Rise Up! The Riz Records Story
Reggae Archive Records
CD / Digital Release
Aril 15, 2014

Track list
  1. Johnny Osbourne - Rise Up (Discomix)
  2. Admiral Tibet - Permission
  3. Riz All Stars - The Garden
  4. Orville Smith - Fight Fight (Discomix)
  5. Indica All Stars - Open Our Eyes (Phoebes Cut)
  6. Danny Red - Dance Get Overload (Discomix)
  7. Bob Skeng - Ecucation (Discomix)
  8. Earl 16 - Natural Roots
  9. Orville Smith - Financial Circumstances (Discomix)
  10. Willie Williams - Saints (Discomix)
  11. Orville Smith - Builder's Temple
  12. Manasseh Meets The Equaliser - Absentee Dub
  13. Earl 16 - Always On The Run
  14. Mikey Mystic - South Africa
  15. Manasseh Meets The Equalizer - Souljah
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Total votes : 14
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
Reggae Musik is like archaeology. Dig deep and you find treasure. That's exactly what Reggae Archive Records is doing. Mike Darby, Martin Langford, David Hill and crew have compiled some supreme selections from the Riz Records label; whose output from 1990-97 was prolific and sounds as urgent today as when first released...

Riz Records was a label based in London and operated by Gil Cang and Nick Manasseh, both veterans of the scene in every aspect. Gil started as a Jah Shaka enthusiast and played with the US based Rebel Souls, who backed the likes of Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Burning Spear and even cut a track for Sir Coxsone Dodd. He developed deep links with many artists. Nick started with similar parallels; working with prominent Sound Systems, hosting a long running radio show with Jeremy Equalizer and releasing the groundbreaking Sound Iration set. The duo joined forces in 1990 with deep passion, knowledge and production know how. These tracks were performed and produced by Gil, Nick and Jeremy Equalizer at Manasseh Studio. Certain tracks are niced up by the horn sections of Jerry Johnson/Kevin Batchelor and Robin Hobcroft/Jake Telford (all legendary hornsmen!)

This compilation opens with Johnny Osbourne's "Rise Up". A great Rootical discomix that shows Johnny at his best; completed by great guitar and drums. Admiral Tibet shows up hard on "Permission". Biting lyrics like "who gave you the permission to kill an innocent one" make this totally urgent and the riddim is a pure driver. In this era, there weren't many UK producers voicing JA artists, so the word was getting out! "Garden" by The Riz All Stars is a killer cut with the tight horn section of Hobcroft and Telford. Rootical excursion indeed. Orville Smith's "Fight Fight" is awesome. A song of defiance with slight Mad Professor style treatment and Aswadesque horns. Sound System special. "Open Our Eyes" by Indica All Stars is a good example of what Jah Warrior and Concious Sounds was putting out in the 90's. Longtime veteran Danny Red delivers in fine style on "Dance Get Overload". A great discomix with horn blasts from the legendary Jerry Johnson/Kevin Batchelor; who Gil had linked with in the 1980's. Bob Skeng is a deeply talented singer and he shines on "Education". Over a snapping riddim, he soars mightily about the youthmans plight. Nick and Skeng still work together but this singer needs to be recorded more!

Legendary Rootsman Earl 16 delivers "Natural Roots" (released on Sonic Sounds in a different mix). Mr. Daley soulfully tells us about Ital existence in Royal fashion. Never heard a less than stellar work from him! Orville Smith returns with "Financial Circumstance". Over a stark riddim, he cleverly depicts the plight of meaningless wages in fine style. The discomix shows the genius that Nick and Gil are known for. THE standout selection is Willie Williams' "Saints". Nick linked with him at a Willie/Yami Bolo/Jah Shaka bill and that's how things happened before the luxury of email that we have today. Willie is in his classic meditative manner that is so spiritual! The ethereal riddim fits just nice. FANTASTIC SOUND! Orville comes back again with the dynamic "Builder's Temple". A thought provoking cut that is flawless. "Absentee Dub" by Manasseh Meets The Equalizer was the opening track from the album of the same name. An instant classic that sold thousands of copies, it mashed up dances all over Creation and is great that it's included on this compilation! Earl 16 returns with "Always On The Run". Delivered in his signature style that has kept him in the business for over forty years. Massive tune in every aspect. The talented Mikey Mystic is ruff and tuff on "South Africa". Over a pertinent riddim, he powerfully depicts the atrocities that have plagued that country. Pure fyah! This set closes with "Souljah" by Manasseh Meets The Equalizer. A Rootsy and Bluesly affair that goes deep.

"Rise Up! The Riz Records Story" is a good compilation indeed. The label had a great staple of UK based singers and were able to garner the attention of some bonafide JA legends. The Riz catalog is extensive so it's hard to put all choice cuts on one collection. The question is when is the second collection coming out. Some Devon Russell and Johnny Osbourne cuts that were recorded need to be heard. It's a comprehensive representation of a label that truly embraced the completeness of Reggae Musik. Slice of history here. Seek this one out and turn up the volume. Highly recommendable!! GO DEH!!