Various artists album review
Mafia & Fluxy Presents...Roots And Culture Volume 1
Mafia & Fluxy Music

Tracking list

  1. Johnny Clarke - Declaration Of Rights
  2. Linval Thompson - Long, Long, Dreadlocks
  3. Robbie Valentine - In Love With Jah
  4. Cornell Campbell - Gorgon
  5. Johnny Clarke - Blood Dunza
  6. Santana - Time Will Tell
  7. Joe Higgs - Wage Of Crime
  8. Leroy Mafia - Holly Holy
  9. Horace Andy - Don't Try To Use Me
  10. Gregory Isaacs - Motherless Children
  11. Robbie Valentine- Nobody But Jah
  12. King Kong - Praise Jahoviah
  13. Horace Andy - Every Tongue Shall Tell
  14. Santana - Light Shine Bright
  15. Max Romeo - No Peace
  16. Robert Lee - Bad Teenager
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 4

Since their entrance in the music business - it's already two decades ago that they formed the Instigators - the Heywood brothers aka Mafia & Fluxy from Tottenham, London, have established themselves as an in demand and driving force, not only in reggae music but also within other musical genres. They produced reggae artists like Chaka Demus & Pliers, Cutty Ranks, Cobra, Maxi Priest and Glamma Kid, but also remixed and/or produced the work of artists like Boy George, Soul II Soul, Aaliyah and Urban Species. Besides that they continued to release their own music including three "Revival Hits" albums. With these appreciated and well received efforts they openly expressed their affection for the "oldies", which already could be witnessed in their lovers rock productions - with e.g. Winston Reedy, the underrated Blackstones and the Instigators - in which they imparted classic rocksteady qualities. Their latest project confirms that there's always something special when they deal with vintage music.
This album contains a fine rootical selection which brings together veteran performances and up-and-coming young vocalists from Mafia & Fluxy's current artist roster. For the "oldies" on this album Mafia & Fluxy have digged deep into the vaults of Bunny Lee, culled vocal tracks from tapes of the golden seventies and expertly rebuilt the riddims underneath. The addition of recently recorded tunes - most of them are also available as singles - gives this set an extra dimension, especially as these tracks fit the album concept surprisingly well.
The album kicks off with a killer tune. Johnny Clarke's rendition of the Abyssinians' anthem "Declaration of rights" is delivered across a real wicked riddim track - complete with the essential organ part - laid by the dynamic Mafia & Fluxy. The other Johnny Clarke tune on this compilation set is a decent effort as well. Linval Thompson's classic Long, long, dreadlocks contains some weird sound effects and showcases a mixing style which both bring to mind some of the best and heaviest cuts Osbourne Ruddock aka King Tubby mixed at King Tubby's studio in the mid-seventies. Young U.K. singer Robbie Valentine contributes two solid roots songs in which he fully showcases his skill and talents thus making perfectly clear that he's going to establish himself in the near future.
With Gorgon falsetto voiced Cornell Campbell - who recorded numerous lovers and roots slices with producer Bunny Lee throughout the seventies - delivers one of his greatest hits across a refreshed riddim. In the mid-seventies this former member of the Uniques and the Eternals made his greatest impact in the Jamaican dancehalls with his "Gorgon" series of records (initially based on Derrick Morgan's "Conquering Ruler"). Santana is another young singer included on this album who fully deserves the attention of a broader audience. His excellent Time will tell across the "Declaration of rights" riddim and the solid Light shine bright are both great contributions which makes one look forward to the debut album of this gifted artist.
The rarely heard Joe Higgs and Leroy Mafia deliver nice efforts before Horacy "Sleepy" Andy makes his instantly recognizable entrance. Horace Andy and Mafia & Fluxy - with the addition of the Matic Horns - at their best make Don't try to use me one of the standouts of this album. The do over of his unforgettable Studio One classic Every tongue shall tell can also be considered as a noteworthy performance of both singer and musicians. Gregory Isaacs and Max Romeo need no further introduction. Their tracks are a fine example of the many great songs these veterans have delivered reggae fans throughout their enduring career.
Remain cuts from King Kong and Robert Lee, a young singer from Jamaica. The latter puts out a truly solid tune delivering his moving lyrics across a riddim that incorporates the most significant part of the "Hawai Five-O" tune (in the seventies one of the best viewed series on Dutch television). King Kong represents the "digital" eighties with a decent rendition of Tenor Saw's "Who's gonna help me praise".
With this compilation set Mafia & Fluxy deliver a well executed project and a respectful hommage to ace producer Bunny "Striker" Lee !!

Teacher & Mr. T.