Never Played A 45
CD / LP / Digital Release
December 5, 2015
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 4/5||Sleeve : 4|
When the name Peckings appears in the production credits of an album, the reggae fan knows he will be treated to a wonderful trip down memory lane. Chris and Duke Peckings are known for producing albums and compilations that feature artists who deliver their lyrics over original riddims from the '60s and '70s coming from the vaults of Studio One, Treasure Isle and Bunny "Striker" Lee. It actually was Bitty McLean's 2004 successful comeback album "Peckings Presents Bitty McLean On Bond Street Kgn. JA" (featuring riddims Tommy McCook & The Supersonics recorded for Duke Reid at his Treasure Isle studio) that got the ball rolling. That album was followed by Bitty McLean's second album called "Made In Jamaica", and furthermore the compilation series "Peckings Presents Old Skool Young Blood (Volumes 1, 2 & 3)", Lady Lex's "Is This Love" and Gappy Ranks' "Put The Stereo On".
One of the artists who also worked with the Peckings brothers in recent times is Wolverhampton-born Christopher MacFarlane better known as Macka B. 2012 saw the release of the 7" single "Never Played A 45" on the Peckings imprint, followed by a 10" vinyl EP that featured his song "My God" along with efforts by Nereus Joseph, Gappy Ranks, Prince Malachi, Mikey Spice and Ranking Joe. These previously released tunes belong to the standout tracks of Macka B's superb "Never Played A 45" album for Peckings, actually his 19th album since he debuted with the 1986 released "Sign Of The Times" on Mad Professor's Ariwa label.
The original rocksteady and old-skool roots riddims, hand-picked by the Peckings Brothers and Macka B, are simply great as they perfectly fit Macka B's distinctive style & fashion. Some of these riddims such as Tommy McCook's "Death Trap", Johnny Clarke's "Every Knee Shall Bow", The Sensations' "Those Guys" and Bob & Marcia's "Really Together" are well-known, while others are more obscure and probably only known by experienced riddim spotters. One of those riddims, is Jackie Mittoo's awesome Studio One instrumental "Wall Street", which underpins Macka B's tribute to Haile Selassie I, the huge roots anthem and album opener "Hail H.I.M". Also "Big Thief" across the "Death Trap" riddim, a message tune about the African continent with thought-provoking lyrics, is a roots piece that makes a serious impression and deserves to go on replay.
With the solid "Soundman" and more or less also the wicked title track "Never Played A 45", Macka B takes us back to the late '70s and early '80s when he was the micman for several sound systems including Wassifa from Birmingham and Skippy & Lippy. The cautionary "Too Much Chicken" and "Medical Marijuana Card" have witty lyrics and are the kinda songs Macka B is known and loved for. Also "Rasta Tell Dem" is a typical Macka B song, touching a theme that has always played an inportant part in his enduring career. With "Fire", a song over a percussion dominated riddim that reminds of "Drum Song", he goes very deep. Back to the African continent with a musically and lyrically great track called "African" in which he claims his African heritage. Big roots tune!! With "Complaining", a tune that grows on you, we've heard two-thirds of the album and we don't want it to stop here. But luckily there are five more tunes to go and that's a real treat as all of them maintain the quality standard set by the previous tracks. In particular worth hearing are "One Life", due to modern technology done in collaboration with the late Phyllis Dillon, "Iternal Love" and the album closer "Their God".
Without any doubt one of Macka B's best albums.