Album review
Once Upon A Version
The Small Axe People
The Small Axe People
01 - 08 - 2003

Tracking list

  1. Vulnerable
  2. Human Rights
  3. Cool Runnings
  4. Idlers Rest
  5. Big And Green
  6. Bamf
  7. Five Corners
  8. Aye Aye
  9. Banana Bop A Top
  10. Xtra Sense
  11. Jah Ital Rock
  12. Bourbon Street Skank
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : - Backing : 3/4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3

In the fall of 2001 we received The Small Axe People's debut cd called "Original Version", the brainchild of Ray Hurford, editor, owner and writer of Small Axe, the reggaezine that has become an institution over the years, first on paper than on the internet. The music that leaped from our speakers was nearly freaky, experimental music and complety different from what we usually inserted in our cd player. Every track more or less had the same stripped down repetitive sound, with the sound of the organ and, of course, the organ riffs making the difference. The whole idea and actually main inspiration came from a tune called "Pop A Top" by Andy Capp. The latter (real name Lynford Anderson) had put so much delay and non-standard sounds on "Pop A Top" that it was truly wild... the concept of the "Version" had been born in reggae. This may not be widely known, but it truly was a significant and also interesting moment in the transition to early reggae. Due to certain circumstances the follow up cd's "Version Wise" and "Jazzbo T At The Controls : Original Version In Dub" couldn't be found in the racks of the record shops because Ray had to turn to homemade copies. The same goes for The Small Axe People's latest 12 track album, "Once Upon A Version". All albums so far have strongly reflected Ray Hurford's riddim obsession. On the follow up to his first Small Axe People release, "Version Wise", his musical efforts developed with more melodic inflections, and here we're treated to a more rhythmic outing. Basically the concept remains the same, but now there are real drum patterns, some wicked bass lines, guitar riffs and nice organ parts. Thus "Once Upon A Version" has become a more accessible album than its predecessors. Even though it seemingly doesn't sound that freaky and experimental anymore, the music still requires intense and careful listening to experience the various moods. Favourite tracks are "Idlers Rest", "Bamf", "Five Corners", "Banana Bop Top" and "Bourbon Street Skank".

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