"Kings Bell" by Midnite [I Grade Records - 2011]
'Mongst I & I'
First this month is an album which I haven't been listening to, fully, very much recently, but definitely have been in parts and am, seemingly, well on course to ignite the entire set again shortly. Looking back, the Bassie Campbell produced "Kings Bell" for I Grade Records, from just a couple of years ago, can probably already be looked upon as a landmark release for Midnite albums which is unsurprising considering its source. I talk often about how, despite the fact that 'they' are so popular, Midnite's overwhelming activity basically means that something is going to slip through the proverbial cracks… this album wasn't one of those times. It was and remains one of their most well known releases to date and it's recently popped back onto my radars by virtue of its wholly intoxicating first single, 'Mongst I & I' (which had a nice video) (biggup Bredz). Of course the album had a whole heap of other nice tunes as well such as its title track, 'Try That Way', 'System Peak Out', 'Peak Tension Time' and one of the greatest songs I've ever heard, 'Black Mamba'. It would make for an excellent "Rewind!" one of these days.
CD + Digital
"Total Reggae" [VP Records - 2013]
Checking in at a ridiculous ONE-HUNDRED AND SIXTY tracks in length, boasting the deepest vault in all of Reggae music, VP Records recently cracked it open and delivered "Total Reggae". Broken into four different records (each being a double disc set with twenty songs on each disc), "Roots", "Chart Hits Reggae Style", "Dancehall" and "Ragga", this piece is all encompassing and fairly useful particularly for newer fans. I just like to see things like this done. When VP purchased Greensleeves a few years back, you kind of worried that what would become of Greensleeves is pretty much exactly what ended up happening -- they don't really do anything -- but you can still make usage of what they had (which, if I recall correctly, was even more than VP did when they were active and still may be actually) and this is a pretty good idea in my opinion.
CD + Digital
"Keep Your Joy" by Jah Mason [Ghetto Technology - 2002]
I ended up going mad on this album, "Keep Your Joy", the debut set from veteran Jah Mason after listening to Lutan Fyah's new album ("Never Surrender My Faith", in stores now) and then going from it, obviously, to the Mason's "Most Royal" (which shared a label of origin in Jah Warrior) and the from that album (which was wicked) to "Keep Your Joy". I probably don't listen to this one nearly as much as I would like to, but I guess I'm trying to change that these days because I've dealing with it greatly. You probably can't find it much these days and it never did actually arrive on digital (and I'm not expecting it to) . The main attraction to this one has always been and will always be the title track which, at least for me, ranks as one of the finest songs that Jah Mason has ever given us and there were more excellent selections as well, but I find and LOVE all kinds of nostalgic moments here which, at the moment, I'm having a difficult time putting away.
The Lifestyle Riddim [Terroflex Productions - 2013]
Sizzla, Lutan Fyah, Turbulence, Lutan Fyah, Ras Penco, Miriam Simone, Hyah Slyce and Bittah Sosicka link up with Terroflex Productions to add colour and texture to what is already a colourful and SENSATIONAL offering, the Lifestyle Riddim. This track is LOUD and it does many things, but I found a certain type of consistency in it which is all kinds of captivating. Kalonji and especially Lutan Fyah and Hyah Slyce really take the lead on this one, but I'm well enjoying almost everything on the Lifestyle. Check it out today
The Brixton Bounce Riddim [JRK Productions - 2013]
I had actually never even heard a single tune on this track besides 'The Baddest' which found a particularly venomous Mad Cobra in about as fine of a form as he's been in what has been an amazing year for the veteran DJ, so I was happy to see JRK really do the Brixton Bounce Riddim fully and I was even happier when I saw some of the directions they chose to go in. Joining the snake are not only the more expected likes of Ele and Konshens, but also the lesser expected, but no less welcomed General Degree and Mega Banton - more from Cobra's era. I was also happy to hear how the riddim was used with less of an edge in spots, highlighting its more traditional Dancehall side. Of course the Cobra still reigns supreme, but everyone does well, including a particularly clever Elephant Man and a FOCUSED Mega Banton.
The Oil Stain Riddim [Stadic Studio Productions & Wetty Beatz Productions - 2013]
And finally, St. Vincent and Grenada link up on the MAMMOTH Oil Stain Riddim from Stadic Studio and Wetty Beatz. Two really good tunes here come from 'the hurricane', Skinny Fabulous and Problem Child in 'The General' and 'Riot', respectively, but taking top honours is the fiery and always unpredictable Lavaman, with my favourite song from anyone at the moment, the unapologetic 'Wrenk' - a tune buttressed by Lavaman's shameless, yet POWERFUL declaration that:
"MY BEHAVIOUR STINK!"