Black Roots deliver home town success gig

Black Roots deliver home town success gig

One of the best reggae bands from the 1980s, BLACK ROOTS, performed on home turf on Saturday night (10 November) with an official album launch gig in St Pauls.

The Malcolm X Centre show was the band’s chance to translate their new record On The Ground to the stage and prove their relevance in a much-changed musical landscape since their inception in 1979.

The result on the night was… success.

The reinvigorated roots reggae group recently dropped their first studio recording for more than 20 years and fittingly played pretty much every track off the new album interspersed with occasional older material.

Classic tracks on the night such as “The Father” and “Tribal War” fitted in well with new material including recent double A 12” “Pompous Way” adding a continuing social commentary, and “Oh Mama Africa” – an upbeat song celebrating Africa. Here it is live:

With 11 musicians on stage, including six members of the original line-up (Carlton Smith, Errol Brown, Kondwani Ngozi, Jabulani Ngozi, Cordell Francis and Charlie), the sound was not muddied or overcomplicated but rather added depth and layers of instrumentation to recreate the sound of the new record.

The newer members of the band, including a skilled horn section and a suitably tight rhythm section, also showcased their skills and place among the original musicians in the group.

Here’s the Bristol band performing new track “Landscape” from On The Ground:

Here’s “Militancy”, which could have easily come from the group’s first incarnation:

Overall BLACK ROOTS were back in their classic roots groove and seemed to keep existing fans happy while appealing to a new younger generation.

The new record On The Ground (out on Sugar Shack Records) is available on LP, CD and digital download from the usual outlets including Amazon, iTunes and the Bristol Archive Records online shop.

Nubian Records has also put together the following “reggaementry”, filmed during the recording of On The Ground, and including exclusive interviews with BLACK ROOTS original members.

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Joshua Moses in Amsterdam

Mike Darby Head of Sugar Shack popped into Distortion Records in Amsterdam and can be seen here with the shop owner and one of Joshua (Jashwha) 12″ singles

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Talisman Tour Dates with The Selecter

Iconic 2Tone ska band THE SELECTER and Bristol roots reggae stalwarts TALISMAN will team up in March for a month-long tour of the UK.

The dates are:
•01 Mar – The Fleece, Bristol
•03 Mar – 02 Academy, Liverpool
•07 Mar – 02 Academy, Newcastle upon Tyne
•08 Mar – Oran Mor, Glasgow
•09 Mar – Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
•10 Mar – 02 Academy, Sheffield
•14 Mar – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
•17 Mar – The Globe, Cardiff
•22 Mar – East Quay, Whitstable
•23 Mar – Islington Assembly Hall, London
•24 Mar – Concorde 2, Brighton
•28 Mar – Arts Centre, Colchester
•29 Mar – Brudenell, Leeds
•30 Mar – Rock City, Nottingham
•31 Mar – The Kasbah, Coventry

Additional TALISMAN dates are:
•13 Dec – Talking Heads, Southampton
•02 Feb – The Phoenix, Exeter

TALISMAN will have a brand new album released to coincide with the tour.

Additional SELECTER dates are:
•02 Mar – The Phoenix, Exeter
•15 Mar – Corn Exchange, Hertford
•16 Mar – Robin 2, Wolverhampton
•21 Mar – Waterfront, Norwich

Details of a new SELECTER studio album, which is currently being recorded, are also expected to be revealed shortly.

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Bristol Archive Records Mixcloud DJ Set Oct 2012

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Black Roots Live Dates

November 10th Malclom X Centre Bristol
January 5th Cabaret Sauvage Paris, France
www.cabaretsauvage.com

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Jashwha Moses to support The Twinkle Brothers

Jashwha has been added to the bill at Trinity Hall, Bristol on 8th December 2012
A Teachings In Dub Event

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Talisman to support The Selecter on tour

Talisman have been chosen to support the mighty Selecter on their tour of the UK in March 2013.
Dates confirmed with Talisman:

March 1st The Fleece Bristol
March 3rd O2 Academy Liverpool
March 7th O2 Academy Newcastle
March 8th Oran Mar Glasgow
March 9th Liquid Rooms Edinburgh
March 10th O2 Academy Sheffield
March 14th Wedgewood Rooms Portsmouth
March 17th The Globe Cardiff
March 22nd East Quay Whitstable
March 23rd Islington Assembly Hall London
March 24th Concorde 2 Brighton
March 28th Arts Centre Colchester
March 29th Brundenell Leeds
March 20th Rock City Nottingham
March 31st The Kasbah Coventry
Tickets from all usual outlets.

Talisman will be releasing a new studio album to coincide with the tour

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Interview with Mike Darby Head of Sugar Shack Records for www.reggae-vibes.com

Music didn’t play a big part in Mike Darby’s early life until 1977 when his brother Paul brought home a copy of “My Aim Is True” by Elvis Costello and then a week later “Never Mind The Bollocks” by The Sex Pistols. The spirit of the Punk era caused that Mike found some confidence and believed that anybody could be in a band. Thus he was committed to try his luck and his first effort was Mike and The Molemen. The latter was the stepping stone for Mike to have the confidence to approach better musicians with the aim of forming The Rimshots. With one of the later line-ups of this band, he supported The Beat at The Locarno in 1980 and got a singles deal with a new Bristol based label called Shoc Wave Records. After the split up of The Rimshots, Mike had two more attempts at fronting a band before he moved into management picking up his little brother Neil’s band Fear of Darkness. The latter led into Love Jungle which led into managing Rita Lynch. Nowadays Mike Darby is an independent financial advisor and label head of Bristol Archive Records.

Q: Greetings, Mike! Over the last few years, Bristol Archive Records has been unearthing some of the most crucial British Reggae to see the light of day. How did your concept and dedication start?

A: We released a compilation called The Bristol Punk Explosion 1977 -1983 approx two years ago. It didn’t sell very well but it mapped out the template for the extensive sleeve notes, hidden unreleased gems and the pictures. As soon as I saw the finished product I knew I had to pull a Reggae compilation together and I knew that the challenge would be to get Black Roots and Talisman together on the same record. I had a white pop reggae / ska band in 1980 and The Rimshots had supported both of these awesome roots bands, the problem was that they had only ever shared the same stage once and there was history between the two groups. I knew or thought I could get access to other reggae material by making contact with Gene Walsh who had run Shoc Wave Records in the 80′s and had released Joshua Moses and Sharon Benjamin so the challenge was on.

Q: Your label’s Reggae catalogue started out with “Bristol Reggae Explosion”; full of exciting songs from virtually unknown artists. Did you anticipate the huge amount of material that must have come across your desk? There was enough material for two more successful compilation albums.

A: We’ve released three successful compilations up until now actually and are currently working on Reggae Explosion 4 which will be the end of the 80′s and then Reggae Explosion 5 which will be the start of the 90′s. We had no idea how much material was in people’s houses, under beds, on cassettes, old quarter inch, limited edition vinyl. I was introduced to Martin Langford who compiles the records and writes the sleeve notes, Martins memory of all things Reggae is amazing and my skill has been in finding the artists and engaging them in the project. The quality of the unreleased material is astounding!

Dan Ratchet
Joshua Moses

Q: The world now is familiar with the sheer brilliance of artists like Dan Ratchet and Joshua Moses , to name a few. Did these talents approach you?

A: No I approached Dan and then his producer Simba Rashe Tongogara. Both live in Bristol. Joshua, again living in Bristol was introduced via Gene Walsh who then introduced me to Joshua’s producer Mikey Taylor Hall. I had met Joshua once in the 80′s at a Domino game at Gene’s house, he didn’t remember but it made the approach easier as we had friends in common.

Q: Bristol has Reggae talent on par with London and Kingston and all points between; any more artists or groups coming out of the woodwork?

A: Wow thank you for saying that, the artists will be really happy. We are mixing a Vibes album at the moment, recorded in 1989 it features Popsy Curious, Winston Minnott from Cool Runnings and Veereal and was never mixed back in the day so was never released. Some killa tunes on here. We are awaiting the final delivery of a Restriction album, now this will be something special. Mikey Taylor Hall has given us unreleased material that he has produced which will appear on Reggae Explosion 4.

Q: Perhaps your greatest concept was to work with Black Roots and reissue some of their earlier works. How was it to work with these legends?

A: A privilege and a pleasure. Jabulani is a quiet man so it’s taken a while to build the relationship. Martin Langford came up with the concept of the Singles Anthology as he is a lifelong fan. We are releasing a Dub album of ‘On The Ground’ in the spring and will probably release on Vinyl only, a Limited Edition of Black Roots first ever album with additional sleeve notes.

Talisman

Q: There have been some incredible album launch concerts within the last year. Is there a chance of some international appearances?

A: Now that is interesting. Black Roots, Talisman and Joshua Moses all have the same agent and all are back out playing live and have made big British festival appearances this summer. All three have new albums either just released or ready for the spring release. All three would love the opportunity to tour in Europe, just ask a promoter to approach us. I’d also like to take The Bristol Reggae Explosion Live show out on the road. We played a monumental gig this summer with nine of the featured singers on the compilation albums all singing their track from the records. Talisman acted as the backing band and played a set in their own right – it was brilliant.

Q: It’s fantastic news that the Fashion catalogue is going to be reissued by your sister label. Are you going to be involved in this project?

A: I set the deal up with Chris Lane but it’s Martin Langford’s baby to put the track listings together. We are hoping for two new compilations in the spring. Fashion In Fine Style Significant Hits Vol 1 is out now.

Q: Your resident “minister of information” Martin Langford is a plethora of knowledge. How did he come on board Bristol Archive Records?

A: I was introduced by a DJ and Vinyl collector John Stapleton. We met in the record shop Martin works in on a Saturday. I told Martin about my plans for the Bristol Reggae Explosion Vol 1 and he just threw a few names at me that I either wasn’t aware of or hadn’t considered. It was obvious from that moment that we should team up and we haven’t looked back since. We both have very different skills and personalities but as a team we’ve proved unstoppable.

Q: Your releases show that you have a tight knit staff working with you. Did you anticipate the international success of your projects?

A: Not a clue. Steve Street who masters all the material is my brother in law. He was a studio engineer in the late 70′s and 80′s here in Bristol and recorded some of the material first time around. He later worked for Tears For Fears as their in house engineer at the Wool hall. Steve was in bands in the 80′s and believe it or not has made two Top Of The Pops appearances! We couldn’t run the label in the way that we do without Steve’s expertise and experience but also his unbelieveable commitment to quality.

Q: Mike, give thanks for bringing the Reggae gems of Bristol to the world. It has rekindled true recognition of original and authentic Roots Reggae Musik. Keep Jah Fire burning and sharing what this world needs!!

A: Thank you. The pleasure I’ve had in the project is delivering the finished cds and vinyl to the original artists and seeing them smile and be proud. First time around nothing much happened for them, now in 2012 and beyond they are all achieving their little slice of recognition and success.
Interview by Robert “Higherman” Heilman (October 2012) | Pics courtesy of Bristol Archive Records
(Please do not reproduce without permission)

http://www.reggae-vibes.com

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Talisman – confirmed as tour support for full UK Tour March 2012

Exciting news for Talisman as they have been invited onto a full UK tour support in March 2013. We will announce the full dates and headline act as soon as we are given the green light.
The band eneter the studios very soon to start recording their new album, their first for 22 years

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Black Roots ‘Pompous Way’ 12″ Test Pressings arrive

BLACK ROOTS
‘POMPOUS WAY’
Released 15th October 2012 on 12” Vinyl (Limited Edition) & Digital Download with additional exclusive mixes, through Sugar Shack Records / Shellshock and all digital platforms.

October 15th sees the release of “Pompous Way” on Sugar Shack Records in conjunction with Nubian Records, the first new Black Roots single in over twenty years. “Pompous Way” is taken from the band’s new critically acclaimed album “On The Ground” also released by Sugar Shack/Nubian Records.

The double A side twelve inch vinyl release features an exclusive extended mix of the album version of “Pompous Way”, clocking in at nearly seven minutes the vocal is seamlessly followed by the dub in classic discomix fashion. Although recorded this year and dealing with the economic and political mess we are currently facing, the song doesn’t attempt to cater to any current fads. Instead it’s a slice of roots reggae the way it used to be, real musicians playing real instruments and singing about real problems.

For the AA side we have teamed up with Rootikal Productions, which is David Hill and Ashley Beedle – both men are long-time reggae lovers who bring a wealth of musical experience to the project. David is one of the people behind Rootikal, one of London’s most successful reggae nights, which has hosted some legendary guests including Cornell Campbell, Linval Thompson and Al Campbell – plus A-list selectors such as David Rodigan, Channel One and Aba Shanti I. He’s recently overseen the Rootikal Selection series of 45s, reworking versions of hard to find or unreleased Jah Thomas productions and re-editing dubs or adding trombone overdubs with Matic Horns. Prior to that, he worked with David Katz reissuing rare reggae on the Auralux label. Ashley is perhaps best known for his role in X-Press 2, The Black Science Orchestra and the Ballistic Brothers (also with David). In 2010 he recorded an album with reggae great Horace Andy, which led to a European tour. Ashley and David recently had the privilege of remixing several Bob Marley and The Wailers tracks after Island Records gave them access to the original Tuff Gong multi-track masters. They also present the Rootikal radio show together.

Rootikal were given free reign on the mix and their “Rootikal Humble Yourself Version” takes the track in a whole new direction. Shifting the emphasis onto the rhythm, the drum, the bass, the guitar, the horns and adding just a little melodica, the track is reinvented for the twentieth century. It becomes a lost classic from the late seventies and an entirely different listening experience.

In addition to the 12” limited vinyl, there is also a digital download available which adds a further two exclusive mixes from Oldwah, although this is his first official commission, Oldwah has been making his own unique reggae mixes for years and has built a large and loyal following on YouTube.
For further information on Rootikal please see www.rootikal.net

www.sugarshackrecords.co.uk
ARTIST: Black Roots
TITLE: Pompous Way
RELEASE DATE: 15th October 2012
LABEL: Sugar Shack Records/Nubian Records
DISTRIBUTION: Shellshock
FORMAT: 12” Vinyl (Limited Edition) and Digital Download with exclusive additional mixes
CAT NO: FOD092V
BARCODE: 5052571038369
DOWNLOAD LINK (For review purposes only):
CONTACT: Mike Darby mike@sugarshackrecords.co.uk / 07885 498 402

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Talisman at The Bristol Reggae Explosion Live Sunday August 26th 2012

Bekele Sengor leading from the front – WOW what a show – Video footage here: http://www.reggaechapter.com/node/1000

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Black Roots – ‘Pompous Way’ New Single to be released October 15th

October 15th sees the release of “Pompous Way” on Sugar Shack Records in conjunction with Nubian Records, the first new Black Roots single in over twenty years. “Pompous Way” is taken from the band’s new critically acclaimed album “On The Ground” also released by Sugar Shack/Nubian Records.

The double A side twelve inch vinyl release features an exclusive extended mix of the album version of “Pompous Way”, clocking in at nearly seven minutes the vocal is seamlessly followed by the dub in classic discomix fashion. Although recorded this year and dealing with the economic and political mess we are currently facing, the song doesn’t attempt to cater to any current fads. Instead it’s a slice of roots reggae the way it used to be, real musicians playing real instruments and singing about real problems.

For the AA side we have teamed up with Rootikal Productions, which is David Hill and Ashley Beedle – both men are long-time reggae lovers who bring a wealth of musical experience to the project. David is one of the people behind Rootikal, one of London’s most successful reggae nights, which has hosted some legendary guests including Cornell Campbell, Linval Thompson and Al Campbell – plus A-list selectors such as David Rodigan, Channel One and Aba Shanti I. He’s recently overseen the Rootikal Selection series of 45s, reworking versions of hard to find or unreleased Jah Thomas productions and re-editing dubs or adding trombone overdubs with Matic Horns. Prior to that, he worked with David Katz reissuing rare reggae on the Auralux label. Ashley is perhaps best known for his role in X-Press 2, The Black Science Orchestra and the Ballistic Brothers (also with David). In 2010 he recorded an album with reggae great Horace Andy, which led to a European tour. Ashley and David recently had the privilege of remixing several Bob Marley and The Wailers tracks after Island Records gave them access to the original Tuff Gong multi-track masters. They also present the Rootikal radio show together.

Rootikal were given free reign on the mix and their “Rootikal Humble Yourself Version” takes the track in a whole new direction. Shifting the emphasis onto the rhythm, the drum, the bass, the guitar, the horns and adding just a little melodica, the track is reinvented for the twentieth century. It becomes a lost classic from the late seventies and an entirely different listening experience.

In addition to the 12” limited vinyl, there is also a digital download available which adds a further two exclusive mixes from Oldwah, although this is his first official commission, Oldwah has been making his own unique reggae mixes for years and has built a large and loyal following on YouTube.
For further information on Rootikal please see www.rootikal.net

More information very soon on how to pre-order

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Joshua Moses at Strummer of Love Festival

Pic by David Hill – Rootikal

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Black Roots New Album ‘On The Ground’

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Joshua Moses at Strummer Of Love Festival Sunday 19th August 2012

Joshua Moses with The Rootikal Team, Zac his agent and the great Mr Rodigan MBE

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Dennis Bovell To Compere The Bristol Reggae Explosion Live – Bank Holiday Sunday August 26th

Reggae musician and producer DENNIS BOVELL will be serving as master of ceremonies at the Bristol Reggae Explosion Live show in Bristol later this month.

The former MATUMBI member went on to become a key figure in the lovers rock and dub genres, but is most widely known for his collaborations with LINTON KWESI JOHNSON.
Just last month BOVELL got back together with LKJ for a show at WOMAD in Wiltshire. He continues to record, produce and play live all over the world.
Among the wide range of artists on the Bristol Reggae Explosion Live bill are TALISMAN, JOSHUA MOSES and BUNNY MARRETT.
The big summer gig – put together by Bristol Archive Records and Midnight Mango – takes place on 26 August at the Big Top tent, Temple Meads, in Bristol.
The show starts at 8pm (running until 3am) and tickets are priced at £10 – available from the Bristol Ticket Shop and all the other usual outlets.
www.bristolarchiverecords.com

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Black Roots Album Review

Reggae, roots, dub, lovers and how to do a compilation
It’s been a real pleasure discovering a label like Bristol Archive Records, that was brand new to me and seeing them to my mind at least grow and incorporate new elements and sounds with each new release. Their journey has led me from post punk Bristol (1977) to modern days via a newly re-energised Black Roots release which is actually covered later on in this piece). The label’s aim has always been; ” To showcase music from the diverse Bristol music scene and provide a historical account/document of all things Bristol that should never be forgotten. Many of the artists and releases are rare, unknown or never before released, with the original vinyl releases generally being limited to runs of 1,000 copies or less.” And you know what, as a music fan I just love the spirit of this label.
In fact that gets me thinking back to one of my previous incarnations, running a record shop in Cardiff, one where we built up what was probably the best collection of reggae this side of the Severn bridge, but even we missed what was going on not 50 miles away, probably down to the small pressings of the original material.
As I have said in numerous reviews of the Bristol scene, (all here on Uber Rock) I cannot believe the quality of the music I am now getting to hear in retrospect, each one as strong as the last. So what of the latest clutch of releases?
First up Dan Ratchet- ‘Jah Poor People’, well this LP is now getting a full release 26 years after conception, and you have to ask why?
The roll call of collaborators involved with the album include amongst others Aswad and Misty in Roots, for the London sessions and then over in Jamaica we have Earl “Chinna” Smith and Sly Dunbar in probably the most famous reggae studios in Kingston – Tuff Gong amongst others. With a pedigree this strong it was always going to be spot on, and it is, roots reggae with a lovers rock lilt and what makes this LP even more special is each track comes with the Dub version, (which reminded me a lot of Aswad’s ‘New Chapter in Dub’s’ similar feel) effectively giving you two LP’s for the price of one. Definitely an LP for any reggae fans collection.
Next up we have the aforementioned Black Roots- ‘On the Ground’ LP, now this is definitely something to be excited over as this the first new material from the band in 20 years and this new incarnation of the band certainly don’t disappoint. The messages within the music are as relevant now as ever, and it makes you realise how closely times today are mirroring what was going on back in the late ’70′s early ’80′s. Cultural and social commentaries and political viewpoints or standpoints are what made punk so relevant, what launched grunge and what gave birth to metal in the first place, and while you might not realise it all music forms its own sub-cultures, genres within the overall banner of music, all of which need to be appreciated in their own right. (Whether you then dismiss them, is down to your personal choice)
Listen to ‘I Believe’ that opens up this release, it’s simply stunning, also take a listen to ‘Pompous Way’, ‘Slavery’ or ‘Militancy’, and then tell me you are not impressed….Go on I dare you. To pick yourself back up during these times of cuts and similar bullshit give ‘Long, Long Ago’ a listen, or “Oh Mamma Africa” a listen, here you have two absolute stunners simply celebrating life. Roll on any upcoming live performances, because this music deserves to be heard in the dancehalls of the world.
Finishing up this feature I have to bring something that’s fresh for me, via this release from another of the major reggae labels Fashion, and a compilation called ‘Fashion In Fine Style – Significant Hits Volume 1′. Very much following a blueprint and how reggae has changed and evolved through the ages, my own preference is for the roots style particularly from the early 1980′s, the decade where this collection actually starts with Dee Sharp’s ‘Let’s Dub It Up’. What this LP actually does is take the listener through a voyage of discovery, from an initial lovers rock feel, but then moving in a more roots direction and then further onwards into true dancehall and sound-clash sounds before moving onwards to ragga, even pulling in some jungle remixing, before finishing with some classy dub. I have to admit that sound-clash and ragga is not for me and the jungle stuff lost me a bit, but overall this is a cracking compilation, especially for a starter in the wider genre who has no preference in style, boy what a place to start your reggae collection!
www.bristolarchiverecords.com
www.sugarshackrecords.co.uk
www.reggaearchiverecords.com
Review by Nev Brooks
Taken from: http://www.uberrock.co.uk/features/82-july-features/5629-brooksy-on-a-ragga-tip.html

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Black Roots – ‘Louder Than War’ Album Review

Black Roots: On The Ground – album review
Posted by Guy Manchester at 21 July, at 08 : 07 AM Print

Black Roots: On The Ground (Sugar Shack Records / Bristol Archive Records)
CD/LP/DL
10th Sept 2012
Sadly you see far too little reggae featured on UK music related websites (and radio shows) so it’s nice to be able to help promote a brilliant new release by a reggae band who not only recorded two Peel sessions but who’re also about to release one of the best albums of the year.
I first came across the label Bristol Archive Records last year when they released a quite wonderful compilation album ‘Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-83‘. It contained 14 tracks of sizzling reggae, mainly (but not exclusivley) roots bands, all of them from Bristol & from the late 70′s / early 80′s. I had no idea that Bristol had such a rich heritage of reggae artists, which I guess was the point of compilation – and indeed is, to a large extent, the whole idea behind “Bristol Archive Records”. Although not exclusivley focussing on reggae (see for instance The Bristol Punk Explosion) reggae has become the label’s focus not least because all the albums in the “Bristol Reggae Explosion” series, now numbering 3 were so successful & well received.
The success of these albums has meant that Bristol Archive Records are now widening their net so, excitingly, they could be coming to a city near you some time soon. Another result of the success of these albums has been to re-shine a light on some of the artists featured on the album – I doubt very much if I’d have been able to see both Talsisman & Black Roots play live in Bristol last year without those compilations, two shows that turned out to be amongst the best of the year, timeless music still being played with just as much passion as when the songs were first being played.
And now, following a couple of compilations of Black Roots material, the band have a new album ready for us, due out in September, 20 years after their last release.
And to cut a long story short, it’s brilliant.
It’d be nice to think that with the release of this album Black Roots will get the attention they deserve. I could never understand why Black Roots didn’t get more attention back in the 80′s. Even with the endorsement of Peel they never became as well known as the Aswads or Steel Pulses of this world. They recorded at least 2 sessions for Peel & he once said about them:
“If anyone tells you that there is no such thing as good British reggae, first tell them that they are a herbert and then (tell them to) listen to Black Roots.”

Perhaps Black Roots failed to achieve the attention afforded to those other roots bands because they didn’t mess around with trying to make commercial sounding reggae. Their reggae was pretty full on uncompromising roots music, especially lyrically. Plus they also refused to move in a gentler, more Aswad style ‘pop’ reggae direction. Times have changed a bit though & having said all the above, one thing that’s noticeable on this new album is that their sound has mellowed a bit, not only has it become more rounded but it’s also become incredibly catchy.
Black Roots formed at a time when Britain was in the clutches of Thatcher & prospects were gloomy for Britains in general & for young Jamaicans in particular. Therefore naturally it was a time perfectly suited to roots reggae, a music that identifies with stuggling, poverty, fighting, ‘sufferation’ & everyday life. And now it’s like we’ve come full circle, again we’re in the throws of a Tory party hell bent on destroying the country – to quote the band themselves “The iron lady is returning – can’t you see we is hurting” – so this is the perfect time for Black Roots to take to the stage again.
It’s obvious all through this record that the band have been playing together for a long time, there’s a smoothness to the flow & a comfortableness with each other that results in an almost ‘slinky’ sound. And the musicianship, as you’d expect, is top notch – in particular there’s some wonderful brass playing. There’s a lightness to their music & an upbeatness that’s guaranteed to fill your heart with joy irrespective of the lyrics.

Lyrically the songs comment on traditional roots reggae subjects such as the planting of yams, the rastafari religion & Africa itself, but a lot of the album is tuned into what’s going on in the country at the moment, as well as politics in general. “Miltancy” in particular is a really strong track & could become a bit of an anthem. Black Roots were (and judging by this song still are) firmly commited to ‘militant pacifism’ & the lyrics in Militancy sum that up pretty succinctly by singing about how we need to be “miltant” without being “malicious” – & all to a great rhythm.
Considering that Black roots formed on a St Paul’s street corner during the oppressive years of Thatcherism it’s hardly surprising that they’re a very politicised band, and although there’s no Thatcher around now there’s still plenty of contemporary material for them to work with. For instance there’s a track about bankers & greed (“you want all, you should surely lose all”) as well as a track about the difficulty of getting a job “i try my best to find a job that’s not there”. And although most of the band are a long way from their teenage years they haven’t lost touch with how demoralising it is to be young & unemployed with lyrics like “Parliament declare war on the youth.”
Despite not sounding like a barrel of laughs if judged on lyrics alone this album will ultimately make you smile & make you happy. And it’ll probably make you move as well – I’ll defy anyone not to skank to this album, or at least not to tap fingers & toes to it. It’s really catchy music and as I mentioned, given the airplay (which could be anywhere – their music could equally well be suited to Radio’s 1, 1X, 2, 6music & local radio) there’s no reason why this album couldn’t be a huge hit. Just a shame you all need to wait till September to hear it – although I don’t need to tell you it’ll be well worth the wait.

Black Roots have some tour dates lined up, all of which you should try & catch:

Black Roots:
July 21st – Harbourside Festival, Bristol
Aug 3rd – Sardinia Reggae Festival, Italy
Aug 25th – Shambala Festival [Main Stage]
27th Sep – Talking Heads, Southampton
Nov 10th – Malcolm X Centre, St Pauls, Bristol

Two other similar reggae bands managed by the same people are Talisman & Joshua Moses who also have dates on the following dates on the horizon:

Talisman:
July 21st – Llangollen, Wales
July 22nd – Secret Garden Party [Rhumba Rum Bar Stage]
Aug 19th – Strummer Of Love Festival [Rootikal Stage]
Aug 26th – Big Top, Bristol [Bristol Archive Records Reggae Show]
Sep 22nd – The Wharf, Tavistock [Supporting The Beat]
13th Dec – Talking Heads, Southampton

Joshua Moses:
July 20th – Secret Garden Party [Rhumba Rum Bar Stage]
Aug 19th – Strummer Of Love Festival [Rootikal Stage]
26th Aug – Big Top, Bristol [Bristol Archive Records Reggae Show]

All words Guy Manchester. More words by Guy can be read here. He tweets as @guid0man & uses Tumblr.

http://louderthanwar.com/black-roots-on-the-ground-album-review

Photo Credits: http://www.peterjbutlerphotography.co.uk

Posted by Guy Manchester – Guy is a full time member of the Louder Than War team, both in editing & writing roles. Music’s been a large part of his life since he first stumbled across Peel on his tranny as a fifteen year old. His whole approach to music was learnt from Peel in fact, which includes having as inclusive a taste in music as possible. Guy devotes most of his time looking for new music & although he’s been known to say “the only good music is new music” he pretty much accepts this is bollocks. Favourite band The Minutemen.

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New Sister Label Launched Today

REGGAE ARCHIVE RECORDS

WEBSITE
GOES LIVE TODAY
www.reggaearchiverecords.com
NEW RELEASES:
RARC001V TRIBESMAN THE TRIBE
RARC002CD VARIOUS ARTISTS FASHION IN FINE STYLE
RARC003CD ECLIPSE CORRUPTED SOCIETY
PLEASE VISIT US SOON

Sister Labels:
www.bristolarchiverecords.com
www.sugarshackrecords.co.uk
www.reggaearchiverecords.com

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Current Gig Schedule

Talisman:
July 21st – Llangollen, Wales
July 22nd – Secret Garden Party [Rhumba Rum Bar Stage]
Aug 19th – Strummer Of Love Festival [Rootikal Stage]
Aug 26th – Big Top, Bristol [Bristol Archive Records Reggae Show]
Sep 22nd – The Wharf, Tavistock [Supporting The Beat]
13th Dec – Talking Heads, Southampton

Black Roots:
July 21st – Harbourside Festival, Bristol
Aug 3rd – Sardinia Reggae Festival, Italy
Aug 25th – Shambala Festival [Main Stage]
27th Sep – Talking Heads, Southampton
Nov 10th – Malcolm X Centre, St Pauls, Bristol

Joshua Moses:
July 20th – Secret Garden Party [Rhumba Rum Bar Stage]
Aug 19th – Strummer Of Love Festival [Rootikal Stage]
26th Aug – Big Top, Bristol [Bristol Archive Records Reggae Show]

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Jashwha Moses – Jocks and Nerds Magazine Summer 2012

Jashwha Moses photo by Phil Pegler. Taken from a fab London magazine called Jocks and Nerds Summer 2012 from an editorial feature on the upcoming Strummerville Festival

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Black Roots – ‘On The Ground’ Album Review

Garry from SAN PR is always sending through new bands to look at and check out, so when he sent through a copy of On The Ground, the new album from reggae unit Black Roots, I was intrigued to know what was going on. Opening stating it’s not the usual sort of thing that they deal with, I too was a little out of kilter when first checking out the album, but as always, went into it with an open mind to see what was going on. Despite the original line up of the band not being together for over twenty years, the band have managed to get back in the studio and produce a 17 track album which puts them straight back into that Black Roots groove, offering up reggae sounds to accompany the most chilled out moments, whilst charging their message with political and sociological views. I figured the best way to deal with this was to crack on the album, turn up the bass, and see what I thought.

From the opening moments of I Believe there’s one thing clear, this is some seriously funky and groovy reggae style stuff, offering up a chilled out and laid back beat which is going to accompany a sunny afternoon to perfection. Despite the chilled out tones of the track, there’s also a serious message coming across through the lyrical content, keeping you listening to what’s going on and engaging with the band throughout. Pompous Way continues this approach, once again building the track around the elements you’d expect from a reggae track whilst still managing to keep that serious message flowing out of the track. I love the political side to reggae music as I’ve always felt it creates a contrast within the music, almost as a form of peaceful protest against society as it stands. ‘If It No Broke, No Fix It’ echoes out across the track as the key message here, and something which applies to the style of music in question at the same time, showing that when you’re dealing with class, just let the music do the talking for you – and they’ve done it well.

Long Long Ago presents us with a more upbeat approach to things, immediately getting you swaying from the word go and creating a sense of movement throughout the track. Whilst it’s clichéd to say it, this is a track which is going to bring back images of sunshine, white beaches and all things summer. Despite these immediate images in your mind, you’ve got to appreciate the story being told through the track, talking about a time gone by in rural Jamaica and transporting you there to show you what it was like. It’s funny how people always talk about the power of music to take you to a different place, and what you’ve got here is a band who are doing just that with the record, taking you to their place and showing you what life was like and why their views are what they are. Returning to the more serious message, Militancy once again brings back the power of the music as a political tool and shows that reggaes roots are indeed still as firmly rooted as they’ve always been. Layered with simple yet effective guitar lines, deep and meaningful lyrics and that signature slow drum beat, this is another head nodding and mood evoking track which is going to secure these guys a slot as being firmly back on the scene.

Progressing through the tracks through Earth Lan, I Am Flying, Slavery, Oh Mama Africa and Hide Out, each track presents us with that signature reggae approach whilst each time presenting a different view point or perspective, showing that whilst some may perceive reggae as a simple sound, it’s way more complex than first meets the eye. On The Ground comes around as a serious high point on the record, standing out as a track which is going to allow the band to reach an audience that might not usually listen to reggae, presenting a sound which is once again upbeat, full of dance beat tempos and a calm inducing backing melody, all the elements combining to form a track which personally, I’ve listened to repeatedly since getting hold of the album.

Call Me Out, No Fee, Struggle, Landscape and Without Direction each continue to lead you through the album, each time presenting more bass heavy reggae rhythms and layered vocals, forming a melodic and rhythmic sound which is impossible to resist and allowing you the time to simply take in what’s going on here rather than forcing you into doing anything. The laid back brass tones of the reggae sound echo out across the mix, adding depth to the sound and forming a mix which will sooth the mood of anyone who listens, immediately brightening up the mood of all who hear it.

Another serious highpoint on the album is Capitalism, another track which is packed with a message we can’t afford to ignore, showing that there are bands out there who aren’t afraid to comment on the state of society and write music about it. Yes there is a political message but the laid back approach of getting it out there means you don’t feel it’s forced upon you, allowing you to listen to the message, make up your own mind and go from there. The same can be said for the closing moments of Come And Sing, closing the album with a track which leaves things on a high note and your mood in the best possible state. Once again offering up some soft beats, slow tempo reggae beats and jams, the final track on this album asks you to forget the divide in society, and simply join in with the band to sing and enjoy (or that’s what I took from it anyway!). The final track seems to epitomise the band to me, showing that there’s no need to be aggressive or kick off about things, but that simply creating music which sooths and passes on a message is enough.

I didn’t know what I was going to think when Black Roots were first sent through to us, but I’ve loved this album from start to finish. 17 tracks is a hefty album to cover, and sometimes I would struggle to work through each of them – but with this one it was enjoyable listening to every single one on the record. Is this music that’s going to change the world, I don’t know. What I do know though is that this is an album which is going to appeal to existing reggae fans and convert new fans to the band, offering you an album which is going to chill you out, make you think, but most of all, enjoy.

To find out more about Black Roots, check out their Facebook page HERE.

Words: Dave Nicholls

http://www.loud-stuff.com/black-roots.html

Black Roots headline The Harbourside Festival this coming Saturday the 21st July – on stage 9pm

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Black Roots – New Album Launch Night Confirmed

Black Roots new album ‘On The Ground’ will be launched in Bristol with a special home turf show on Saturday November 10th at The Malcolm X Centre, St.Pauls, Bristol, BS2
More information to follow
The album on CD, Limited edition Vinyl and Download is released on 10th September via Sugar Shack records / Nubian Records

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Voices From Another Part Of Town – Bunny Marrett

This year’s reflection on 50 years of independence for Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago continues with a rare screening of a seminal BBC documentary made by activists in Bristol’s St Pauls area shortly after the 1980 riots, featuring Bristol reggae legend Bunny Marrett.

After the screening Bristol Archive Records are hosting an after party in the Café/Bar to celebrate the release of I’m Free, Bunny’s long lost album. With a live performance by Bunny featuring some of The Startled Insects and Tony Orrell, PA from Dan Ratchet and DJ support c/o Steve Rice (Downbeat Melody Sound System).

Fee: £8.00 full/£6.50 concessionss (includes free priority entry to the launch party in the Café/Bar).

The Watershed Bristol

http://www.watershed.co.uk/whatson/3566/voices-from-another-part-of-town-album-launch/

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Spectacular Reggae Gig – August 26th 2012 – Bristol UK

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Black Roots New Album

‘ON THE GROUND’
Released 10th September 2012 on CD, Limited Edition Vinyl and digital download,
through Sugar Shack Records / Bristol Archive Records

Following the 2011 release of “Black Roots – The Reggae Singles Anthology ” and the 2012 rerelease of “All Day All Night” deluxe version by reissue label Bristol Archive Records, Black Roots and their label Nubian Records have now teamed up with Bristol Archive’s parent label Sugar Shack Records to release their brand new album “On The Ground”.
It may be more than twenty years since the original line up were together in the studio, but for their new record they’ve picked up where they left off and are right back in that classic Black Roots groove that will keep their existing fans happy and appeal to a whole new generation of reggae lovers, many of whom weren’t born when Black Roots released their string of classic records.
The music is entertaining and upbeat, but it is still roots music. These songs have a social message that is just as relevant in the troubled world we inhabit in 2012 as the band’s songs were during the ups and downs of the 1980s.
Opening track “I Believe” makes it clear that for all the progress we’ve made, for many people life today is just as hard as it’s ever been. Surviving the system isn’t easy. Second track “Pompous Way” is also concerned with society, but this time with fixing it and reaching out to the next generation rather than labelling them as the problem. The music itself harks back to Black Roots of old and other than the mention of the digital age could easily have been recorded thirty years ago.
Another song that sounds like it could have come from the band’s first incarnation is “Militancy” definitely sounding like Black Roots of old and also touching on the theme of slavery, a theme that receives further exploration in the aptly titled “Slavery” recalling the memory of the great evil that befell millions of Africans and their descendants.
There are more upbeat songs recalling a life in rural Jamaica with “Long Long Ago” or celebrating Africa with “Oh Mama Africa.” In fact whatever the message the band are delivering they still do it with great and enjoyable music, the new members of the band more than earning their place alongside the founding fathers.
More than three decades after they formed, Black Roots are back with a brand new 17 track CD album that defies the passage of time and will appeal to all reggae fans, released on September 10th on CD, limited edition vinyl and digital download, available from all good retailers.

www.sugarshackrecords.co.uk / www.bristolarchiverecords.com / www.nubianrecords.co.uk

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New Releases from www.bristolarchiverecords.com

Our sister label drops its summer releases – more unreleased British reggae classics

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Joshua (Jashwha) Moses with The R.A.S Band in Exeter last Saturday

Next stop The Fleece in Bristol Sat May 26th with Dan Ratchet and Papa Roots Sound

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Black Roots New Album ‘On The Ground’

Sugar Shack / Nubian Records will release Black Roots new album entitled ‘On The Ground’ on September 10th 2012 in three formats CD, Vinyl and digital download.

Track listing for the CD is as follows:
1. I Believe
2. Pompous Way
3. Long Long Ago
4. Militancy
5. Earth Land
6. I Am flying
7. Slavery
8. Oh Mama Africa
9. Hide out
10. On The Ground
11. Call Me Out
12. No Fee
13. Struggle
14. Landscape
15. Without Direction
16. Capitalism
17. Come and Sing

Recorded in Bristol in April at J & J Studios
Produced by Black Roots and Mixed by Loius Becket

More news soon

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Fashion Records

HOT NEWS! We have just agreed a partnership deal with Chris and John from Fashion Records, the iconic London Reggae label started in the 80′s to rerelease their back catalogue on cd and vinyl via our sister imprint www.reggaearchiverecords.com. More news soon but we start later this year with ‘Fashion In Fine Style Significant Hits Vol One’. Amazing!!

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