Sip A Cup Records
March 3, 2012
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4/5|
Norman (vocals, drums) and Ralston Grant (vocals, rhythm guitar) hail from the north coast of Jamaica in the ghettos of Falmouth, the Parish of Trelawny. The two brothers started singing in the Sunday school choir and concerts at the age of six and eight respectively. At that time they also started to make their own instruments since they could no afford to buy them. They made guitars and drums from various tin cans (garbage can, sardine, milk, etc.) and fishing line. In the early '60s they joined a band in their hometown, Falmouth, called The Cardinals, with whom they played a mixture of calypso, soul, pop, and soft reggae in hotels and nightclubs throughout the island.
By the late '60s the Twinkle Brothers decided to do some recording and went to Kingston to try to get an audition with labels like Coxson, Prince Buster, Beverly's and Treasure Isle, to name a few. They were fortunate enough to get their first recording, a solo by Norman Grant called "Somebody Please Help Me", recorded by Leslie Kong on the Beverley's label. A year later they got their first group single, "Matthew and Mark", recorded by Duke Reid on the Treasure Isle label. In 1970, they entered the Jamaica Festival Song competition and placed third behind Hopeton Lewis and the Jamaicans. During that time, the Twinkle Brothers were on Bunny 'Striker' Lee's Jack Pot label.
From there they moved to bigger and better things, recording for Dynamic Sounds, Federal Records, Sun Shot and Upsetter labels. Besides that they also took time to produce their own recordings and set up their own Twinkle imprint. In 1975 the Twinkle Brothers released their first full length album "Rasta Pon Top" and became one of the heaviest of the self-contained vocal/instrumental groups. Since the release of the acclaimed "Rasta Pon Top", their output has been huge (60+ albums and numerous singles), not equalled by any other Jamaican band. After all those years the Twinkle Brothers, however with a changed line-up, still record (largely in the UK) and regularly perform in Europe and the US, much to the delight of their loyal followers.
Their latest full length cd, aptly titled "Culture Defender", has been produced by erstwhile resident engineer at Fashion Records, Gussie P, for his esteemed Sip A Cup label. As one might expect from Gussie P productions the vocals are underpinned by tough modern roots riddim, supplied by Mafia & Fluxy, Style Scott, Steven Wright, Robbie Valentine, Henry "Buttons" Tenyue aka Matic Horns, Dub Judah, and Gussie P himself. "Culture Defender", actually combining the vinyl releases of "Repent: Sip A Cup Showcase Volume 1" and "Culture Defender: Sip A Cup Showcase Volume 18" with the addition of the previously unreleased "Unhappy People" and its dub, consists of nine vocal tracks and the same number of dub versions/instrumentals. It's commonly known that Gussie P is a master in creating hard-edge dub versions, and this is once again showcased on the dub part of this release. Tracks like for example "The Dub Hurts", "400 Million Dub", and "Villa's In Europe" are great rootical dub workouts, which should be played at maximum volume for a mind-blowing experience.
The first four vocal tracks previously appeared on the 2011 released "Culture Defender" vinyl only 10". The title track "Culture Defender", a wicked steppers tune in which the Twinkle Brothers express that they have always stayed true to their roots, is simply great to hear and so are the solid "Our National Hero", the hard-hitting "Offend Them!", and the excellent "Don't Be Selfish" with Matic Horns' wicked trombone play on top of the riddim. The slow-paced "Unhappy People", with again Twinkle Brothers' trademark soulful vocals and rich harmonies coming to the fore, is a winner (not least due to its lyrical content). Then it's time for the vocal tracks from the "Repent: Sip A Cup Showcase Volume 1", which was issued in 2008. Of course, there's the awesome "Repent", the vocal cut to Leroy Mafia's Sip A Cup 7" single "Repentance", but also the matching "Get Weh Wid It!" aka "Nah Get Wid It". And also the beautiful "Wishful Thinking" and the solid "Bun Dem Constitution" provide nuff listening pleasure.
This Twinkle Brothers' "Culture Defender" cd is UK produced roots music at its very best.