Still Cool
Still Cool
Deeper Knowledge Records
May 17, 2016

Track list
  1. Captive Minds
  2. Insane Love
  3. To Be Poor Is A Crime
  4. The Good Book
  5. Crab In A Barrell
  6. Dreadlocks Stand Up
  7. Angel Of Love
  8. Moving Vision
  9. Cuts Will Heal
  10. Sweeter Music
  11. To Be Poor Is A Crime (JA 7" Single Mix)
  12. My God, My God (To Be Poor. Version) (JA 7" single Mix)
  13. Insane Love (UK 12" Disco Mix)
  14. Stero Style "79" (Insane Love Version) (UK 12" Disco Mix)
  15. To Be Poor Is A Crime (US 12" Disco Mix)
  16. Crab In A Barrel (US 12" Disco Mix)
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Essential -Votes: 6-
Very Good -Votes: 3-
Good -Votes: 0-
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Total votes : 9
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 5
In recent years, Digikiller/Deeper Knowledge Records (DKR) from Brooklyn NY, has established itself as a top-of-the-bill reissue record label that is known for digging really deep into the vaults. So far they have managed to reissue some really great tunes and albums, much to the delight of the avid reggae aficionado as most of these releases were almost impossible to get. This time they have managed to get hold of one of reggae's hidden treasures from the 70s, the unreleased album "Still Cool" from the band of the same name.

The producer of the album, Carl "Stereo" Fletcher, had been planning this LP on his Uprising label since the late 70s. In fact, it was nearly released in Nigeria of all places, but due to a faulty tape machine on a trip to Lagos, it never happened. The group consisted of four members, founder Joseph "Blue" Grant, Stephen Hylton, Frankie Diamond and Colin Campbell. They did some tours with Byron Lee and sporadically recorded tunes. The members were part of the vibrant musical arm of the 12 Tribes of Israel Rastafarian group in the 1970's and regularly performed on 12 Tribes stage shows. They had a unique style of singing, resembling the sweet vocal harmony groups from the rocksteady era, but lyrically deep into roots and culture. Groups like The Mighty Diamonds, The Techniques, The Paragons, Culture and Wailing Souls come to mind when listening to their songs.

In 1981 they released the song "To Be Poor Is A Crime" in Jamaica, an instant classic, lyrically one of the most forceful reggae tunes ever, but the song was censored and ignored (shame!) by the public. Things changed when Jah Shaka arranged a UK release and the song hit the charts with full force! More releases followed, such as "Captive Minds", a true and authentic killer roots anthem. The majestic tune is included in this release in an extended mix. The group faded into obscurity until Freddie McGregor released his rendition of "To Be Poor Is A Crime". Founding member Joseph "Blue" Grant had migrated to Europe where he started a career in Germany. His album "Distance Makes No Barriers" was released in (1996) and "Digital Jockey 8 Studies in Dub" in 2000. He's still active in Europe recording and touring.

The reissue features the 10 original set tracks, 4 of the ten tracks on this album were released as singles back in the days, including one "Sweeter Music" credited only to Still Cool vocalist Frankie Diamond. This tune was recorded in 1975 with the help of The In Crowd Band. The other six tracks have never been released until now. The CD version of this release offers no less than six bonus tracks of alternate and extended mixes, culled from rare 7" and 12" singles, as well as longer/unedited versions of the 10 album tracks. Both the CD and LP layouts include vintage photos from the musicians and producer. The album was recorded at Harry J Recording Studio by engineer Sylvan Morris. Musicians include Bagga Walker, Sowell Bailey, Chinna Smith, Delroy Washington and Pablove Black to name but a few.

The anthemic "To Be Poor Is A Crime" is featured 4 times on the set; the original album cut, as well as the JA single mix with its dub version and the US Disco Mix. Such a great tune! The single "Insane Love" is an aching lovers tune with Pablove Black's organ riffs adding a nice touch. On the UK Disco Mix version the mix is different. The dub rendition is wicked & wild, essential listening! "Crab In A Barrel" refers to the proverb that a man who gets ahead will be pulled back because of jealousy and envy. On the US Disco Mix version of the tune the harmonies are mixed to the back in contrary to the album version. The uptempo "Cuts Will Heal" reminds us of Hugh Mundell, which is a true compliment! Although every tune is a winner, "The Good Book" has to be mentioned as a genuine rootical classic inna Abyssinians style and fashion. BooM! "Dreadlocks Stand Up" is about Dreadlocks steppin' up inna babylon... we totally agree!

The people at DKR have outdone themselves with this release. What a scorcher!