When Duke Reid's huge sound system began blasting U Roy's Wake The Town throughout Jamaica back in 1969, Coxsone Dodd knew his crew of old-school talking selectors like Count Matchukie and King Stitt weren't cutting it any more. He heard Dennis "Alcapone" Smith getting nice on the mic with Keith Hudson and set up the stylish young toaster with the best rhythms Studio One had to offer.
Those stone-solid backing tracks by the Heptones , Alton Ellis , the Cables , Delroy Wilson , Carlton and the Shoes and the Wailers provide the basis for Dennis Alcapone's fabulous Forever Version debut, just reissued by Rounder 's Heartbeat subsidiary. The reissue features stereo mixes never before on CD and six bonus singles not on the original Coxsone LP. Alcapone's melodic singing-style delivery, punctuated by well-timed whoops, is already in place, and you can hear where Dillinger (who initially billed himself as "Alcapone Jr."), Scotty and even the great I-Roy found inspiration.
Also from Heartbeat is a repackaged version of Lone Ranger 's On The Other Side Of Dub album, which helped revive Studio One in 81. The 17-track selection of stereo mixes showcases the charismatic dancehall don's entertaining approach that built on the innovations of cultural deejays like Big Youth and paved the way for the rise of Yellowman and Eek-A-Mouse. www.heartbeatreggae.com .
Super Furry reggae
Roots reggae likely isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Welsh rockers Super Furry Animals , but evidently the group's bassist, Guto Pryce , is a fan. That's all the folks at Sanctuary needed to know to have him compile his favourite vintage reggae, dub and dancehall tracks from the Trojan archives for the Furry Selection CD.
Like the Jonny Greenwood Is The Controller set for Sanctuary chosen by the Radiohead guitarist, Pryce's Furry Selection is similarly scattered with a few familiar faves like Bob Marley 's Kaya, Tenor Saw 's Ring The Alarm and Horace Andy 's Skylarking, but there are also a few lesser-known gems such as Keith Hudson 's evil Darkest Night On A Wet Looking Road and Cornell Campbell 's sweet Girl Of My Dreams to make for a pleasant party mix. Linval Thompson 's Jamaican Colley and Rupie Edwards 's Free The Weed should go down a storm with herbal achievers. www.sanctuarygroup.com .
Netherlands-based Canuck production whiz Ryan Moore of Twilight Sound System fame has been hard at work reverse-engineering reggae with Jamaican studio ringers Sly Dunbar , Style Scott , Dean Fraser and Chinna Smith , creating contemporary jams that sound like classic roots artifacts from the mid-70s. The seven-track Cultural Roots Showcase (M Records) is an excellent sampling of his latest "disco-mix" creations, voiced by Black Uhuru great Michael Rose , Ranking Joe , Admiral Tibet , Mikey General and Prince Alla that'd fit seamlessly in any roots spin session. Nice.
Taking a tip from Twilight Sound System, UK producer Mike Pelanconi (Lily Allen) has put together a throwback project of his own, and Prince Fatty 's delightfully dubwise Survival Of The Fattest (Mr. Bongo) is fast becoming the left-field hit of the summer. With tasteful assistance from drummer Style Scott , the Nostalgia 77 horn section (bolstered by saxophonist Bukky Leo ) and vocalists Winston Francis and Little Roy , it's no surprise that Prince Fatty's feel-good vibes are catching on. www.mrbongo.com .