Sunday, March 18, 2007

C.D. Review;Old School Young Blood Volume 1 (Peckings)

This is a fun concept; recruit some of the current crop of roots reggae singers, and have them sing a mix of old and new lyrics over some classic Duke Reid riddims. The "riddims" are instrumental backing tracks, in this case from the golden years of the legendary Jamaican record label Treasure Isle. Clocking in at just under 80 minutes, this is indeed jammed with Jam-Down jams imported by the British for a most effective collection of new-old reggae.
Assembled by the Pecking label in Europe, the singers featured here seem to be better known in Europe than they are on this side of the Atlantic.
The renowned Jamaican sax man Dean Frazer has a couple of instrumental cuts on here, but many songs on this collection come from several surprisingly good British singers. Bitty Mclean steals the show on here, with several excellent cuts. It has been suggested Bitty would be a huge reggae star if he was from Jamaica instead of England, and it's probably true. He holds his own against any Jamaican-based reggae singers touring these days. Peter Hunnigale and Vivian Jones (who left Jamaica at age 10, in 1967) are excellent singers as well. Lady Lex adds her sultry vocals to a few tracks, which retain a vintage rock steady groove on her three songs. After a very strong showing in the late seventies and early eighties, English reggae acts seemed to fade away from these shores for a while. Old School Young Blood suggests it's time to check out the English reggae scene again.

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