Capital Letters
Sugar Shack Records
CD / LP / Digital Release
March 23, 2015

Track list
  1. Jah Music
  2. Wolf
  3. Roots Music
  4. Opportunity
  5. Wolverhampton
  6. Dat Nah Stop
  7. Thanks And Praise
  8. Try Try Try
  9. Tell Me What's Wrong
  10. Movie Star
  11. Pumping
  12. Jamaica
  13. False Natty
  14. A Place On Earth
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Total votes : 17
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 5
After the reissue of Capital Letters' 1980's album "Reality" in early 2014 by Reggae Archive Records, followed by their truly excellent 12" vinyl EP featuring remixes of the band's classic tunes "Smoking My Ganja" and "House Breaker" and then "Wolf", another worthwhile 12" vinyl EP from one of the oldest British Reggae bands, there's now a new 14-track album out on the streets - featuring 6 brand new tunes as well as 8 tracks (newly mixed) from their digitally released "Planet Earth" album from 2011. Originating from Wolverhampton, a city in the West Midlands, England, it's obvious why the album is titled "Wolverhampton" and has a black & white photo taken in that city on its front sleeve. And also musically Capital Letters, who towards to end of the 1970s were big favorites of the legendary British radio personality John Peel, refer to that city as the album features a track called "Wolverhampton".

For their new album, Capital Letters worked with experienced producer/engineer/musician Noel Browne, who only recently relocated to England where he built his new studio. Noel Browne is a former Studio One Band, Taxi Gang and Maytals keyboard player and is also the man behind New Name Music, the studio he set up in 1987 where he was to achieve success with Luciano, Mikey Spice and Jack Radics amongst many, before building Big Ship Recording Studios in 1995 where he worked with Freddie McGregor, The Wailing Souls, Papa San and numerous others. The band utilised Noel Browne's engineering skills for the recording of the 14 songs, which were then given to Dave 'Oldwah' Sandford for final mixing.

Starting off with a strong tune like "Jah Music" and then the matching "Wolf" - different from the versions included on the earlier released 12" vinyl EP - instantly makes clear that Capital Letters is still capable of making great roots music that will surely appeal to old fans and newcomers. Musically "Roots Music" makes a good impression, but lyrically it doesn't have that much to offer. Phrases like "Come make me rock dis ya music, dis ya Reggae music, dis ya Roots Rock music, sweet Reggae music" and "Feeling Irie", have been used too much to keep you involved. So fast forward to the next track, "Opportunity", which contains a strong message delivered across a riddim that revitalizes the Wailers' "Hypocrites". Also the solid title track "Wolverhampton" is underpinned by a reworking of a classic riddim, in this case the Heptones' Studio One scorcher "Love Me Always", while the riddim from the outstanding "Dat Nah Stop" is known from Carlton & The Shoes' "Love Me Forever". An unusual and also unexpected approach for a band like Capital Letters, but it works well.

Then there are the spiritual "Thanks And Praise", the light-hearted sounding "Try Try Try" and the message tune "Tell Me What's Wrong", all coming on fresh original riddims. In particular "Tell Me What's Wrong" makes a serious impression and is a joy to listen to. With "Movie Star" - not a cover of the classic Delroy Wilson song! - Capital Letters goes into lovers territory, utilizing the riddim of Winsome's "Am I The Same Girl". Guitarist and vocalist Lucas Dailey, who has a past as Lovers Rock artist, shines on this beautiful track. When it comes to the remaining four tracks on this album, it's the excellent "False Natty" and also the album closer "A Place On Earth" that make the best impression.

Capital Letters' "Wolverhampton" is a solid collection throughout and thus worth checking out.