TALISMAN ‘Nothing Change’
by Talisman | Cat No. FOD124CD
Very few bands can celebrate forty years since their creation and far fewer can still perform and record at an equal or even higher level than in their early years. Talisman have always been something of an exception to the rule. Although they took something of a sabbatical during the late nineties and noughties, at their core this is the same Talisman that formed as Revelation Rockers back in 1977. They may have been forced into a name change along the way, but they never ever changed the messages in their music or the sheer energy and enjoyment of their live shows; their talents are undiminished.
To celebrate the band’s longevity and give fans old and new a career spanning perspective in a convenient package, we are releasing “Nothing Change” (The Best of Talisman 1977-2018) a 17-track compilation that includes the band’s earliest recordings under the guise of Revelation Rockers to tracks from last year’s acclaimed “Don’t Play with Fyah”. Throughout changing times, technology and line ups the core of founding members Dehvan Othieno and Dennison Joseph give the music a remarkable continuity and demonstrate how some musicians improve with age.
£9.00 + Delivery
Of the three Revelation Rockers tracks only “Jah Praises” has previously been given a proper CD release, both “Culture” and “Wicked Dem” make their debut appearance on CD. All three tracks show a band that hit the ground running with well written songs and their own sound. It’s interesting to compare their first recording of “Wicked Dem” with the reworked version that would feature on their second single four years later.
Naturally all four sides of the band’s first two singles from 1981 have been included in the form of the original 7” mixes, “Dole Age”, “Free Speech”, “Run Come Girl” and the aforementioned second version of “Wicked Dem”. Unfortunately, a lack of space precluded the longer 12” workouts which are well worth tracking down.
1984′s debut album “Takin’ The Strain” donates not only it’s title track, but also “Lick and Run” and “Ah What You Seh”, all well-rehearsed favourites of the band’s live appearances back then.
What might be termed a comeback album and their first recordings after reforming, 2013′s “I-Surrection” provides four tracks with “Greetings and Salutations”, “Hey Yout’”, “Things Ah Get Tough” and “Help Yourself”. The album is completed with three tracks from last years extremely well received “Don’t Play with Fyah” release, “Talkin’ Revolution”, “She Looks Like Reggae” and “Relijan” which proved something of a hit last year garnering strong radio play across Europe. These three tracks demonstrate that even after forty years Talisman continue to innovate and improve with age.
“Nothing Change” (The Best of Talisman 1977-2018) is released by Sugar Shack Records on CD and digital platforms on 25th May 2018, distributed by Shellshock and available from good retailers worldwide, it provides the perfect introduction to one of the best reggae bands Britain has ever produced.
TITLE: “Nothing Change” (The Best of Talisman 1977-2018)
RELEASE DATE: 25th May 2018
LABEL: Sugar Shack Records
DISTRIBUTION: Shellshock / Discovery
CAT NO: FOD124CD
2. Wicked Dem
3. Takin’ The Strain
4. Dole Age
5. Talkin’ Revolution
6. She Look Like Reggae
7. Greetings and Salutations
8. Ah Wah You Seh
9. Free Speech
10. Run Come Girl
11. Culture (Revelation Rockers)
12. Hey Yout’
13. Help Yourself
14. Jah Praises (Revelation Rockers)
15. Lick and Run
16. Things Ah Get Tough
17. Wicked Dem (Revelation Rockers)
LAID BLAK ‘About Time’
by Laid Blak | Cat No. FOD125CD
Bristol’s Laid Blak have trailed a unique path through the music jungle and picked up influential friends on the way. They don’t come much bigger these days than this key ally – Ed Sheeran. The red-haired one is a big fan, so much so that he used a section of the band’s earlier signature tune, ‘My Eyes Are Red’, in one of his own album chart busting songs and to close his shows.
It’s a useful thing to have in the creative locker, but Laid Blak’s new second full album, ‘About Time’, more than stands on its’ own merits. Core members, DJ Bunjy and MC Joe Peng, easily use every strand of elements that turn their ears and make a musical cocktail that is heady and delicious. There’s something for everyone, regardless of age or musical taste on ‘About Time’. It comfortably straddles styles that cover a range of bases in contemporary reggae music. And most of the time it’s anything but laid back!
£9.00 + Delivery
Sure, the breezy album opener ‘Cool Dude’ is more low-key, the band taking the brave step of introducing themselves here with a track that is programmed riddims, rattling percussion, piano, keyboards and restrained, jazzy, minimal bass! It’s – well – cool, but filled with humour, whistling, street observed lyrics, scatter-fire vocals and am easy confidence that radiates. But after that the fare on offer heats up, seeing a glorious classic dancehall style tussle on ‘Mic Man’ with the fabulously UPFUL and agile vocals from Tita Lau adding a winning dimension. The guest female singers – Tita and the equally dextrous Tanya Lacey – add a soulful and playful dimension to other up-tempo blasters like ‘It’s A Pity’, ‘Hold On’, and ‘Serious’ which head out into anything from lovers rock to a sleng teng, old school step it, rub a dub, wrap it up, mash it groove with fat horns, melodica, wailing guitar, sound system busting bass and kicking rhythms.
There is some serious business attended to in ‘Changing’, which illustrates how priorities change in life, and how in ‘No Way Out’ and the darker, more militant Aswad era take in ‘I Feel It’, that life isn’t easy. But that period of reflection is a temporary break as it’s always the contrast of celebrating life in the cheeky, chatty Smiley Culture vibe of ‘Little Bit of This’, and the Mediterranean holiday romance possibilities in ‘Fatal Attraction’. Fresh, fun and fabulous while flowing with great tunes, this is an irresistible album of the band’s distinctive brand of street soul. It’s so powerful that the band felt the need to do a rush release of it! This is music that just can’t be contained or limited. Laid Blak don’t fail in their objective to bring ‘a fun filled sunshine dance music that keeps your feet moving and your face smiling.’ So, bang on cue, spring and summer is a’ coming, and about time too! Fire up the barbeque, slap on the jerk chicken to the flames, grab an ice cold Red Stripe and put on ‘About Time’! Let the party begin!
“About Time” is released by Sugar Shack Records on CD and digital platforms on 6th April 2018, distributed by Shellshock and available from good retailers worldwide.
ARTIST: Laid Blak
TITLE: “About Time”
RELEASE DATE: 6th April 2018
LABEL: Sugar Shack Records
DISTRIBUTION: Shellshock / Discovery
CAT NO: FOD125CD
ROYAL SOUNDS ‘Love EP’
by Royal Sounds | Cat No. FOD121V
Coloured Vinyl EP (Strictly Limited Edition)
Released 23rd February 2018
With their debut album, “Burning Inspiration” garnering high praise and strong reviews, together with highly acclaimed performances supporting Natty on his 2017 UK tour, the future is indeed looking bright for Royal Sounds and UK reggae.
January 26th sees the band finish their first UK Headline tour at London’s Borderline Club and to celebrate such a momentous occasion, Sugar Shack Records have decided to release ‘Love’ as a radio single.
The track is suitably upbeat and has the positive message of ‘Love will save the day!’ How the world needs that message in 2018.
£9.00 + Delivery
Then as a collector’s item, Sugar Shack release a strictly limited 12” on February 23rd but rather than using the previously released album version of ‘Love’, the masters have been handed over to label mate Compendulum to work his usual magic.
Having started his career in reggae more than three decades ago, Compendulum brings years of experience to compliment the youthful enthusiasm and undoubted natural talent of Royal Sounds, having most recently worked his magic on tracks from Capital Letters and Black Symbol.
The results of the collaboration are four exclusive mixes; the A side gives us “Compendulum Mix”, a vocal mix that gives a different emphasis to the individual elements, partnered with ”Drub A Drub” which is something of a drum and bass version with guitar. Side B takes things in a heavier direction starting with a “Dubplate Mix” and rounding things off rather nicely with the sparse stripped back dub of the “Drub A Drub Mix” taking the original guitar line and contrasting it with some heavy drum and bass which to this listener is reminiscent of early eighties Sly and Robbie at their best.
Compendulum’s mixes use the latest technology, but are firmly anchored in reggae’s long history, he adds elements, but does so subtly enhancing the core strengths of the track and giving each of the mixes that unmistakeable Compendulum feel.
With a limited pressing of just 300 copies Royal Sounds “Love” 12 inch is released by Sugar Shack Records on February 23rd, distributed by Shellshock via Discovery and all good reggae dealers worldwide.
RTIST: Royal Sounds
TITLE: “Love EP” (Compendulum Mixes)
RELEASE DATE: 23rd February 2018
LABEL: Sugar Shack Records
CAT NO: FOD121V
TRACKLISTING: Side A : Love / Love (Drub-A-Drub)
Side B: Love (Dubplate Mix) / Love (Drub-A-Dub Remix)
ROYAL SOUNDS ‘Message Music’
by Royal Sounds | Cat No. FOD117
As reggae music rapidly approaches it’s fiftieth birthday, far from being a tired and spent genre it finds itself rejuvenated and invigorated by a new generation of internationally successful artists such as Chronixx, Protoje, Raging Fyah and Alborosie to name but a few. New British talent is often overlooked but Royal Sounds aim to change that and put British reggae firmly back on the map starting with their new single “Message Music”.
At their core, Royal Sounds are a family based unit formed by brothers Ajani and Gyasi. Together with cousin Hannibal and Ras Sempah, the brothers have an impeccable reggae pedigree as their father Ras Alkebu was lead guitarist for the legendary Prince Lincoln Thomson’s Royal Rasses. He started his sons on a musical path at an early age and over the past decade, the brothers have gained much experience backing numerous leading reggae artists in shows across Europe.
The brothers formed Royal Sounds in London in 2012 aiming to spread a message of unity and positivity through the medium of modern roots reggae. Since then they have not only mastered their craft by backing other musicians, but also learned several additional instruments and acquired the production skills required to make the band a self-contained unit. The years of practice have been put to good effect and the band now have more than enough material recorded to release their debut album “Burning Inspiration”. The album will drop in the coming months, but for now by way of an introduction, they are releasing “Message Music” as their debut single and hopefully the first of many releases on Sugar Shack Records.
“Message Music” may be seen as something of a manifesto for Royal Sounds, full of inspiration and positivity it’s upbeat, catchy and dare one say it – ‘commercial’ enough to be a Summer hit. Yet the lyrics also ask serious questions, “are you conscious or not?” but its seriousness is tempered with humour. This is a band for the future and although the production is bang up to date, it also maintains its links to reggae’s glorious past with the brothers paying homage to the music’s rich history, a history that they are obviously totally immersed in, with classic touches such as the horn riffs by the legendary ‘Patrick Matic. Aba Ariginal’ – Matic Horns.
The album has been recorded between Jamaica (Anchor Recording Studios) and Royal Sounds Studio in London.
Hannibal – Vocals
Ras Sempah – Vocals
Gyasi Crosdale – Drums and Guitars
Ajani McKenzie – Bass and Keyboards
Patrick Matic. Aba Ariginal – Trumpet
Mixed by Gyasi Crosdale
Produced by Royal Sounds
Mastered by Marrik ‘MLD Music’ Shearer
“Message Music” is released by Sugar Shack Records on 25th August 2017 and is available as a digital single on all leading platforms, the band’s debut album “Burning Inspiration” will follow on October 27th with a full release across all formats 2xLP, CD and Digital
ARTIST: Royal Sounds
TITLE: “Message Music”
RELEASE DATE: 25th August 2017
LABEL: Sugar Shack Records
DISTRIBUTION: Shellshock / The Orchard
CAT NO: FOD117
ROYAL SOUNDS ‘Burning Inspiration’
by ROYAL SOUNDS | Cat No. FOD118
Released as a Limited Edition, numbered 2xLP, CD and Digital Download on October 27th 2017
During the last few years Sugar Shack Records alongside our sister labels Bristol Archive Records and Reggae Archive Records, have had the privilege of releasing great music old and new from some of Britain’s greatest reggae bands including Talisman, Capital Letters, Steel Pulse, Black Symbol and Black Roots. With our signing of Royal Sounds, we truly believe we have a new British band worthy of standing alongside such esteemed company and also a band that will carry reggae music forward for years to come; this really is a very important debut album.
£9.00 + Delivery
Standard jewel case CD (8 page booklet)
CD (Limited Edition)
£10.00 + Delivery
200 copies only in a numbered Gatefold sleeve exclusive to the website
£22.00 + Delivery
Limited edition numbered 300 copies only 2x LP
Royal Sounds are a young family based band consisting of brothers Ajani and Gyasi who formed the band in 2012 and their cousin Hannibal, joined by Ras Sempah. Ajani and Gyasi’s father Ras Alkebu, was lead guitarist for the legendary Prince Lincoln Thompson’s Royal Rasses. The brothers have followed in their father’s footsteps from an early age, learning their musical craft and gaining essential experience by backing many leading reggae artists in live shows across the UK and Europe. Having served such an in-depth apprenticeship, mastering several instruments, learning production skills and perfecting their song writing, Royal Sounds are ready to showcase their message to the world with “Burning Inspiration”.
This is an album with consistent themes. Royal Sounds write songs about what they see around them in London and the wrong direction so many of their contemporaries seem to choose in life. They write about the Rastafari faith that underpins their lives and music, about spiritual enlightenment and the eternal roots themes of repatriation, Babylon and wrongdoers. These themes knit together into a single coherent album that brings roots reggae bang up to date, coupled with a social relevance it’s rarely had during the least three decades.
“Burning Inspiration” is nothing short of a manifesto to seek enlightenment and embrace the spiritual path of Rastafari whilst rejecting the materialism and greed the youth and others are encouraged to embrace by a brainwashing (Babylonian) system. Songs like “Departure”, “Look How Long”, “Message Music” and “Natty In London” are all aimed at the band’s youthful contemporaries, find the right path, don’t be distracted by material possessions and earthly pleasures, seek enlightenment instead.
A Rastafari message percolates through the songs, “Departure” calls the youths in the future needing to find the right path, “Fight For Your Rights” sees them becoming UK soldiers in Jah army, “Love” celebrates the rule of Jah Rastafari in positive, upbeat and highly catchy style. Likewise “Message Music” encourages one to seek enlightenment and free up your mind!
The roots reggae staple of repatriation gets fresh impetus with “The Motherland”, it’s traditional themes reinforced by a nice use of Ray Careless alongside Patrick Matic horns in classic reggae style, “No Amnesia” meanwhile deals with the misappropriation of Africa’s wealth and cultural heritage as well as a call to learn about its history.
Evildoers are given short shrift in the anthemic “Vampire Slayer” sticking a musical lightning stick into the vampire’s heart. “Pied Piper” deals with those who wish to control us while “Fyah” attacks the whole Babylonian system seeking to cleanse the earth with an unquenchable fire before it can be reborn fresh and pure. The album concludes with “You Can Do Anything” a mellow slice of upbeat positivity, take control of your life and you can do anything you want. “Burning Inspiration” is a bonus track on the CD and Digital.
This is an album for both the present and the future, it’s themes and production are of the moment whilst still being true to reggae’s illustrious heritage, a heritage with which the band are totally at home. There’s not a weak moment among the thirteen tracks and the band not only play with skill, but also a refreshingly genuine belief in what they do and their message. This album is a statement of intent that is sure to cause quite a stir with reggae fans worldwide, definitely one of the year’s highlights.
Royal Sounds “Burning Inspiration” is released by Sugar Shack Records on the 27th of October 2017, available on limited edition high quality double vinyl LP, CD and as a digital download, distributed by Shellshock/SRD and available form good retailers and on digital platforms worldwide.
ARTIST: Royal Sounds
TITLE: “Burning Inspiration”
RELEASE DATE: 27th October 2017
LABEL: Sugar Shack Records
DISTRIBUTION: Shellshock / SRD
CAT NO: FOD118V and FOD118CD
BARCODE: 5052571072912 / 5052571072929
2. Natty In London
3. Vampire Slayer
5. No Amnesia
6. Message Music
7. Fight For Your Rights
8. Look How Long
9. The Motherland
10. Pied Piper
12. You Can Do Anything (Manifestation)
13. Burning Inspiration
CAPITAL LETTERS ‘Judgement Day’
by Capital Letters | Cat No. FOD116V
New 12” EP (Strictly Limited Edition)
Released 1st September 2017
Capital Letters followed up their well received return to live touring by releasing brand new music with 2015′s “Wolverhampton” and it’s dub counterpart. Since then, they’ve continued to perform their authentic brand of British reggae to enthusiastic audiences across Europe as well as at home in the UK. Despite a busy touring schedule, the band found time to write and record new material. Fans will be glad to know that a brand new album is in the pipeline, but we thought we’d treat everyone to a tasty appetiser in the shape of brand new track “Judgement Day” released as a limited edition four track vinyl 12”.
£10 + Delivery
Capital Letters were formed more than forty years ago and so it seemed appropriate to entrust the mixing of “Judgement Day” to someone with similar longevity in reggae, Bristol reggae stalwart Chris Potter, better known by his pseudonym Compendulum. This isn’t the first meeting between Compendulum and Capital Letters, Chris previously remixed the band’s “Jah Music” for his eponymous compilation album released in 2016.
Given such a strong track to work with, Chris has kept things simple serving up double helpings of vocal and dub aiming for the feel of exclusive dub plate mixes. The vocals carry the deep message of roots reggae at it’s best, repent, repent, repent! JB’s vocals fit perfectly the serious theme, “do some good today, good will follow you”, if you want redemption then live a good life; the biblical imagery and Rastafarian message is underpinned by deep, deep bass and propulsive percussion.
Both dub mixes reject modern gimmickry and are firmly planted in the classic old school dub mould, bass lines, percussion and stereo effects to the fore whilst making good use of the apocalyptic feel of the vocals. To this listener, “Drub A Drub Version 4” sounds like something of a homage to early eighties Sly and Robbie or at least something influenced by their dub workouts and for me that’s no bad thing, the fact that Compendulum’s mix is reminiscent of the rhythm twins is no mean complement.
This is a twelve inch that works on multiple levels; it’s a classic slice of Capital Letters to keep their fans happy until the full album drops. Its great roots reggae vocals, its classic dub mixing and more than enough weight to keep all sound men happy, a record that will appeal to everyone.
“Judgement Day” four track is released as a limited vinyl 12” and digital download on 1st September 2017, distributed by Shellshock Distribution available from all good retailers worldwide and on all good digital platforms.
TALISMAN meets DUBKASM ‘She Look Like Reggae’
by Talisman | Cat No. FOD115V
TALISMAN meets DUBKASM
‘She Look Like Reggae’
New 7” Single (Strictly Limited Edition)
Released 26th May 2017.
When it came to choosing the second release from their new album “Don’t Play With Fyah”, Bristol Reggae legends Talisman decided to keep things local and let fellow Bristolians and legends in their own right, Dubkasm, have their pick of the album masters to imprint with their signature ‘sound system friendly’ style.
Dubkasm chose to rework “She Look Like Reggae”, taking the characteristic Talisman band sound and stripping it away, honing in on just the lyrics, they needed to change the song’s vibe entirely and re-clothe it in new dance hall finery. The vocal is remoulded as a heavy roots cut propelled by a steppers drum riddim echoing those lyrics that have been chosen. After a slow build, the track moves along with the momentum of a juggernaut guaranteed to fill the dance floor; it drops into a dub workout finishing with a touch of distortion as though heard through a big stack.
The dub side does exactly what it says on the label updating the classic Talisman band sound to a more sparse and minimalist one that will sound great in a dance. This is a record that will appeal equally to fans of Talisman and Dubkasm as well as the wider reggae audience.
Naturally “She Look Like Reggae” Dubkasm vocal and dub could only be released on the soundman format of choice, the 7” vinyl single in a strictly limited edition and is released on Sugar Shack Records on 26TH May 2017 distributed by Shellshock/ SRD and available from all good retail outlets.
TITLE: “She Look Like Reggae” (Dubkasm remix)
RELEASE DATE: 26th May 2017
LABEL: Sugar Shack Records
DISTRIBUTION: Shellshock / SRD
CAT NO: FOD115V
- She Look Like Reggae (Dubkasm Vocal)
- She Look Like Reggae (Dubkasm Dub)
TALISMAN ‘Don’t Play with Fyah’
by Talisman | Cat No. FOD114CD / FOD114V
Limited Edition LP (500 copies)
Pressed on beautiful clear vinyl with Colour Insert and includes limited edition signed poster from the band.
Comes with an 8 page booklet.
£9 + Delivery
£16 + Delivery
Don't Play with Fyah Bundle
£22 + Delivery
A copy of the ‘Don’t Play with Fyah’ CD
A copy of the ‘Don’t Play with Fyah’ (Limited Edition) LP – clear vinyl with Insert
Signed limited edition poster
Talisman’s new album “Don’t Play with Fyah” is a revelation. Most bands with a history that stretches back four decades are content to go through the motions, their creative peak somewhere in the past, not Talisman. Their new album includes some of the strongest material they’ve ever recorded, with seven brand new songs and the corresponding dub counter parts; this is their finest album to date.
With such strong material we knew we had to pull out all the stops when it came to the final mixes and who better than legendary musician, producer, engineer and all round British reggae genius Dennis Bovell (Matumbi, Steel Pulse, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Aswad, Madness, Orange Juice, The Slits, The Pop Group, Arcade Fire, Joss Stone) who has taken the songs to the next level and given us the strongest British reggae album in years.
The album kicks off with “Relijan”, a roots anthem with lyrics that resonate with contemporary relevance whilst the music has the timeless feel of the best seventies roots. This track raises the game for Talisman and puts them on par with such British greats as Aswad, Steel Pulse and Misty in Roots at their best; without doubt destined to be seen as a classic of the genre.
The pace and the lyrical intent doesn’t let up as we start “Talkin’ Revolution” which for long time fans of the band is a real treat; a brand new song yet imbued with the feel and vibes of early eighties Talisman. It would not have felt out of place in their sets during those years and yet, this bridge between the past and present manages to surpass what went before, a real achievement and another certain future favourite for fans.
“She Look like Reggae” is a charming piece of observational song writing that rewards repeated listening with hidden depths and also provides a good opportunity to mention the very welcome use of a full horn section on some of these tracks. There’s something right about Talisman with horns that once again ties their long distinguished musical heritage in with the present.
“Don’t Play with Fyah” is another strong tune with a different style of vintage feel and also lends its title to the album. It is followed in a similar vein by “Hear No Evil” and “Racism Never Sleep” rounding off a trio of songs carrying a warning message, those messages perhaps being more relevant now than at any time this century.
Rounding off the vocals with something of a change of pace is “Wheel and Come Again”, a joyful and upbeat song that has a pop sensibility but in the best sense; a song that will appeal to a wide audience.
It’s hard to overstate Dennis Bovell’s contribution to British music, reggae in particular and we can’t think of anyone more qualified to mix these tracks. Dub mixes really are his forte, with more than four decades of experience mixing the best in British dubs. The seven dub versions here, deliver in every way, true dub re-imaginings and not mere afterthoughts. Dennis has refashioned them into alternative mixes, shifting focus, taking whole new pathways as he navigates the multi-tracks, sometimes familiar, sometimes with an entirely new emphasis. These dubs happily stand on their own merits and let’s hope that this is just the first of much collaboration with the great Dennis Bovell.
In addition to the 14 track CD and digital download version, there is also a limited edition vinyl LP featuring four of the vocals and their corresponding dub versions, Talisman’s “Don’t Play with Fyah” is released by Sugar Shack Records on March 17th 2017. Distribution by Shellshock/ SRD and available from all good retailers worldwide.
2. Talkin’ Revolution
3. She Look Like Reggae
4. Don’t Play with Fyah
5. Hear No Evil
6. Racism Never Sleep
7. Wheel and Come Again
8. Relijan Dub
9. Revolutionary Dub
10. She Look Like Dub
11. Don’t Play With Dub
12. Hear No Dub
13. Racism Never Dub
14. Wheel and Dub Again
Limited Edition LP
2. Relijan Dub
3. She Look Like Reggae
4. She Look Like Dub
1. Talkin’ Revolution
2. Revolution Dub
3. Don’t Play with Fyah
4. Don’t Play with Dub
TITLE: “Don’t Play with Fyah”
RELEASE DATE: 17th March 2017
LABEL: Sugar Shack Records
DISTRIBUTION: Shellshock / SRD
CAT NO: FOD114CD / FOD114V
BARCODE: 5052571069523 / 5052571069516
COMPENDULUM – Various Artists
by Various Artists | Cat No. FOD112CD
Released on CD and Digital Download 10th June 2016
Reggae has been around for nearly fifty years and as such, it’s rare to find an album that takes a truly new and unique approach to the music, but that is exactly what “Compendulum” does. This album isn’t a compilation, it’s not a remix project, it’s not the vision of one producer or musician, it’s not old and it’s not new, yet it is also in part all of those things and most importantly totally fresh and enjoyable.
£8.00 + Delivery
As someone who played in both Zion Band and Talisman, it was only natural that Bristol Archive Records head, Mike Darby would establish contact with Chris, which led to Mike giving Chris access to various masters to see what he could come up with. The results are now available for everyone to hear on “Compendulum”, a 16 track compilation of Chris’ take on how some old and new, familiar and unfamiliar tracks should sound. Mike gave Chris free reign and thirty years outside of the music business has given him an entirely fresh approach to mixing. He doesn’t try and make them sound vintage, he doesn’t follow any fashion, he just follows his instincts and they are spot on.Six of the tracks are from Birmingham’s Black Symbol which are the earliest recordings on “Compendulum” and date from the early 1980s. Whilst we were compiling Black Symbol’s album, we realised there were several unreleased recordings missing and whilst searching for these we came across additional unmixed tracks on a 2” tape which is the source for the four vocals and two corresponding dubs. The resulting mixes are quite straight but timeless, taking Black Symbol in a mellower and laid back direction, emphasising the beauty in their music although “Jah Children Come First” is given the urgency it deserves.
The other vintage recordings are those by Prince Green aka Drummie, not only did Chris have carte blanche he also had to add various missing parts to the incomplete and unmixed session tapes. Drummie grew up in Kingston Jamaica, surrounded by music, his elder brother being a member of the Slickers. Moving to England he eventually settled in Bristol where he lived for many years collaborating with the Moonflowers and Henry and Louis, as well as toasting with his unique voice at many a local reggae night. Something of Drummies’ MC voice can be heard on “Cross Country Driver” where his Prince Far I vocal style is fused with a break beat rhythm to create a hypnotic hybrid, whilst “Slave” is heavier and hints at the mental illness with which Drummie battled.
Septuagenarian Bristol reggae legend Bunny Marrett provides four tracks recorded in 2014/15, including an update of “Bristol Rock” which he penned in the late seventies and is best known for having been recorded by Black Roots. This version has a very different feel and develops into a sparse dub workout. Bunny spent many years performing as a Jazz vocalist and that influence is most evident in the jazzy track “Noise” whereas for its dub counterpart, Chris takes us beyond both reggae and jazz with his enticing sparse soundscape; we also get another dub bonus with his version of “Mystic Man”
Fellow local legend Jashwha Moses also started his career back in the seventies. Chris has chosen a vocal and dub reworking for “What a Situation” the first track from Jashwha’s latest album, 2015′s “The Rising”. The final tracks are also from the Sugar Shack back catalogue. We return to the Midlands with Wolverhampton’s number one reggae export Capital Letters and “Jah Music” the opening track on their 2015 album “Wolverhampton”.
“Compendulum” is a unique album which sees Chris exploring the Bristol/Reggae Archive and Sugar Shack catalogues old and new, released and unreleased in a new approach to the various artists’ compilation and is released on CD and digital download by Sugar Shack Records on 10th June 2016 available from all good retailers worldwide.
Black Symbol – Feeling Irie
Jashwha Moses – What a Situation
Capital Letters – Jah Music
Black Symbol – Jah Children Come First
Prince Green (Drummie) – Cross Country Driver
Black Symbol – Jah and I
Bunny Marrett – Noise
Prince Green (Drummie) – Slave
Black Symbol – Trouble Trouble
Bunny Marrett – Bristol Rock (Extended Version)
Black Symbol – Feeling Irie (Drub A Dub)
Jashwha Moses – What a Situation (Drub A Dub)
Capital Letters – Jah Music (Drub A Dub)
Bunny Marrett Mystic Man (Drub A Dub)
Black Symbol – Trouble Trouble (Drub A Dub)
Bunny Marrett – Noise (Drub A Dub)
ARTIST: Various Artists
RELEASE DATE: 10th June 2016
LABEL: Sugar Shack Records
DISTRIBUTION: Shellshock / SRD
FORMAT: CD and Digital Download
CAT NO: FOD112CD
GENRE: Reggae, Dub WEBSITE: www.sugarshackrecords.co.uk
PRESS CONTACT: Mike Darby, E: email@example.com / T: 07885 498 402
Capital Letters – Wolverhampton in Dub
by Capital Letters | Cat No. FOD109CD
Released on CD and Digital Download 16th October 2015
Earlier this year, Capital Letters released “Wolverhampton” their first new album in thirty years which received universal praise and outstanding reviews. Vive Le Rock magazine compared it to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” calling it “a barnstormer of an album that instantly get’s under your skin and grows in depth and stature with each listen”. Reggaeville suggested it was “a hot contender for album of the year 2015”, Uber Rock’s reviewer stated: “There is not a weak track on this album, in fact I would go as far as to say this is potentially the best reggae LP I have reviewed so far!!!!! Definitely the strongest album I have heard from the genre in a very long time”. Record Collector praised the songs serious heavy messages awarding the album four stars.
£8.00 + Delivery
With such fantastic reviews and an equally positive reaction from fans, we decided not to delay any longer with the release of the album’s dub counterpart “Wolverhampton in Dub”. For this version, we shine the spotlight on mixing engineer and Sugar Shack regular Dave ‘Oldwah’ Sandford who was given free reign and has produced something to be proud of.
Dave was really looking forward to mixing this album as in his words; “the quality of the recordings engineered by Noel Brown were superb as was the musicianship from Capital Letters. Even working on the vocal tracks I sort of knew what I was going to do and kept all the ideas locked in my head.” For Dave the dub mixes gave him the opportunity to make something out of the secondary instruments: “The harmless little clav stabs can suddenly be expanded, the mild refrain of a flute can be worked on to become a major part of a track giving an eeriness over a stripped down drum and bass. On “Thanks and Praise” the picking guitar really got to me, so catchy and insistent so it was used to the maximum, making it the featured instrument.”
“I had a free licence, so if I wanted the kick drum to sound like a wrecking ball demolishing a building I could and DID. I wanted the rhythm guitar to kick like a knife, the bass to pound your stomach and the bubble organ to sound like a mutant dragon breathing. On these dubs I just went with what I wanted to hear, of course there are the norms for dub albums, but I wanted to take it further, trying to do things that haven’t been done. That’s a difficult thing to do as the path is well trodden.”
Dave has more than succeeded, he’s achieved something unique. This album has echoes from the entire history of dub reggae in all its incarnations, snatches of music that sound familiar and yet it also manages to forge that most difficult of things, a new direction for the genre. This is Dave’s strongest work for us and will no doubt gain him a flurry of new fans; ‘Oldwah’ is becoming the dub master.
Capital Letters “Wolverhampton in Dub” features 17 tracks including three alternate versions and is released on CD and digital download by Sugar Shack Records on 16TH October 2015. The last words should belong to Dave ‘Oldwah’ Sandford: “I can say that I had a really fantastic time creating the dub counterpart to “Wolverhampton”. I’m really hoping that this album will appeal to those who like dub and also to those who don’t, ’cause there’s something in there for everyone.”
JASHWHA MOSES ‘THE RISING’
by Jashwha Moses | Cat No. FOD108CD/FOD108V
Released on LP, CD and Digital Download 22nd June 2015
‘Jashwha delivers formidable roots reggae the kind that dominated Jamaica’s sound systems in the mid to late 70’s’
‘The impression of a Reggae Auteur in the same league as Pablo Moses or Kiddus I’
£8.00 + Delivery
£13 + Delivery
£16 + Delivery
Vinyl Limited Edition Red Vinyl (50 copies only) includes insert
9 tracks cut by Leon at Music House (Track 1-9 from the cd/digital)
Includes Limited edition signed poster by Jashwha
£23 + Delivery
Vinyl Limited Edition Red Vinyl (50 copies only) includes insert
12 track CD
Signed numbered poster (50 copies only)
Having taken more than thirty five years to deliver his first original album, Jashwha Moses has taken heed of the overwhelmingly positive response from fans old and new and wasted little time in recording a brand new follow up to 2013′s “No War on Earth”. The new album titled “The Rising” continues to spread the Jahggae message with backing from Full Force and Power and the production side of things once more being undertaken by long term collaborator Mikey Hall.
Building on the success of the previous album and having spent the last two years honing both his performance skills and his songs through a series of well received live shows, Jashwha’s music has progressed and evolved yet, at the same time he delivers more of the same with a selection of roots music infused with his own blend of spirituality.
Particular treats include the songs “Crazy (Version)” and “Nothing to Lose” where Jashwha utilises his falsetto voice to great effect. “Crazy (Version)” in particular, is very reminiscent of Junior Murvin during his classic Black Ark period which in itself is some compliment to Jashwha’s singing ability and Mikey’s production values.
“The Rising” is released by Sugar Shack Records on 22nd June 2015 and is available as a vinyl LP containing nine songs and as a CD and digital download both of which round the number of songs up to an even dozen.
Jahggae has truly arrived – Peace and Love
1. What a Situation
2. Crazy (version)
3. Rise Up
4. No! Not I and I
5. Do Not Weep (A Meditation)
6. People Of Power
7. I Believe
8. Nothing To Lose
9. Bad Situation – (Feat Moonsy v The Masked Musikian)
Additional tracks on cd
10. The Free Bird
11. Jah Time Has Come (Live)
12. Power Crazy People – Stop The War (Live)
Capital Letters – Wolverhampton
by Capital Letters | Cat No. FOD106V / FOD106CD
Released on Vinyl, CD and Digital Download March 23rd 2015
Having reformed in 2013, it hasn’t taken Capital Letters long to get back into their stride and 2015 sees them embarking on a series of European live dates reminiscent of their heyday in the late seventies and early eighties when they were the unofficial UK reggae ambassadors to Europe, constantly touring throughout the Continent.
Capital Letters – ‘Jah Music’
£8.00 + Delivery
£14.00 + Delivery
Bundle of Wolverhampton
£25.00 + Delivery
The package includes:
1. Ten track vinyl album with 5 dubs not on the CD
2. CD with 14 tracks
3. 12″ Vinyl of Wolf mixed by Nick Manasseh and David Rootikal Hill
Special Bundle of Wolverhampton
£38.00 + Delivery
The package includes:
1. Ten track vinyl album with 5 dubs not on the CD
2. CD with 14 tracks
3. 12″ Vinyl of Wolf mixed by Nick Manasseh & David Rootikal Hill
4. 12″ Vinyl of Smokin My Ganja mixed by Nick Manasseh & David Rootikal Hill
5. A3 poster signed by JB and Lukas
6. 7″ vinyl of Jah Muisc mixed by Nick Manasseh & David Rootikal Hill (Special edition limited edition, not released before)
To coincide with the start of these dates, Sugar Shack Records will be releasing the first all new Capital Letters album in thirty years. The band have spent much of the summer in the studio of Noel Browne, Noel only recently relocated to the UK and built his new studio. He’s a former Studio One Band, Taxi Gang and Maytals keyboard player who is perhaps better known as the man behind New Name Music, the studio he set up in 1987 where he was to achieve success with Luciano, Mikey Spice and Jack Radics amongst many, before building Big Ship Recording Studios in 1995 where he worked with Freddie McGregor, The Wailing Souls, Papa San and numerous others. Utilising Noel Browne’s engineering skills, the band recorded 14 songs which were then passed into the safe hands of regular Sugar Shack collaborator Dave ‘Oldwah’ Sandford for final mixing.
our Dates so far confirmed:
- March 20th: Capital Letters at La Grange à Musique ( Creil, 16 Boulevard Salvador Allende 60100, France)
- March 21st : Capital Letters at De Warande ( Warandestraat 42, 2300 Turnhout, Belgium)
- April 2nd: Capital Letters at Le Hangar ( 3-5 Rue Raspail, 94200 Ivry sur Seine, Nr Paris, France)
- April 3rd : Capital Letters at Canal 93, 63 avenue Jean Jaures, 93000 Bobigny, France)
- April 4th Capital Letters at “In Dread We Trust Festival”, Cluses 74300, France)
More dates to follow
The album kicks off with a trio of classic roots tracks, “Jah Music”, a highlight of their live shows, “Wolf” as recently released in a remix form on a Sugar Shack 12” and “Roots Music”. Just when you think the pattern is set, the band turn things around and with a novel approach they continue with a mainly roots themed set, but in a case of an iron fist inside a velvet glove, hard hitting roots messages are underpinned by often upbeat backing. The songs; “Place On Earth”, “Dat Nah Stop”, “False Natty”, “Tell Me What’s Wrong” and “Opportunity” all contain strong messages that may be missed on casual listening with their deceptive, almost too upbeat backing tracks, an unusual approach that shows just how confident and skilled the band are.
It’s not all politics and preaching. One of the songs is a heartfelt tribute to the band’s home town, Wolverhampton in the British Midlands. It was obvious that with Capital Letters strong ties to the City, this was the perfect track to name the album after and so “Wolverhampton” is the album title and will no doubt have more than a few of the band’s overseas fans checking their atlases. A perfect companion piece to “Wolverhampton” is the track “Jamaica” which paints a charming child’s eye picture of the huge changes and culture shock encountered by the children who arrived in Britain to join the windrush generation during the fifties and sixties.
Co vocalist Lukas doesn’t forget his past as a Lovers Rock artist and we are treated to a solitary love song with “Movie Star”. Lukas puts in such a consummate performance, it makes one hope the band will record more material along similar lines in future.
Capital letters are a band at the top of their game; they have maturity, confidence and musicianship to spare. This is a deceptive album, the more you listen the more it reveals the depth of quality within, good on first listen it grows in stature and really rewards repeated plays.
“Wolverhampton” is released by Sugar Shack records on 23rd March 2015 as a digital download and compact disc available from all leading sites and retailers, there will also be a limited edition vinyl album containing the first five tracks along with their accompanying dub mixes.
CD and Digital
1. Jah Music
3. Roots Music
6. Dat Nah Stop
7. Thanks and Praise
8. Try Try Try
9. Tell Me What’s Wrong
10. Movie Star
13. False Natty
14. A Place on Earth
1. Jah Music
3. Roots Music
1. Jah Music Dub
2. Wolf Dub
3. Roots Music Dub
4. Opportunity Dub
5. Wolverhampton Dub
CAPITAL LETTERS – Wolf
by CAPITAL LETTERS | Cat No. FOD105V
2014 has been a comeback year for legendary British reggae band Capital Letters. Reforming after three decades they have performed at well received gigs in England and France, released the 1980s recorded “Reality” album and a truly excellent 12” remix EP on our sister label Reggae Archive Records.
£6.99 + Delivery
Side B provides the perfect compliment with some mellow dub vibes with “Wolf (Rootikal Dubwise)” a proper vintage style dub mix. David Hill and Nick Manasseh then strip the track back to its rhythmic essentials with “Wolf (Rootikal Deep Riddim Dub)”. Four excellent cuts, something to please all roots and dub fans and an ideal taster for next year’s brand new album release.
Capital Letters “Wolf” on Sugar Shack Records is released as a limited edition 12” vinyl single and digital download on 24th November 2014 and will be available from all usual outlets.
JEAN McLEAN ‘Everlasting’
by Jean McLean | Cat No. FOD103CD
Jean McLean’s solo album “Everlasting” has been a long time coming. It has been thirty years since her vocals and musicianship were such a highlight of Sceptre’s “Essence of Redemption Ina A Dif’rent Styley”, (Reissued on Reggae Archive Records), but releasing reggae has always been a struggle and talent doesn’t always equal opportunity.
8.00 + Delivery
Fortunately, 2014 has seen everything fall into place. Jean had begun working and recording with Ecks Production’s Paul Horton, one of the UK’s best when it comes to engineering and producing reggae. As well as Grammy nominations under his belt for previous work with Steel Pulse and Pato Banton, Paul also produced a previous Sugar Shack release, Black Symbol’s excellent “Journey” album.
We originally met Jean to discuss licensing the Sceptre album but when we heard that she had been working on an album with Paul, we were very keen to hear it and “Everlasting” was everything we had hoped for and so much more. We jumped at the opportunity to release such a great contemporary recording.
Although Sceptre folded in 1987, Jean has never given up music and has continued to hone both her vocal and song writing skills. The resulting album is something of an instant classic and should finally get Jean the attention her talent deserves. Of the nine vocals, seven are original compositions written by Jean. The album gets off to an up-tempo start with “Meant 4 U”, a classic love song with a timeless feel. We then switch to a roots vibe with Jean’s updated version of a song from the Sceptre catalogue “Ancestors”. The original featured on “Black Symbol Present Handsworth Explosion Volume One” and was a standout track. This updated twenty first century version is equally outstanding and shows that Jean feels at ease whether singing about matters of the heart or more political themes.
“Reggaebaby” might be regarded as Jean’s theme song as she joyfully sings: “This is my life if you know what I mean, to be a reggae singer is a lifelong dream”; this album is surely a step in Jean fulfilling that dream. The rest of the album returns to themes of love and romance. “Me on My Own” has the feel of an instant classic, a great original from Jean, catchy and up-tempo. “Love Me Baby” is another upbeat track with a great vintage feel. “Higher”, “Never gonna” and “So Close” round up the original numbers and maintain the theme of catchy, well written songs.
For good measure, we are treated to a couple of covers but tunes of the highest order with Bob Marley’s “Waiting In Vain” and Dennis Brown’s “Things in Life”. Both have been nicely brought up to date and given Jean’s unique take, feeling totally at home amongst her original compositions. As a bonus, six of the tracks are joined by their dub counterparts ably mixed by Paul Horton and there is also an instrumental version of “Waiting In Vain”.
Jean McLean’s “Everlasting” is a fantastic debut from Birmingham’s best kept secret and a true reggaebaby. It is scheduled for release on 20th October 2014 by Sugar Shack Records and will be available on CD and digital download from all usual outlets.
1. Meant 4 U
3. Me On My Own
5. Waiting In Vain
6. Love Me Baby
8. Never Gonna
9. So Close
10. Things In Life
11. Meant 4 Dub
12. Dubbing The Ancestors
13. Me On My Own Dub
15. Waiting In Vain Instrumental
16. Higher Dub
17. Never Gonna Dub
by Talisman | Cat No. FOD104V
Thirty five years since their formation is quite a milestone and to celebrate their achievement Talisman, will spend the latter part of 2014 touring throughout the UK on their Dole Age Tour in the main as support to Neville Staple. Talisman have also found time to write and record new material and to coincide with the tour they will be releasing a limited edition 12” vinyl EP.
£7.99 + Delivery
In many ways Britain in 1979 was a different world with strikes and a newly elected Thatcher government. You bought your music on vinyl records from Record shops, the internet was futuristic, downloading and streaming were beyond imagination and even CDs were years away. Whatever the differences, there are many similarities between 1979 and 2014 especially when it comes to making ends meet and social and political ills, the inspiration for this song, “Nothing Change”.
The A side “Nothing Change” is the band’s vocal take on the song demonstrating that even after thirty five years, a band can improve with age and with its classic reggae sound this is surely up there as one of their best compositions. The inclusion of horns is a nice touch as it harks back to Talisman line-ups of old adding both an extra layer to the sound and emphasising the classic nature of the song.
For the B side, the mixing duties are in the competent hands of Dave “Oldwah” Sandford, whose remix of the band’s current “I-Surrection” album was recently released as the “Oldwah Deconstruction”. Oldwah starts off with the rather splendid “Conquering Lion Dub”. The vocals are entirely renounced in favour of the horn line although at one stage this is joined by the roar of a rather angry sounding lion, hence the title. This heavy dub version is reminiscent of classic dub sounds of the 1970s and is a real treat for all dub loving Talisman fans.
For his second version “Oldwah Rockers Dub,” Oldwah takes the track in a different dubwise direction following a more conventional path and incorporating Dehvan’s vocal parts. All in all this release has three great mixes, each of which stands on its own merits and should appeal to any reggae lover not just those who have already discovered Talisman.
Talisman’s “Nothing Change” is released on 12” Vinyl EP and digital download by Sugar Shack Records on 29th September 2014. The vinyl is available from all good retailers and the download is available on all leading platforms. In addition to the standard black vinyl release in a plain black Disco sleeve, there will also be just 100 copies pressed on yellow vinyl and housed in a specially designed screen printed jacket. This strictly limited version will be exclusively available at the band’s forthcoming shows or directly from the Sugar Shack Records web store while stocks last.
by Talisman | Cat No. FOD102
HIGHLY RATED REGGAE HEROES RELEASE THE SECOND SINGLE FROM THE BRAND NEW ALBUM!
If you are going to record a new roots album then Talisman are certainly the act to follow. – 5/5 Record Collector
For the first time since the 1980s, Bristol Reggae legends Talisman have written and recorded brand new material for their new studio album ‘I-Surrection’ which was released to critical acclaim in September 2013.
The album is available on Limited edition vinyl, CD and digital platforms by Sugar Shack Records.
£3.50 + Delivery
Fresh from a 20 date UK tour supporting legendary ska band The Selecter and as a taster from the album, Sugar Shack are releasing the track ‘Hey Yout’’ as a digital only single before they re-enter the studio in April to rerecord their 1980 Independent Hit ‘Dole Age’ for autumn release.
‘Hey Yout’’ is a great tune in the roots tradition and a perfect introduction to the new album.
Produced in collaboration with Rootikal Productions David Hill, the music has the classic sound of reggae’s peak in the late seventies yet, is a brand new recording with a message that’s just as relevant for the present as it would have been 35 years ago.
Talisman are a band with a unique heritage, ‘Hey Yout’’ brings their story up to date and is released on Itunes and all other digital platforms on the 2nd June 2014.
People ft: Joe Peng (RSD Mix / One Love)
by Daleth Karl | Cat No. FOD101
Limited Edition.100 numbered 2 track cd. Sleeve made by Sam Giles artwork by Nicholas Darby.
£5.00 + Delivery
The newest member of the Sugar Shack family is Daleth Karl who describes himself as a new school reggae artist, drawing on his life experiences to spread a message of love and peace that will bring people together through music. Daleth hails from Solihull a town just south of Birmingham in England’s West Midlands. Coming from a musical family, the young Daleth was always singing and dancing as well as singing in his church’s choir from age 6 to 15 and learning to play instruments. His mother’s love of older music saw him exposed to a wide selection of classic popular music from the 1950s and beyond.
Although he drifted away from music as a teenager, by his early twenties Daleth had once more become involved as he began to MC and sing at drum and bass nights as well as securing a college place to study drama and music. Daleth left college with a diploma in performing arts and acting as well as the experience of recording his first single under his belt.
Around this time Daleth also fully embraced Rastafarianism gaining strength and independence from its teachings. His newly increased spiritual awareness started manifesting itself in his songs, his music growing alongside his spiritual exploration.
At the age of 23 Daleth relocated to France to continue studying music. He also joined a French reggae band Idrenites giving Daleth a platform to deliver his message of peace and unity. The band played numerous gigs around Paris, the live shows helping Daleth to grow in confidence; his time with Idrenites also saw him master the guitar. Although the band went their separate ways, Daleth was signed up by French label Lorsonic who gave him the opportunity to record five songs for his first EP. Since then, Daleth has continued to mature as a writer and performer, his music ranging from the political to a more soulful popular form of reggae.
Daleth’s first release on Sugar Shack is a digital single “People” / “People Dub” and we’ve called in a host of Bristol talent to collaborate. These include Laid Blak’s Joe Peng adding his MC skills, with engineering and production duties taken care of by Chris Potter, former member of both Talisman and Zion Band. For this release, the mixing and additional engineering duties are taken care of by Rob Smith, also a former member of Zion Band but best known as the foundation of Smith & Mighty, More Rockers and here RSD – one of the world’s leading dub step and dub producers.
With so much talent involved, the vocal is an upbeat and catchy burst of pure good vibes reggae guaranteed to appeal to the widest range of listeners whilst the dub version, takes on a slightly darker tone and explores a different musical direction.
The single is released on 28th April 2014 and available to download from iTunes and all leading digital platforms.
by Black Symbol | Cat No. FOD100CD
Set for release on Monday 27th January 2014 on CD via Sugar Shack Records
£9.00 + Delivery
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.
1. I’m Not Afraid
2. Mama Africa
4. Morning Dew
6 What A Joy
7. Nothing For The Poor
8. Let It Shine
9. Jah People
10. Mr. Money Man
11. Bongoman (Version)
12. Not Afraid (Dub)
13. Morning Dew (Version)
14. What A Joy (Version)
Talisman I-Surrection (Oldwah Deconstruction)
by Talisman | Cat No. FOD099
£8.00 + Delivery
When Talisman finished recording their latest album “I-Surrection”, as an addition to the David Hill produced finished release, we decided to give the unmixed master recordings to Dave ‘Oldwah’ Sandford and see what his take would be. Oldwah has previously worked with us, mixing the Vibes album “Reminisce” and was also the man given the job of mixing the unfinished tracks on the soon to be released Capital Letters archive album “Reality”. With 40 years experience as a performing musician and an even longer standing love of reggae, he brings his own unique perspective to the task.
Having talked to the band and hitting it off with fellow bassie Dennison Joseph, Oldwah was keen to produce something that bore his stamp but also pleased the band members. He describes his take on the music as “a piece of vinyl from 1978 taken out of a dusty sleeve”, not slick and clean but having that authentic vibe.
Influenced by the classic dub sounds of albums like “African Dub Chapter 3” and “King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown”, Oldwah’s dubs take you on a journey and as a musician he focuses in on instruments sometimes blending them together to great effect. This is brand new music and yet it absolutely sounds like it was recorded and mixed in downtown Kingston circa 1978.
What Oldwah has given us is an anachronism, a classic seventies dub album recorded and mixed three and a half decades and four and a half thousand miles away from its spiritual home. An album that just grows on you and rewards every new listen revealing a little more each time, no gimmicks or crazy effects, just a producer with an understanding and appreciation for the tracks. If you think you know the “I-Surrection” album then think again, the Oldwah Deconstruction is a remix in the true sense. He may have used the same ingredients, but he’s cooked up an entirely different dish. If you loved David Hill’s main course you really need to sample Oldwah’s dessert with its extra large vintage dub topping and entirely different flavours.
As a bonus, for this release we’ve included some fresh tracks from the band, extra tracks from the “I-Surrection” sessions also given the Oldwah treatment making ten different songs plus two additional mixes, a round dozen dub shots for Talisman fans old and new. Talisman’s “I-Surrection (Oldwah Deconstruction)” will be released on CD and Digital Download by Sugar Shack Records on 14th July 2014.
by Talisman | Cat No. FOD097CD
This album takes the best aspects of reggae’s musical heritage and fashions them into an album that deals with the realities of 2013. Roots reggae is back and the revival starts here! ‘I-Surrection’ is released on CD and Digital platforms on the 30th September 2013
£8.00 + Delivery
Thirty years after they recorded their debut long player, 1984′s ‘Takin The Strain’, Bristol’s roots reggae pioneers Talisman have found enough space in their busy live schedule to record their third studio album, ‘I-Surrection’, to be released via Sugar Shack Records on 30th September.
Having reformed in 2011, Talisman have spent the last two years honing their skills and playing live shows at every opportunity, including the support slot on The Selectors’ recent UK tour. Original core members Dehvan and Dennison have also found the time to write the six new songs that, along with their instrumental and dub counterparts, form this latest twelve track set. It’s hard to escape the economic and political similarities between today and the bands early eighties heyday, so it’s no surprise that all of the songs deal with political or roots themes and resonate with the classic sound of British reggae from the golden age.
The way the music sounds is no modern pastiche; Dehvan and Dennison have been playing together for 35 years and the classic roots sound comes naturally. Likewise, the social conscience they display in their song writing has always been part of the Talisman sound. They are the real deal and this is a reggae album with genuine heritage.
When it comes to getting the right sound, the choice of producer is everything. For this release Talisman have collaborated with Rootikal Productions David Hill, a man who fully understands reggae’s rich history as well as how to get the right sound from modern recordings. Collectively they have achieved one of the best roots reggae albums since its seventies heyday.
From the opening lines of “Greetings and Salutations”, it’s clear that you are in for a treat as the timeless sound of roots reggae bursts forth from the speakers and envelops the listener. Conscious lyrics underpinned by great music, is a winning combination.
With its call to arms, “Stand up and help yourself, stop hoping for things to change, stand up and help yourself”, “Help Yourself” is a call to arms in the anthemic tradition. Talisman haven’t given up the fight, they’ve just been regrouping and with this album they return to the struggle with a full frontal attack.
“Hey Yout” is dedicated to the next generation, those who need to take up the struggle, reminding them that previous generations have trodden the same path, but with patience and a positive attitude they can overcome “Babylon Pressure” and achieve a better future for their world.
“Season For Freeman” propelled along by the addition of some great playing from Matic Horns could almost be a lost gem from the seventies, if its catalogue of black martyrs didn’t include the recent losses of Stephen Lawrence, Trayvon Martin and Smiley Culture. The point that whatever progress society has made some things haven’t changed is subtle but well made.
The album takes an almost Nyahbinghi direction as we “Praise Jah”, an upbeat and joyous track that’s almost hymn like and makes one want to sing along.
“Things a Get Tough” has an almost sixties feel, reinforced by the repetition of the lines “rougher than rough, tougher than tough” lyrics that strongly recall the classic tunes of the rude boy era. Even if they’ve cleverly given a nod to the past the lyrics themselves are just as relevant to today where it’s more about the tough economic situation than which rude boy or singer is the toughest.
Every track comes with its corresponding dub version, skilfully mixed by David Hill for Rootikal Productions and dub in the best sense, where each version stands on its own musical merits as a fully thought out track rather than being a mere afterthought. The sole exception is ‘Hey Yout’ which rather than a full dub workout gets reimagined as a classic sounding melodica version.
Things Ah Get Tough
Greetings and Salutations
Hey Yout’ – Melodica Version
Things A Dub
Greetings and Dubutations
No War on Earth
by Jashwha Moses | Cat No. ARC250CD
Set for release on Monday 8th April 2013 on CD & digital download, through Sugar Shack Records
£8.00 + Delivery
JAHGGAE HAS ARRIVED
Jashwha Moses is back. Having taken nearly three and a half decades between releasing his first single and his first album, last year’s career spanning “Joshua To Jashwha – 30 Years In the Wilderness”, on our sister label Bristol Archive Records, he’s wasted no time in following up its success with an album of brand new material, “No War On Earth” released by Sugar Shack Records. Continuing the themes that have infused his previous material, this is proper roots reggae, music with a strong social and spiritual message spread across nine vocals and six dubs. The music is brand new and yet instantly familiar, due to it’s classic reggae sound shaped by Jashwha’s long term collaborator and producer Mikey Taylor-Hall.
In addition to brand new songs they have also reworked both “Jah Time Has Come” and “Steel” for inclusion on the new set, helping the sense of familiarity. This album symbolizes the birth of Jashwha reggae Jahggae. Jashwha and Mikey have hand picked a new backing band and Jashwha has already started to take these songs on the road winning new fans as well as being a welcome return for those who remember his classic shows of old. 2013 looks like being a great year with many shows in the pipeline to support the new album. Hot on the heels of Black Roots “On the Ground”, Sugar Shack Records continue their quest to bring back proper roots reggae with another outstanding set from Jashwha Moses and Mikey Taylor-Hall, “No War On Earth” is released on 8th April 2013 on CD and digital download, available from all leading retailers.
Jah Time Has Come
by Jashwha Moses | Cat No. FOD096V
Set for release on Monday 18th March 2013 on Limited Edition 12” Vinyl & digital download, through Sugar Shack Records.
£7.50 + Delivery
As it is, the Rootikal crew have already tested its sound system appeal at their own night and it passed with flying colours. It’s a heavy, heavy mix that picks you up and sweeps you along on a four minute spiritual journey. With all this praise for the Rootikal mix, we shouldn’t forget the original mixes are equally brilliant. Both the vocal and dub get a vinyl outing on this 12” providing a totally different, but equally fantastic listening experience from the creators of the music Jashwha Moses and Mikey Taylor-Hall. With more than seventy years of writing and performing reggae between them they certainly know what they are doing and nail both mixes. There are no weak tracks on this record. Jahggae has arrived. As if three strong cuts of “Jah Time Has Come” weren’t enough, we’ve really bumped up the value with both the vocal and dub of “Suffering Is In The Past” from Jashwha’s previous album, “Joshua To Jashwha – 30 Years In The Wilderness”, (Bristol Archive Records). For various reasons we couldn’t include these two excellent tracks on the vinyl release, an oversight that this new Jashwha record has allowed us to correct Released 18th March 2013 on limited edition 12” vinyl from Sugar Shack Records and with five excellent cuts “Jah Time Has Come” is an essential purchase for all reggae fans and sound men.
Year of the Pigbag
by Pigbag | Cat No. FOD095CD
Set for release on Monday 25th March 2013 on CD & digital download, through Sugar Shack Records.
£8.00 + Delivery
Pigbag were part of the first flowering of the Bristol music scene when the City’s musicians were creating their own unique synthesis of styles and finally being noticed by those outside the City. Perhaps if things had worked out differently Pigbag would have stayed together longer continuing to evolve musically and achieving more of the success they deserved. Now they have a second chance. Thirty years after they split up, Sugar Shack Records are extremely pleased to announce that not only are Pigbag back with founding members Chris Lee and Ollie Moore as well as original member Kofi Adu, but they have recorded an album of brand new material entitled “Year of the Pigbag”.
Having spent the intervening years playing with groups as diverse as the Pogues, Abyssinians, Neneh Cherry, Osibisa and Mulato Astatke, the trio of original members were inspired by the re-release of their back catalogue to reform and recruit five new and very talented musicians who shared their vision of fusing African grooves, jazz, latin, funk and dance beats into a heady new cocktail to invigorate the 2010s just as they did the 1980s. With the classic eight piece line-up and full brass section, just as when they started in Bristol, the band’s new material is a joyous fusion of propulsive basslines, catchy horns and irresistible percussion all seamlessly blended into a heady mix that finds your feet tapping along as the urge to dance takes over. I can’t wait to see the band live as this CD is a nonstop dance party of the highest order with echoes of the JBs, Fela Kuti and Sun Ra’s Arkestra yet entirely different and their own unique creation, with music this catchy perhaps 2013 will be the year of Pigbag. “Year of the Pigbag” is released on CD and digital download by Sugar Shack Records on 25th March 2013, available from all good retailers.
On The Ground In Dub
by Black Roots | Cat No. FOD093CD
The Dub album of ‘On The Ground’ set for release on Monday 4th March 2013 on CD & digital download, through Sugar Shack Records / Nubian Records.
United Reggae – ‘On The Ground’ potentially Best Reggae Album of 2012
Mojo – ‘The militant pacifists still packing a fiery punch’ 4/5
£8.00 + Delivery
2012′s “On The Ground” was the first new Black Roots album in more than twenty years and was eagerly received by fans old and new. As well as gaining numerous fantastic reviews, more than three decades after their formation, Black Roots were back as though they’d never been away and their music was equally relevant in the present as it was thirty years ago.
To celebrate the success of “On The Ground” and also to satisfy numerous requests from the band’s fans, Sugar Shack Records in conjunction with Nubian Records, have decided to release the dub counterpart to the album “On The Ground In Dub”.
The dub mixes have been done by Louis Becket, a man who has a long history working with leading reggae bands including Misty In Roots and Culture. He has used those years of experience to craft a dub album worthy of comparison with those from the music’s peak during the 1970s. Recorded with a full band including a horn section, the dubs hark back to that time before digital production and sampling took over. Focusing on the rhythm section with the horns dropping in and out, weaving a new tapestry from the original multi tracks, this is classic dub music of the sort that has been rarely made in the last thirty years, a modern dub classic. Stripped down and rearranged, “On The Ground In Dub” is a worthy release and stands on its own merits as a fine album that will appeal to all fans of dub Equally, those that already love the vocal album will get renewed enjoyment, hearing their favorite songs reshaped with the same authentic sound and attention to detail that have helped “On The Ground” succeed so well.
The 15 track album will be released on 4th March 2013 by Sugar Shack Records as a CD and digital download and will be available from all good outlets.
by Black Roots | Cat No. FOD092V
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
Side A: Black Roots ‘Pompous Way / Dub’ Written by Black Roots Produced by Jeff Spencer & Black Roots Mixed by Louis Becket Engineered by Jeff Spencer at J&J Studio, April 2012 Taken from the album ‘On The Ground’ released Sept 2012 P&C Sugar Shack Records/Nubian Records 2012 Published by Archive Publishing Ltd 2012 FOD092V All Rights Reserved Disco 45
SIDE AA: Black Roots ‘Pompous Way’ (Rootikal Humble Yourself version) Written by Black Roots Remix and additional production by David Hill and Ashley Beedle for Rootikal Productions Additional melodica by Darren Morris Engineered by Darren Morris at Cydonia One, July 2012 P&C Sugar Shack Records/Nubian Records 2012 Published by Archive Publishing Ltd 2012 FOD092V All rights Reserved Disco 45 close
On The Ground
by Black Roots | Cat No. FOD091CD
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”.
£8.00 + Delivery
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.
Sound History Volume One
by AMJ DUB COLLECTIVE | Cat No. FOD090V
Released on 23rd April 2012 via Sugar Shack Records / Bristol Archive Records
£7.50 + Delivery
For our first venture into reggae, Sugar Shack have teamed up with a new group, AMJ Dub Collective. The group’s name may be new to people, but their part in Bristol’s musical heritage goes back more than thirty years. Mark Spence and Andy Clarke, the band’s rhythm section are graduates of Zion Band from which they progressed to legendary Bristol band Restriction, (music from both bands can be found on our sister label Bristol Archive Records). The third member of the trio is producer John Hollis, another Restriction graduate and for their first release they’ve called on two other former band mates Eric ‘The General’ McCarthy on MC duties and Bristol legend Rob Smith for a brace of mixes.
The trio’s aim was to recreate the classic reggae sound that they grew up with, yet they aren’t afraid to bring things up to date where appropriate as well as bringing in some guest musicians for an added Latin twist that harks back to Jamaican music’s origins and close links with Cuba and the wider Caribbean.
The idea for these tracks came from Mark Spence who felt it was long overdue to document in song the City’s rich heritage of sound systems, their selectors, MCs and the posses who supported them, a tribute to the reggae scene that nurtured and inspired the members of AMJ Dub Collective as well as countless others over the decades.
The choice of Eric ‘The General’ on microphone duties was obvious as not only had he taken that role in Restriction, but was also an MC on legendary Bristol sound system Enterprise. His delivery has lost nothing in the last thirty years and it’s great to be able to hear him again.
Rob Smith needs no introduction and although his career has covered the “Bristol Sound”, drum and bass and dub step, he has never drifted far from his reggae roots, having been a founder member of both Zion Band and Restriction, it’s only natural that his mixing talents were called upon and he certainly delivers.
This is reggae for the twenty first century, yet reggae built on years of practice and skill, music played on real instruments by real musicians and not something programmed on a PC using the same tired digital effects, “Sound History” will be released as a limited edition 4 track 12” EP complete with picture sleeve, if only all new reggae was made with such care and attention.
SOUND HISTORY 1
SOUND HISTORY 2
Format 12” Vinyl (Limited Edition)
Cat Nos FOD090V
Release Date 23rd April 2012
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