April 24, 2011
|Artist & tune|
|Overall rating : (1 to 5 stars)|
It must have been the first Saturday of August 2009, at the annual Reggae Geel festival, that Belgian soundsystem pioneer Peter Piessens aka Crucial P told us about his Majestic project and that he was going to send us the singles when everything was arranged. And now, some 20 months after that conversation, we're holding a beautifully designed special package boxset (limited edition of 1000 copies worldwide) in our hands containing five double A-sided 7" vinyl singles cut on 33 rpm, extensive liner notes, buttons, stickers and a coupon with big discount on T-shirts from the Majestic Studio online shop.
Veteran deejay Lone Ranger and much promising up-and-coming vocalist Eljai (originally hailing from Belize and formerly known as Junior Rankin') who scored his first #1 hit in Jamaica with the 2010 released "The Leaders", are paired on the first single you'll pull out of the box. Lone Ranger, the man whose career has spanned over 35 years by now and scored hits like "Love Bump", "Badda Than Dem", "M16", and "Barnabas Collins" to name only four, is still able to deliver a solid tune as is showcased with "One Drop Come Back". The latter was the result of his teaming up with Swiss band The Scrucialists and appeared on the overlooked compilation set "All The Way" from 2005. Now the tune, which strongly expresses the device of this Majestic release, deservedly gets a second life on vinyl. Eljai once again shows that he's a major talent with one of the standouts of this box. He delivers his roots piece "I Know" -- just like the Lone Ranger tune previously unreleased on 7 vinyl -- in a passionate and heartfelt way over a relicked version of Bob Marley's "Sun Is Shining" riddim.
The second single features the talents of Restless Mashaits from Switzerland, who run the acclaimed Addis label, and the unknown young Jamaican artist Junior Culture from the mountains of St. Mary, Jamaica. The Restless Mashaits, consisting of Jill and Stuff Addis, released the noteworthy dub album "King Of Kingston Sessions 1992-2002", which featured their wicked version of Ras Michael's "None A Dem Jah Children" called "Selassie I Steps". It's great that it has been dug up again to be part of this Reggae Box. Junior Culture, whose style at times reminds us of Anthony B, makes a decent impression with "Falling", an original reality tune across a fresh sounding modern roots riddim.
Trevor Junior, who has been part of Sugar Minott's Black Roots stable and Youth Promotion, is an underrated and under-recorded roots singer. Listening to the outstanding, previously unreleased "Steppin Out A Babylon", coming from one of his sessions with the Black Roots Players, one can only regret that his full length album for the Youth Promotion label could never be released as a bag with the mastertapes got lost at an airport somewhere. So we'll have to stick to his "Showcase" album with Little John, and his -- not that many -- 7" singles. The flipside contains the matching "Gun Thing" from Bushman in combination with the upcoming deejays CP Ink and Ras Goudie. It's a worthwhile reality song across a wicked steppers riddim, which has been produced by Gary Exodus (known from his Exodus Nuclear sound system).
The sufferers piece "They Don't Care About Us" by I-Wayne feat. Mark Wonder & Fire Star is the first of three songs that comes courtesy of Anthony Senior from Al.Ta.Fa.An Records. Despite the fact that it was previously released (also on Mark Wonder's "True Friends" cd), it's good to have such a wonderful tune included here. A completey different vibe, but nevertheless worth hearing, carries Sammy Levi's smashing "Trouble Again" from 1988. This solid classic digi roots tune, which brings to mind similar tunes from artists like e.g. King Kong, Scion Sasha Success and Robert Ffrench, was produced by former King Tubby engineer Phillip Smart.
The final single coming out of this box includes two Anthony Senior produced tunes. It's great to hear the Mighty Diamonds, one of the longest running harmony groups in reggae history, delivering "Mr. Payaka Man" across the mighty "Immigration" riddim. This song hasn't been released in any format before and as the Mighty Diamonds are known for mainly putting out quality releases it's obvious that "Mr. Payaka Man" can be reckoned amongst the best tunes included in this box. Remains one more piece, Everton Blender & Mark Wonder's "Ray Of Hope", which happens to be a solid, uplifting message tune on a real nice sounding riddim.
The "Reggae Box" can be ordered here.