Strictly Drum and Bass - The Roots of Sly and Robbie

[Trojan Records,]

The Historic Roots of Ska

[Primo / Proper,]

Concentrating on Sly & Robbie's early recordings, "Strictly Drum and Bass" is a collection that rewards the listener with pure gold. Spanning the decade between 1969 and 1979, Sly and Robbie turned out hit after golden hit. This is music that a whole generation was brought up on. I can certainly remember some of these tunes spewing out from ghetto blasters [in the day and age of MP3 players - those objects of desire became rather obsolete] around the city. Even if my musical tastes were slightly twisted at the time, I can clearly remember "The Message", "Night Doctor" and "Blinded By Love". If a few minutes into the disc, you get nostalgic and start to feel that you're listening to a greatest hits package, then that's part of the whole picture. Truth is, just about every single one of the tracks included was a hit [smaller scale or larger] at one point or another.  The Upsetters' great dub-wise rhythm of "Night Doctor" is a fine example of such a hit. The beaches of the Caribbean are fresh in front of my eyes as I listen to this track over and over. Likewise with Al Brown & Skin Flesh & Bones rockin' and raw rendition of "Here I am Baby" and Cornell Campbell's sweet and tender take of "Wherever I Lay My Hat". The barrel is so full of gems, it's really overflowing with the goodness of great vibes and sweet beats. Not forgetting that dub is not left entirely out of the picture, The Revolutionaries come through with a wicked mid-tempo, sweat drenched version of "Freedom Dub" and Trinity with their "Pope Paul Dead and Gone".
Spanning a wide array of years, the 2 CD compilation "The Historic Roots of Ska" is an audio document of the beginning of ska. Some people have called ska an off-shoot of reggae, while others have adamantly stated it's a separate musical category of its own. Whatever side of the fence you sit on, you'll be forced to agree, the music selected here is essential to music lovers far and wide. Ranging from the slow rhythms of "The Tide is High" by John Holt to instrumental, jazz-oriented Tommy McCook & The Skatallites "Magic", through to Toots & The Maytals joyous "John James", there's something in this collection for any serious fan of this often overlooked genre. Quite a lot of tracks featured are from The Skatalites and from Toots and rightly so. After all, without these two acts, the genre wouldn't be what it is today. Essential music for even the rainiest of summer days.

- Tom Sekowski

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+ Fresh Maggots - Fresh Maggots
+ Unfolding - Freak Out Party: How to Blow Your Mind
+ Susan Christie - Paint a Lady
+ Jan Jelinek - Kosmischer Pitch
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+ Funkstörung - Appendix
+ Skinny Puppy - Mythmaker
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+ International Deejay Gigolos 10 - Presented By DJ Hell
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+ Electronicat - Chez Toi
+ Dirty Doering - Saubermann
+ Matthew Dear - Deserter
+ Computer Incarnations For World Peace

- - - - - - - - -

+ HAL RAMMEL - Like Water Tightly Wound
+ MARTYN BATES - Your Jewled Footsteps
+ ROBERTO OPALIO - The Last Night of the Angel of Glass, Vol. I & II
+ THE STRANGLERS - Anthology
+ DAX PIERSON / ROBERT HORTON - Pablo Feldman Sun Riley
+ ZU & NOBUKAZU TAKEMURA - Identifications with the Enemy, A Key to the Underworld
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+ KATHY DIAMOND - Miss Diamond To You
+ FRED LONBERG-HOLM TRIO - Terminal Valentine
+ JASPER LEYLAND - Fieldstone
+ KILO - Kilo / POLE - Steingarten / TELESEEN - War / HECKER - Recordings for Rephlex
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+ ASTRO & SUZUKI JUNZO - Cosmic Blues Experience / SUZUKI JUNZO - November.10.2001
+ DOCTOR BOB - Dark Times
+ THE BAMBOOS - Rawville
>> VARIOUS ARTISTS - Strictly Drum and Bass - The Roots of Sly and Robbie / VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Historic Roots of Ska
+ FRED ANDERSON & HAMID DRAKE - From the River to the Ocean
+ TG MAUSS - Gravity Will Keep Us All Together
+ POEM ROCKET - Invasion!
+ JENNIFER GENTLE - A New Astronomy
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+ THE ETERNALS - Heavy International

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+ Writing rhythms is easy - rozmowa z Stewart'em Walker'em
+ Regularity is the secret - wywiad z Jaumetic'em [Regular label]
+ Szybsze bicie serca - rozmowa z Patrycją Hefczyńską aka DJ Patrisią [Husky]
+ My fire is burning - wywiad z Hell'em [Gigolo Records]