Ire Hi-Fi Presents Play De Music (Original Recordings 1996 - 2006)
Planet Dread - Indigo
June 22, 2007

Track list
  1. Interior Of Africa - Karl Emanuel
  2. Give Them A Chance - Leroy Gibbon
  3. You And I - Landbo Banken
  4. So They Say - Gideon Zinger
  5. Can't Keep A Good Man Down - U-Brown
  6. Great Stone - Trinity & Natty King
  7. Live My Life - Mike Brooks
  8. Play De Music - Lone Ranger
  9. Calling World Leaders - Luciano
  10. Jah Is Real - Grace Nelson
  11. Send Us Your Blessing - Sugar Minott
  12. The Power (Extended Mix) - Tony Tuff
  13. We're Gonna Make It - Jimmy Riley
  14. Clean & Pure - Lutan Fyah
  15. Spanish Town Rock - Ajani
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4/5
Ire Hi-Fi was founded in 1989 in Hamburg, thus being on of the true foundation sounds of Germany, by Mattias 'Pensi' Penselin, who from the mid-90s on also produced some very impressive tunes in great mid-70s to mid-80s roots style, often together with Uptone's Andreas Brikalin, who's also part of the inner circle of Silly Walks Production`s musicians, and who contributed some excellent riddims and productions to Nosliw's "Mittendrin" and the Roots Rockers' <../rev_sin/rrtanzen.htm">"Tanzen & Schrei'n", with these two (Pensi & Andreas Brikalin) sharing composing credits and playing on the live riddims as members of 108 Crew and Uptones besides acting as recording engineers. And now - courtesy of Carlo, the sympathetic owner and 'walking reggae-encyclopedia' of Münster's Irie Records, the both extremely reliable reggae/ska/dancehall mail-order shop and 'old fashioned' record shop capable of delivering rare records and the latest releases as they hit the market, just 30 odd minutes driving from the Dutch border (Enschede) in Germany - Mattias 'Pensi' Penselin a.k.a. Ire Hi-Fi has collected some of the great recordings made between 1996 and 2006 for his label and soundsystem, released as "Play De Music (Original Recordings 1996 - 2006)" on Planet Dread Records.

Karl Emanuel (Musoke), born in 1962 in Germany but raised in Uganda, from where he returned age 17 to Germany sang (lead) in bands like Hamburg's Dub Division, Di Iries and the Natty Rebels, delivers his smashing both beautiful and dreadful memories of the "Interior Of Africa" with his great (high pitched) voice singing, talking but also deejaying in a deep gruff voice over a heavy roots riddim that could have been recorded by 'Junjo' Lawes in 1980, followed by Jamaican veteran dancehall singer Leroy Gibbon(s), who sings the great "Give Them A Chance" encouraging everyone to remember the children of the world being the people of tomorrow over a great melodica-featuring mid-70s style riddim and Mattias 'Pensi' Penselin under the moniker of Landbo Banken shows his singing (as he proved live and on vinyl in the past working with Dub Me Ruff, Alpha & Omega and Di Iries Band) is as nice as his recording, mixing and production work in the sweet lovers rock of "You And I" over the '714 Flight'-riddim.

UK singer Errol Bellot a.k.a. 'The Singer' and Giddeon Zinger has been in the business for more than 20 years recording several great serious conscious tunes, especially for Jah Tubby's to whose original crew he belongs, impresses here with his very well sung thoughts about money in "So They Say", before veteran DJ U-Brown delivers great conscious classic old school deejaying in "Can't Keep A Good Man Down" over the same riddim and another DJ-legend (and in his - real name - Wade 'Junior' Brammer disguise singer & producer) Trinity delivering the old school DJ vibes teaming up with Natty King, whose debut album he produced, for the magnificent combination "Great Stone". Mike Brooks, the Jamaican born but since the early 80s UK based singer and producer contributes the upful and soulful if i could "Live My Life" all over again, i wouldn't change it for no-one with Studio One veteran Lone Ranger deejaying this album's title track "Play De Music" over the same riddim. Luciano drops one of his pet-themes, addressing those governing us in "Calling World Leaders" in this very special tune, as Luciano is performing the deejay vocals himself as well.

Female Rasta singer Grace Nelson made her recording debut in 1989 and was associated with several soundsystems and studios in Kingston, JA such as e.g. Caveman and she recorded this wonderful UK-roots style conscious message "Jah Is Real" over the Uptones' excellent version of Lee Perry's classic 1973 (Gatherers') 'Words (Of My Mouth)'-riddim in 1997 in Hamburg, one year for she was brutally murdered at the age of only 39 leaving behind three children. Legendary Studio One graduate and singer and producer for his own Black Roots and Youth Promotion labels Lincoln 'Sugar' Minott delivers the stunning gospel, soul, Black Ark/Wackies influenced prayer "Send Us Your Blessing" - that was originally released on Hamburg's Love Tank - which is livicated to Grace Nelson in loving memory. Then Tony Tuff, the reggae and dancehall veteran singer who was born Winston Morris in 1955 in Kingston, Jamaica and who started his career singing as a founder member in the vocal group the African Brothers alongside Sugar Minott and Derrick 'Bubbles' Howard and of whom "Presenting Tony Tuff" - one of his first solo albums - was produced by Sugar Minott in 1980, has continued recording throughout the 80s and 90s for a who's who of reggae producers including several killer roots sides and in recent years released two full length albums, the Jah Shaka produced "How Long", and the by Andreas 'Brotherman' Christophersen for his Minor7Flat5-label produced excellent "Say Something", follows his former fellow African Brothers member in prayer, asking for "The Power" over a strong riddim that seems inspired by the Tamlins' Sly & Robbie produced 'Baltimore'.

Former Techniques, Uniques and Sensations member Jimmy Riley delivers - with his immediately recognizable truly unique voice - the magnificent heartfelt soulful, almost bluesy "We're Gonna Make It" over a slow-paced dubby riddim perfectly highlighting his vocal performance, and this riddim works as great backing Lutan Fyah's strong "Clean And Pure". And so does it on the last tune on this album, on which Shashamani's Kirk 'Ajani' McDowell - who started his career at age 16 playing keyboards in Congo Ashanti Roy's Jahpower Band, before touring international for the first time one year later in 1993 with Ijahman Levi, before migrating to Germany in 2000, where he founded the Shashamani Band (especially well known for backing Patrice) with drummer Granville Thomas - pays tribute to the late and great Jackie Mittoo with "Spanish Town Rock" to close an album collecting some of the most impressive retro roots productions Ire Hi-Fi's Mattias 'Pensi' Penselin recorded between 1996 and 2006. A must for old school roots aficionados.