Thursday, May 15, 2008

Record Score! - The Summer Vibe Creeping In

Bongo Herman & Mudies All Stars "Car Pound Drifter / Nitty Gritty Drifter" 7" (HMA)
- My 2nd favorite dub album ever is "Harry Mudie Meets King Tubby In Dub Conference Vol. 1" (right behind Scientist "Rids The World Of The Evil Curse Of The Vampires"). While you can put yourself in the poor house just trying to keep up with all of the King Tubby releases, Harry Mudie is a more elusive artist. The Jamaican producer wasn't as prolific as Tubby or Coxsone, but most everything he touched was a quality affair, often on the funkier side of soulful reggae. Mudies All-Stars was more of a rotating roster of musicians that recorded at Studio One, but most often consisted of Bongo Herman, Tommy McCook, Bobby Ellis, Jo Jo Bennett, Mikey Chung, Lennie Hibbert & Gladstone Anderson. On this 7", the A-side features Bongo Herman going nuts on his namesake over the "Drifter" riddim, a favorite of Mudie's which he recorded numerous times. The flip is disappointingly similar, minus most of the bongos, but is still a rugged tune.

The Aggrovators & The Revolutionaries "Aggrovators Meets The Revolutionaries At Channel One Studios" Lp (Attack)
- Pretty nearly every member of the reggae studio band elite melding together in a super session of rubbery rhythms. Tommy McCook's saxophone gets the spotlight and really sings.

Infectious Organisms "The Balance" 12" (Oddity Plushc)
- Circa 2000 EP from a DC area hiphop crew on that Roots/Native Tongue/Digable Planets bohemian rap angle. It's got a nice, live production sound, similar to the early Roots albums, that has an open, spacious feel but avoids being repetitive. The other thing that really grabbed me was that it features a male mc & female mc trading off on the mic, and the woman has a very strong, commanding presence.

The Boris Gardiner Happening "Is What's Happening" Lp (Dynamic Sounds)
- Bassist Boris Gardiner is another stand out artist in the truly funky reggae arena. Also blessed with a golden voice, Gardiner started out in singing groups before becoming a percussionist & bassist at Studio One, going on to perform on a huge catalog of classic reggae albums as a member of The Upsetters, The Techniques & The Heptones and backing artists like The Congos, Cedric IM Brooks, Alton Ellis, Max Romeo, Burning Spear... With covers of "Ain't No Sunshine" & "Melting Pot", you can figure out the hard funk tone represented on "Is What's Happening." It's a great record that I've been listening to repeatedly despite the unfortunate cheap pressing littered with a bunch of micro-divots as you approach the center label.

Monty Alexander "We've Only Just Begun" Lp (BASF)
- Pianist Monty Alexander leads a powerful trio through a fairly conventional set but with his rhythm section of “Senator” Eugene Wright and Bobby Durham fully onboard, Alexander brings a hard, soulful swing to the proceedings. The stand out cut is definitely the Jamaican native's own composition, the funky reggae-influenced "Monticello."

Health//Disco "Perfect Skin" 7" (Suicide Squeeze)
- I was really into the LA noise-rock bands s/t album, with its heavy psych guitars and stop & start rhythms. On this 7" they break out a real slow, juggernaut of a track with a steady tribal hammering, and then on the flip Curses! remix the affair into a not-so shabby disco experiment. My ear is decidedly untrained in the arena of disco but with the help of my friend Tom (InfiniteStateMachine.Com) and seeing DJs like him and Rick Wilhite put it in the proper context I'm warming to it. I asked Tom's opinion on the Health's disco remix and he said he didn't hate it, so that counts for something.

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