Nagona Music Records / Irie Records GmbH
African Soldiers
Limited Edition 10" heavy vinyl-pressing
January 15, 2010

Artist & tune

  • Rod Taylor - African Soldiers
  • Buta & Astrolab - Soldiers Dub
  • Rod Taylor - It's Alright With Me (Showcase Mix)
Overall rating : (1 to 5 stars)   
Born in Trenchtown, Kinston 12, Jamaica, on March 2nd 1957, Rod Taylor was known as Rocky T (also 'Rock-stone') as a child after his mother had given birth to him on the kerbside. >From the age of twelve, he was singing on that same street corner and entering local talent competitions. After auditioning for the likes of Coxsone Dodd and Joe Gibbs, he then sang in a band called the Aliens with Barry Brown before recording his debut songs "Bad Man Comes And Goes" and "Every Little Thing" for producer Ossie Hibbert. Encouraged by Sugar Minott and Tony Tuff of the African Brothers, he soon gained popularity on the Kingston dancehall circuit, with such renowned soundsystems as Kenyatta, Tippatone, Socialist Roots, Gemini, Kilimanjaro, Sturgav, Youthman Promotion and Stereophonic (where he shared a mic with the late General Echo) all welcoming him to their control towers.

A clutch of classic tunes for the Freedom Sounds label circa 1978 – including "Ethiopians Kings", "In The Right Way" and "Don't Give It Up" – then brought him to wider prominence and paved the the way for further studio recordings produced by the late Prince Far I, Prince Hammer, Don Mais, Manzie's and Mikey Dread, for whom he voiced the unforgettable scorcher "His Imperial Majesty". He then recorded an album for Sugar Minott's Youth promotion label, but that remains unreleased to this day. Therefore the Prince Hammer produced "If Jah Should Come Now" set, which appeared on the Little Luke label in 1980, became Rod Taylor's official debut set. That same year Greensleeves issued his next album called "Where Is Your Love Mankind", which boasted production work from the late Henry 'Junjo' Lawes at Channel One, mixed by Scientist at King Tubby's.

Except for a brace of albums recorded in London for Robert Tribulation's, Jah Warrior and Donville Davis during the mid 90s, little has been heard of this reclusive singer for nearly two decades. And then last year Nagano Music suddenly released the excellent set "Hold On Strong" for which he teamed up with Mafia & Fluxy, Sly & Robbie and Buta & Astrolab from Fribourg, Switzerland. And now Münster, Germany based reggae, dancehall and every other kind of Jamaican music shop providing worldwide mailorder Irie Records is the force behind and sole distributor of this to 300 copies limited 10" dubplate-style vinyl-release, containing three of the strongest tunes from the album (and its bonus tracks).

This is a heavyweight 10" in superb pressing (and thus sound) quality, containing the superb opening track of the album "African Soldiers" and its magnificent "Soldiers Dub" version by Buta & Astrolab that highlights both the riddim itself as well as the strength of the composition, mixing and production (and in this case of the pressing too). The dub had luckily been included as a bonus track on the CD as well. On the B-side of this wonderful 10" the conscious vocal and (showcase style included) also very entertaining dub of "It's Alright With Me (Showcase Mix)" are included. Extremely solid roots material from an artist who was a consistently popular youthman singer in the late 70s/early 80 in DJ-friendly 10" vinyl format, a must buy for all vinyl-enthusiasts from Rod Taylor for Nagano Music & Irie Records.