Rock A Shacka / Drum&Bass Records
12" single
April 24, 2011

Artist & tune

  • Carlton Manning - Crazy Moment / Patrick Davis - Hail H.I.M. / Ruv Bytes - Dubbing Moment
Overall rating : (1 to 5 stars)   
Japan based Rock A Shacka / Drum & Bass Records continues to put out noteworthy material for vinyl addicts. After recent releases such as the reissue of General Plough's single "One More River" and a killer 12inch featuring a modern roots reworking of Sangie Davis' superb Rasta anthem "Words Of My Mouth", the release of Carlton Manning's brand new tune "Crazy Moment" on 12inch is another pleasant surprise. Though Carlton Manning isn't exactly a household name in reggae music, his contribution to the genre is incalculable both as a vocalist and the de facto godfather of The Abyssinians. Amongst older reggae fans he's probably best known for his work with the rocksteady harmony group The Shoes (consisting of his younger brothers Donald & Linford and Alexander Henry).

Carlton Manning began approaching various producers in the mid-60s for auditions, including Duke Reid of Treasure Isle and Sonia Pottinger of Gay Feet, recording his first song for the latter in 1966. Originally the group was named Carlton & his Shades, but a printer's mistake on their debut release led to the "Shoes" name sticking. The first single Carlton & his Shoes recorded at Studio One was "You And Me" with "This Feeling" on the flipside, but it was his fourth effort for Coxsone Dodd that would cause the breakthrough. The group's signature tune, "Love Me Forever," released on Coxsone Dodd's Supreme (Studio One) imprint in early 1968, became a massive rocksteady hit and has been re-released and covered many times since. The single's b-side, "Happy Land", formed the basis for The Abyssinians' "Satta Massagana" roots classic, one of the most covered songs in the history of reggae. When Donald and Lynford formed The Abyssinians, Carlton remained at Studio One, continuing to make records, and working as a session guitarist for 18 months in 1970 and 1971. Apart from producing his own material, he also recorded for Lee "Scratch" Perry, Dennis Brown, and the UK Fashion label.

Both Carlton Manning's "Crazy Moment" and Patrick Davis' "Hail H.I.M." are underpinned by a slow-paced, meditative riddim with a real heavy bassline, which has been built by producer Takuto Kuratani aka Ruv Bytes from Osaka, Japan. The riddim gives the songs an indefinable mysterious feel, most strikingly experienced while listening to Carlton Manning's lovers piece, not least due to the man's exquisite tender vocal delivery, its echo-laden parts and nice jazzy mood. Patrick Davis, a dub poet in the tradition of people like Mutabaruka, Oku Onuora, and Linton Kwesi Johnson, also delivers a convincing effort. The deeply spiritual "Hail H.I.M." fully benefits from the riddim track. And then, as the icing on the cake, there's Ruv Bytes' "Dubbing Moment", which showcases the beauty of the exceptional riddim to the fullest.

All in all this is another quality release outta the Far East!