Maximum Sound 2014
July 10, 2014
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3/4|
One producer who always delivers quality tunes and riddims is Frenchie and thus it's always a great moment when his label's next compilation set arrives because you know you're in for an absolute treat. Simply titled "Maximum Sound 2014", this brand new digital released compilation features tunes that were previously released on legal digital platforms and vinyl 7" singles as well as two exclusive tracks that have never been issued before in any format. In all you get a good overview of the production work Frenchie has done in recent times with mostly topnotch artists of today's reggae and dancehall scene.
Things get going with the fantastic sounding "Jah Blessings" riddim for which Frenchie collaborated with the well versatile and influential musician/producer Steven 'Lenky' Marsden, whose extremely successful dancehall riddim "Diwali" took the world by storm in 2002. Here he comes up with a modern roots riddim with a sound that shines bright throughout. Five cuts were voiced and released, of which the efforts of Christopher Martin, Jah Cure and Loyal Flames are featured here and those of Ce'Cile and Exco Levi are left out. Christopher Martin shows that he's equally at home with lovers songs and cultural tunes. And although his album opener, "Jah In It", makes a very good impression, it's Jah Cure's "Save My Soul" that outmatches it as it turns out to be a stellar effort. No disrespect for Loyal Flames' "Go Hard" because it's a solid tune, but with Exco Levi's "Bruk Out A Brukness" this set would have included another outstanding tune on the riddim.
Next riddim comes from the vaults of producer Bunny 'Striker' Lee, who allowed Frenchie to work with the original riddim tracks. From the very first tones riddim spotters will instantly recognize the riddim that underpinned John Holt's classic song "Ali Baba". The vocal cuts by Randy Valentine, Gappy Ranks and Captain Sinbad across Bunny 'Striker' Lee and King Tubby's cut to "Ali Baba" already appeared Frenchie's new label called "King Tubby's Dubplate Style". Just like the riddim tracks of Slim Smith's rocksteady hit "Let Me Go Girl" and Johnny Clarke's "Blood Dunza" and "Creation Rebel", Frenchie has used the "Ali Baba" to good effect. While Captain Sinbad's "When Dance Used To Ram" is all about name dropping, both Randy Valentine and Gappy Ranks deliver 'soundbwoy' tunes with Gappy Ranks' "Early Morning" being the slightly better effort.
Same theme, but on a different riddim, is touched by Tony Curtis on "Number One Sound". A nice tune across the "Tin Mackarel" riddim, which also underpins the real exciting hit song "We No Worry Bout Them" by Konshens & Romain Virgo and the matching "Flash Up Unu Lighta" by Mr Vegas, Natel & Major Mackerel. The "Imperial Crown" riddim, a truly wicked revitalized version Yabby You & The Prophets' "King Pharao's Plague", brings forth the most outstanding juggling part of this compilation set featuring the 'Messenjah' Luciano alongside two representatives of the current roots revival movement, Dre Island and Jesse Royal. These three artists have voiced excellent cuts over a Steppers style riddim that makes a great impression. Personal favourite is Dre Island's "Let Jah Love Shine Down". Wheel and come again!!
A different vibe and mood, but again a wicked backdrop with tunes worth hearing over and over again is last year's "The Mightiest" riddim. Tarrus Riley, who hardly ever dissappoints, excels with the uplifting "Life Story" that might appeal to many a man. Exco Levi has proven to be a giant vocal talent and here he affirms it with "Take A Walk In My Shoes". With the albums "Powers Of Creation", Black Star" and "Higher Meditation", Frenchie proved that he could get the best out of Anthony B and the latter's "Can't Take No More" is further proof of producer and artist being a winning team. The "Number One Station" riddim that rounds off "Maximum Sound 2014" is another riddim that Frenchie dug up in Bunny 'Striker' Lee's extensive riddim catalogue. It actually was featured on the B-side of the 45s that had cuts across "The Mightiest". Cool rocksteady vibes are provided by Randy Valentine, Shanti B and Mr Vegas, whose "Plastic Dolly" is a real killer tune. In the end we also need to mention the previously unreleased "After Life" by Masicka, because this is a great tune from a much promising artist. Pull Up My Selecta!!
The previous Maximum Sound compilations were winners and this big collection of tunes is no exception.