BLACK SYMBOL – ‘Journey’
Set for release on Monday 27th January 2014 on CD via Sugar Shack Records
Legendary Handsworth, Birmingham reggae figure Fatman, has returned to the studio and will be releasing the first new Black Symbol album in thirty years when new CD “Journey” is released by Sugar Shack Records.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Fatman and Black Symbol helped to put Birmingham’s Handsworth area firmly on the reggae map with a series of Black Symbol singles and three albums done in conjunction with other local artists, including the two legendary volumes of “Handsworth Explosion” mostly released on the band’s own eponymous label.
Over the last thirty years, those original Black Symbol releases have grown in status as more and more people discover them and the original Black Symbol recordings will see a comprehensive reissue programme by our sister label Reggae Archive Records.
Although the stream of releases had stopped, Fatman himself continued writing and recording music and having already returned to live performance, to great acclaim, he has decided the time is right to release new music and spread the Black Symbol message to a new worldwide audience.
The ten songs on “Journey” are brand new and have been produced by Paul Horton for Ecks Productions. Paul has twice been nominated for a Grammy Award for his work on Steel Pulse’s “Victims” and Pato Banton’s “Life Is a Miracle”. Although the music benefits from Paul’s experience and knowledge of the latest production techniques, he’s been careful to ensure that the music recalls the Black Symbol of old and retains that original spiritual edge.
Spiritual is perhaps the best word to describe this collection of songs and there couldn’t be a more apt title than “Journey”; our lives are a journey. Fatman’s journey has taken him from St. Ann’s, Jamaica to Handsworth, England and now increasingly he is looking towards Ethiopia and Africa. It is a theme that recurs throughout the songs on this collection.
When Fatman sings “Mama Africa”, he sings of Africa as his home land just as much as Jamaica or England. Africa is the mother that gave birth to all humanity whilst in “Bongoman”; he quotes from Psalm 137 a tale of exile and weaves it into a song of great beauty and spiritual power with Nyahbinghi undertones. The theme of travel is repeated in “Morning Dew” and title track “Journey” where he proclaims that “Rasta no build his house on sinking sand”. Fatman rejects the corruption of modern society, we must come away from the “muddy water” and drink from the pure spring of Rastafari.
Fatman is not afraid to proclaim his faith throughout this album, in fact that’s exactly how he begins with the track “I’m not Afraid”. Positive, uplifting and spiritual messages fill the songs on this collection in tracks like “Do Jah Work” and “Let It Shine” whilst “What A Joy”, celebrates an imaginary coming together in one love and unity of all branches of Rastafari.
Special mention should be given to Empress Bev, whose backing vocals add so much to the unique sound of this album and help it stand out from the crowd. Black Symbol always sounded different from any other British reggae, the music always felt as though it had flowed straight from a spring in the hills of Jamaica rather than coming from the bricks and concrete of Birmingham and that sound is retained. There is still nobody making music like Fatman, one of the unsung voices of British reggae is back and the time is right for his message to spread to every continent. The journey starts here.
“Journey” is released on CD by Sugar Shack Records on 27th January 2014, available from all leading retailers worldwide.
ARTIST: Black Symbol
RELEASE DATE: 27th January 2014
LABEL: Sugar Shack Records
CAT NO: FOD100CD
GENRE: Reggae, Dub,
1. I’m Not Afraid
2. Mama Africa
3. Bongo man
4. Morning Dew
6. What a Joy
7. Nothing for the Poor
8. Let it Shine
9. Jah People
10. Mr. Money Man
Black Symbol – Birmingham British Reggae legends have a brand new album and it will be released in January 2014 via Sugar Shack.
More news very soon
Pictured are Mike Darby (Head of Sugar Shack) and Fat Man from Black Symbol – photo by Martin Langford
Today is a great day. We’ve just secured a 5 STAR (virtually unheard of) album review for our new I-Surrection album in this months edition of Record Collector. Quote… ‘ Opener Greetings and Salutations is a killer of meditative deep roots. This could well be the best new roots album of the year; it certainly is so far’ WOW!
Out in the shops Sept 30th
4th Oct – The Cellar, Oxford
11th Oct – Barrelhouse, Totnes
13th Oct – Thekla, Bristol
17th Oct – ABC2, Glasgow
18th Oct – Reading Rooms, Dundee
19th Oct – Citrus Club, Edinburgh
24th Oct – Hootananny, London
25th Oct – BWM Promo Room @ Wooton Hall, Gloucester
8th Nov – Zephyr Lounge @ Leamington Assembly, Leamington Spa
9th Nov – Sin City, Swansea
10th Nov – Bogiez, Cardiff
15th Nov – The Leopard, Doncaster
16th Nov – Bodega, Nottingham
30th Anniversary Rerelease
RECORD STORE DAY SPECIAL – April 20th
Released 22nd April 2013 via www.bristolarchiverecords.com and selected retailers
PLEASE VISIT YOUR LOCAL RECORD STORE AND PICK UP YOUR SPECIAL COPY – SUPPORT VINYL – APRIL 20TH 2013
With the release of the latest Black Roots album “On The Ground” and its dub counterpart “On The Ground In Dub” via our sister label Sugar Shack Records, Bristol Archive Records decided to do something special to celebrate the band’s return to the studio. What could be better than a very special reissue of Black Roots self-titled first album, released to coincide with its 30th anniversary and, as this will be a vinyl only release we thought we’d combine it with this year’s Record Store Day event.
“Black Roots” was originally released in 1983, by which time the band was established as one of the UK’s leading live acts with a strong repertoire of socially aware songs reflecting the issues of the day. When it came to their first album, they chose eight of their strongest tracks and assembled what was to become one of the classic British reggae albums of the decade.
Featuring the tracks; “The Father”, “Survival”, “Juvenile Delinquent”, “What Them ‘A Do”, “Opportunity”, “Tribal War”, “Africa” and “Move On”, the album covers themes of social alienation, deprivation, repatriation, Rastafari, violence within the black community and ends, with the tale of a failing relationship. Three decades later, many of the songs are just as relevant and provide the perfect complement to their latest recordings.
This new release will be strictly limited to 500 copies worldwide. 400 copies will be available for Record Store Day, 22nd April 2013, at participating retailers and feature a facsimile of the original sleeve, whilst 100 copies will be available directly from Bristol Archive Records and very select retailers and feature a unique handmade screen printed sleeve as well as being individually numbered, a very special edition.
This is the first time this album has been available on vinyl for twenty five years and there is every likelihood that demand will outstrip supply so be sure to grab your copy.
www.bristolarchiverecords.com / www.nubianrecords.co.uk
ARTIST: Black Roots
TITLE: Black Roots
RELEASE DATE: 22nd April 2013 – RECORD STORE DAY
LABEL: Bristol Archive Records
FORMAT: Limited Edition Vinyl and Digital Download
CAT NO: ARC265V
Jashwha regretably has had to cancel in his In Store Appearance at Rise Records, Bristol on Sat April 6th. This has now been rearranged for Record Store Day which takes place on April 20th. We will advise his actualy stage time in the next few days.