Essence of Redemption Ina Dif'rent Styley
Reggae Archive Records
CD / Vinyl LP / Digital Release
October 20, 2014

Track list
  1. Ina Dif'rent Styley
  2. Pestilence And Bombing
  3. Nuclear Disaster
  4. Play The Music
  5. Get Up And Go
  6. Essence Of Redemption
  7. Goodbye
  8. Right Time Coming
  9. Me On My Own
  10. Soul Searching
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Essential -Votes: 7-
Very Good -Votes: 0-
Good -Votes: 1-
Average -Votes: 0-
Disappointing -Votes: 0-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 0-

Total votes : 8
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4
Among UK reggae fans Britain's second city Birmingham is, and will always be, associated with bands and artists such as Steel Pulse, UB40, Musical Youth, Pato Banton, and Benjamin Zephaniah. But there were, of course, more bands and artists active in Birmingham's thriving local music scene, all of them trying to gain more than local recognition. One of those bands was Sceptre, a Roots & Culture band formed in 1981 by Jean McLean, her brother Blacka Lenny, her sister Rankin Bev, DrumI and Papa Juicy. In 1984 they recorded and released their debut album called "Essence of Redemption Ina Dif'rent Styley", which - due to being poorly pressed, in very small numbers and with limited distribution - didn't sell well and barely made an impact.

Over the past few years the good people at Bristol Archive Records / Reggae Archive Records have been doing a great job. They documented and reissued Britain's lost, forgotten and unreleased reggae heritage, and thus made it possible for reggae fans to hear - and enjoy - the music of UK reggae acts from the past who had vanished into obscurity. The reissue of Sceptre's "Essence of Redemption Ina Dif'rent Styley" is another notable accomplishment in the record labels' ongoing mission to bring 'hidden treasures' to a wider audience.

The 10-track album gets started with "Ina Dif'rent Styley", a decent opener with Jean McLean and Beverly McLean aka Rankin Bev delivering the lead vocals in a style remiscent of the duo Althea & Donna, the one hit wonder from Jamaica. The next two songs, "Pestilence And Bombing" and "Nuclear Disaster", sees one of the male members taking over lead vocal duties. Musically and vocally these songs carry a different vibe as these efforts have a classic roots sound based on a 1970s Jamaican blue print. "Pestilence And Bombing" is a solid message tune that grows on you after several listens, while "Nuclear Disaster" is a mesmerizing song with a haunting riddim and a lyrical content that is still relevant today. Also the up-tempo "Essence Of Redemption", a more joyful sounding effort than the two aforementioned tunes, and "Right Time Coming" show the rootical side of Sceptre. Furthermore there's "Get Up And Go". which incorporates a strong funk feel into the mix, and "Play The Music", "Me On My Own" and "Goodbye", all three sung by Jean McLean and fine examples of UK Lovers Rock.

Not every track is a winner, but with enough worthwhile efforts included on this album there's no arguing about the fact that it has rightly been saved from oblivion.