It may have been a shrewd marketing move for BBE not to put DJ David Rodigan's mug on the sleeve of The Kings Of Reggae two-CD set he compiled with producer Sting International (Shaggy, Sean Paul). Would you buy a roots reggae and dancehall comp assembled by some geezer who looks like John Ralston Saul's dad? Perhaps not.
But if you've enjoyed some Bob Marley tunes and were looking for some other nice numbers, Rodigan's entry-level mix -- which favours familiar classics like the Abyssinians' Satta Massa Gana, Junior Murvin's Police & Thieves and Burning Spear's Marcus Garvey -- makes for a swell introduction to the genre.
On the second disc, Sting International delivers a slightly less obvious track selection, with soulful dancehall burners by Ranking Dread (Fattie Z Boom), Lone Ranger (M16), Yellowman (Over Me), Josey Wales (Mi Have Fi Get You) and Toyan (Stylee). Not much in either mix that will impress serious reggae fans, but it all sounds sweet.
Lately the Shadoks psych reissue operation has been going Turkish crazy with a couple of stellar collections of primo Anatolian rock oddities from Edip Akbayram and the hairy scary Bunalim.
While 14 of the tracks on the two- disc Edip Akbayram have been reissued elsewhere, the 10 extra wah-wah- and fuzz-tweaked joints from his first two LPs and singles, including such sparkling classics as Daglar Dagladi Beni (The Mountains Made Me Sad) and Dumanli Dumanli Oy Bizim Eller (Our Village Is Full Of Smoke) should help to raise Akbayram's status to the level of Baris Manco and Erkin Koray.
Even less known than Akbayram, the hard-rockin' Bunalim (which means "Frustration") were founded by Ahmet Güvenç -- who notably played bass on Koray's classic Electronik Turkuler. The group only released singles during their three-year run (1969 to 72), and their walloping best are included on the self-titled Shadoks disc. Yeter Artik Kadin, a demented revision of Iron Butterfly's cover of Lee Dorsey's Get Out My Life Woman, should get heads nodding. Roughness.
Now here's a genius concept. Take some wonderful vintage Treasure Isle rocksteady rhythms and use them as backing tracks for radical rearrangements of familiar R&B classics and contemporary chart hits voiced by talented young singers.
That's what Peckings's Old Skool Young Blood, Volume 1(RPM) is all about. Ever wonder what Mariah Carey's Shake It Off sounds like done rocksteady-style? Maybe not, but Kelly Makeda's version is better than the original. The star of the Peckings show is really Bitty McLean, and the dub-style remix here of Walk Away From Love preserves the haunting beauty of the original mix.
Unfortunately, it doesn't include McLean's take of Smokey's Cruisin', but this is still gorgeous stuff.