Reggae Archive Vinyl, CD & tapes from this label at Norman Records
News to this blurb-writer, but three decades ago there was a thriving reggae scene in the Midlands. Though I guess that me now knowing about it proves that the reissues game is one worth playing. Anyway, this is a sick cut, the groove bristling with dancehall energy and the vocals full of power and soul. Coming out on green vinyl - the original pressing, by the way, will currently set you back £175 on Discogs.
The Reggae Archive continue to do their express job with aplomb: dig up old classics. In this case, it's Sceptre, an '80s Birmingham act who were defiantly underground (mainly because none of the record labels wanted them). Their DIY release 'Essence of Redemption Ina Dif'rent Styley' is now getting reissued on vinyl for all to hear, celebrating the band's organic percussive work, tight rhythms and euphoric vocal harmonies.
Now here’s another solid piece of contemporary dub. Bouncing on jolly basslines and floating around tweetering reed solos, Black Symbol’s self-titled LP is sparse reggae at its finest. The first LP features two tracks and various remixes, whereas the second is a full-length album in its own right.
- Vinyl Double LP (RARC016V)
'Handsworth Explosion Vol. 1' exists thanks to the tireless efforts of Black Symbol, a dub reggae act who sought out other prominent, rising acts in the Handsworth scene and gave them the chance to record tunes at their Outlaw Studio. After the songs were wrapped up, they committed them to this compilation, hoping to show off the vibrant and ever-growing scene they belong to. 'Handsworth Explosion' is a great snapshot of a significant reggae hotspot.