Sirens' is a big tune from Trini veteran Khari Kill and the riddim carrying it is very nice. The full set features Lutan Fyah, Major Mackerel and Jah Defender, but we'll tell you about that one next time. 

'Winner' by Torch [House of Riddim]

The underrated but full gifted Torch is also active this week alongside the wonderful people at House of Riddim with a big tune in, 'Winner'. The tune is a tribute to the Jamaican bobsled team currently competing in Russia at the Winter Olympics and it's actually pretty good and not just someone attempting to capitalize on the moment. Torch, as I said, is very good, however, so I have big hopes for anything that he does and this is one of his best efforts in recent times in my opinion (LOVE the backing singers on the tune). And biggup House of Riddim. 

'Middle' by Ce'Cile [FWI Music]

And lastly this week: As I've said in the past - anytime you DRAW actual people, you have my attention and particularly when it is people that I like anyway. Check the very FUN 'Middle' by Ce'Cile from FWI Music. The official single release also includes an edited version of the song and, most importantly, a version of the musical intoxicant which is the riddim behind this tune. So biggup Ce'Cile and FWI Music as well as the artiste who did the cover on this one which is both loosely accurate and HILARIOUS!


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