Youthman ~ The Lost Album
Errol Bellot
Reggae Archive Records
CD / Digital Release
August 23, 2013

Track list
  1. The Wicked Them (Discomix)
  2. Rootsman (Discomix)
  3. Reason And Chat
  4. Reason And Chat (Dub)
  5. Youthman
  6. Youthman (Dub)
  7. Jah Guide Over Me
  8. Jah Guide Over Me (Dub)
  9. Rockers (Discomix)
  10. Ina Dis
  11. Water Pumpee
  12. Trouble Shovel
  13. Do What You Have To Do
  14. Do What You Have To Do (Dub)
  15. Hear Me Now Suup
  16. Hear Me Now Suup (Dub)
  17. Ina Dance (Discomix)
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Total votes : 6
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 5
With releases of previously unissued and obscure material from UK artists and bands such as Joshua Moses, Bunny Marrett, Dan Ratchet, Vibes, Cool Runnings, and Talisman to name only six, Mike Darby of Bristol Archive Records and its sister label Reggae Archive Records has proven to be a real gold digger. With the release of Errol Bellot's "Youthman ~ The Lost Album" (subtitled "Errol Bellot Meets Jah Bunny & Ras Elroy Ina 80's Style") the label head of Reggae Archive Records presents another lump of native gold to the Reggae massive.

Errol Bellot debuted on record with the 1981 released UK roots anthem "Babylon" for S&G Records, which at the time was one of the main recording studios for established artists like Carol Thompson, Sugar Minott and Winston Reedy. Whilst being with S&G Records, Errol Bellot recorded tunes like "Gimme", "It's Alright Girl" and "Papa Honey", with Sugar Minott doing a cameo as a deejay. After leaving S&G records, Errol Bellot went on to record for a London based roots sound called Jah Tubbys, followed by a stint with a sound from the North of London called Unity Sound in the middle of the 1980s. It was during that period of time (1983-85) that Errol Bellot recorded an entire album in collaboration with the legendary Jah Bunny and Ras Elroy. For whatever reason the session tapes remained on the shelves and Errol Bellot's debut album never saw the light of day. And thus it lasted more than thirty years before his first full length album was released ("Know Jah", Reality Shock Records 2012).

While Mike Darby hoped to work with Errol Bellot in order to compile a best of package for Reggae Archive Records, he heard about this unreleased album and changed plans. After he was given full access to the session tapes, a mixture of 16 vocals, dubs and extended disco mixes where selected, to which Errol Bellot's first self-production, the expensive and very sought after "The Wicked Them" was added. This killer roots tune, which is sequenced together with its previously unreleased dub version discovered on the original master tape, get things started in a great way. The vocal and dub were expertly edited together by Rootikal's David Hill, thus creating a 'discomix' worthwhile hearing. Also the other three discomixes included on this album were created in the same way. Needless to say that this is a special treat for every older roots fan with fond memories of these kinda 12" vinyl releases in the first half of the 1980s.

"Rootsman", together with "The Wicked Them" the only other track of this album that was previously released (in 2006 with its seperate dub version on the Must Dance Roots Selection label), is a well wicked roots piece that matches the album opener. Lyrically "Rockers" and "Ina Dance" are not as strong as the previous two discomixes, but nevertheless these tunes carry a real nice vibe throughout and are worth spinning more than once. Other tracks truly worth hearing include the excellent title track "Youthman" with its killer bassline played by Black Slate's Ras Elroy, the solid "Jah Guide Over Me" and "Trouble Shovel". Especially the latter and also a song like "Water Pumpee" are fine examples of the kinda tunes that ruled the dance halls in those days. Even if you aren't a dubhead it's worthwhile listening to the dub counterparts as these fully showcase Jah Bunny's mastery.

The package is completed by full sleeve notes telling the story of Errol Bellot and Jah Bunny and how they came to collaborate, in their own words, as well as a selection of rare archive photographs. All in all a great release and indeed an essential slice of British reggae history.