Maximum Sound 2012
November 19, 2012
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
Frenchie's Maximum Sound label has been host to some notable material over the past 20 years and this can be witnessed once again while listening to the digitally released compilation "Maximum Sound 2012", the worthy follow up to the acclaimed "Maximum Sound 2011" sampler. Gathered are almost all the tunes on four different riddims that appeared on limited edition vinyl releases in the past 12 months.
First drops the "Rude Bwoy Be Nice" riddim, a refurnished version of the riddim that Sly & Robbie built for Ini Kamoze's "England Be Nice" that can be found on his "Statement" album from 1984. Actually Frenchie already utilized the riddim for Raggasonic's "Rude Boy" on their 1997 album "Raggasonic 2", but here it re-appears in great style with added horns and different overdubs. Mr. Vegas and Tarrus Riley represent the current top-a-top artists, while Yami Bolo and Captain Sinbad are standard-bearers of the older generation of reggae stars. The four artists deliver worthwhile efforts with especially Mr. Vegas and Yami Bolo, of whom we haven't heard that much in recent times, coming up with excellent tunes. But also Tarrus Riley's "Prophecy Fulfil" makes a serious impression, while Captain Sinbad's "Capital Offence" isn't far behind.
Next is the "Leggo Di Riddim", which sees Frenchie returning to the days of rocksteady, when one of the most expressive vocalists in Jamaican music, Keith 'Slim' Smith delivered an impressive series of records for then emerging producer Bunny "Striker" Lee. One of the tunes Slim Smith recorded in those days was the soulful "Let Me Go Girl" on a riddim laid by Bobby Aitken & The Carib Beats. Frenchie got the original riddim track from Bunny Lee and after having done some overdubs he put it out on the streets again, now with worthwhile new cuts from newcomer Ras Demo and current Jamaican stars like Tarrus Riley, Da'Ville and Ce'Cile. Even the original vocals from Slim Smith can be enjoyed once again when listening to "Girl You Hold Me", the real nice combination tune with bad gyal Ce'Cile. Each tune has its own merit and is truly a joy to hear. The vinyl releases, put out on Maximum Sound's subsidiary label Pull Up My Selecta!, also included Christopher Martin's tune "Roll It Up", which inexplicably has been left out.
Five big-name Jamaican stars have voiced the awesome "Most Royal" riddim, an infectious original roots backdrop created by Frenchie and extraordinary musician/producer Steven "Lenky" Marsden, probably best known for the extremely successful "Diwali" riddim from 2002. Sizzla is in wicked form, giving the kind of vocal and lyrical display only champions can muster on "White Collar Boss". The latter is matched by Assassin aka Agent Sasco's "Survival", a hard-hitting powerful tune that causes pure excitement. Tarrus Riley is consistent as ever on "Chant Rastafari" and also Ce'Cile and Christopher Martin please the listener with strong efforts.
Last but not least there's the tough "Dance Ruler" riddim, released on 10inch vinyl with cuts from the Messenjah Luciano, Robert Lee, one of the in-demand singers at Jammys in the 1980s, and sax virtuoso Dean Fraser. Luciano makes a very good impression with the scorching "Perilous Time", a tune that surprisingly incorporates deejay parts by Pupa Luci himself. With "Selassie I Sound" Robert Lee also delivers a convincing piece on the riddim, truly worth hearing. Dean Fraser, who has blown on countless tunes, excels on "Perilous Sax", a wonderful instrumental that rounds off this collection in great style.
Due to the class and calibre of Frenchie's production work, you can't go wrong with "Maximum Sound 2012". So ignore at your peril!