Cool Runnings
Cool Runnings
Bristol Archive Records
April 15, 2012

Track list
  1. We Must Go Home
  2. Playhouse
  3. Children Of Zion
  4. Give Me Some Interest
  5. Robin Hoods Of The Ghetto
  6. Lawman (Live)
  7. You Can't Pay Me (Live)
  8. Is This For Real?
  9. Permanent Diet
  10. There You Go
  11. Sunshine - Weep Willow Weep
  12. Last Train
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 3/4 Sleeve : 3/4
With the release of the self titled 12-track cd from Cool Runnings, Bristol Archive Records continue to put out another missing piece of Bristol's musical heritage. A praiseworthy initiative that already gave us seemingly lost worthwhile reggae works from the past featured on three compilation sets in "The Bristol Reggae Explosion" series, Revelation Rockers' LP "Jah Praises", Black Roots' "The Reggae Singles Anthology", and Talisman's "Takin' The Strain". And there's more to come in the near future. But for now it's the Cool Runnings cd that needs some real attention.

With a career that spanned twelve years including the entire 1980s, Cool Runnings were one of Bristol's longest lasting bands, yet their failure to gig beyond the West Country or release anything more than their lone 12" single means that they are also one of the City's best kept musical secrets. Originally formed in Weston-Super-Mare by keyboardist Mark Tuck and guitarist George Condover, they immediately relocated to Bristol and recruited various local musicians including an experienced and talented singer named Winston Minott, who had spent many years touring all over Europe with soul band The Invaders.

The music of Cool Runnings can be best described as a mellow reggae sound, which actually suits Winston's soulful voice very well. Mostly this kinda reggae music is associated with UK Lovers Rock, and thus it ain't surprising that this collection contains tunes that deal with matters of the heart with the most notable efforts being the excellent "Playhouse" (an alternative version can be found on "The Bristol Reggae Explosion Vol. 3 ~ The 80s Part 2"), the solid "Give Me Some Interest" and the beautiful "Sunshine - Weep Willow Weep". But that doesn't imply they were not able to come up with good roots tunes. Just listen to the great album opener "We Must Go Home", the matching "Children Of Zion", the live recording of "You Can't Pay Me", and the previously released "Robin Hoods Of The Ghetto", and you'll hear that they were also capable of writing worthy roots pieces.

The tracks gathered here were recorded between 1983 and 1985 at various local studios, and also include a couple of live recordings. Even though the tunes included on this album date from about 30 years ago, it's a joy to listen to the band's works.