mon 26/10/2020

reggae

Album: Alicia Keys - Alicia

Alicia Keys is a puzzling mixture. On the one hand she’s the hyper-achieving, multi-platinum, 752-Grammy-winning America’s sweetheart, all dimply smiles, positive-thinking ultra sincerity and the kind of showbiz over-emoting and singing-technique-as...

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Album: Toots & the Maytals - Got to be Tough

Toots Hibbert may have invented the term “reggae” with his 1968 hit “Do the Reggay” but he has never felt boxed in by the genre. During his almost 60-year singing career, he may have recorded some of the greatest ska and reggae tunes of all time,...

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Album: Shaggy - Hot Shot 2020

Hot Shot 2020 has been billed as a rerub of Shaggy’s colossal turn of the century release Hot Shot. It’s not quite an accurate description of an album that has already been released in three different forms and shifted nine million copies though. In...

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Cleveland Watkiss 60th birthday celebration, Queen Elizabeth Hall review - seismic pulse, emotive words

Whether performing with the ground-breaking Jazz Warriors big band (which he co-founded in the 1980s) or Marque Gilmore and DJ Le Rouge in Project 23, taking the lead roles in Julian Joseph’s jazz operas Bridgetower and Shadowball, or emceeing one...

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Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes, BBC Four review - a perfectly paced tale of world-shaking basslines and human frailty

If there was ever a documentary that needed you to have good speakers on your TV setup – or good headphones if you're watching on computer or tablet – this is it. It maybe goes without saying that reggae needs good bass reproduction to appreciate,...

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CD: Madonna - Madame X

Madonna is the queen of reinvention and Madame X, her 14th studio album, marks another new brilliant, bonkers chapter in her 37-year career. The 13-track CD (15 on the deluxe version) was inspired by a recent spell living in Lisbon, where she...

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The Specials, Margate Winter Gardens review - ska legends passionate and on-point

Here they come again – the band most adept at capturing the mood of an era in catchy, critical three-minute songs. Just at the very point we need them most, the original ska-punk popsters surface and their message is as deeply relevant as it was...

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theartsdesk on Vinyl: Record Store Day Special 2019

Record Store Day is tomorrow which means that your local record shop will be packed with all sorts of exclusive, limited edition goodies as well as major label cash-ins. There are hundreds of releases but many aren't available before the day itself...

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CD: Shy FX - Raggamuffin SoundTape

Everything about this mixtape oozes confidence. It crams 12 tracks plus interludes – all produced by Andre “Shy FX” Williams – into barely more than half an hour. It happily leaves “Roll the Dice”, the single which conquered club and radio...

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CD: UB40 - For the Many

Birmingham’s reggae veterans UB40 are a band who have often worn their politics on their sleeves, and the title of their new album is taken from Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party mantra. The parallels between the two have already been noted, of course....

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CD: The Specials - Encore

The Specials were era-defining, making this a hugely anticipated album for many. On paper they’ve released a bunch of albums since the Eighties but their discography is misleading. Encore is their first major work in decades. It’s a big ask for it...

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10 Questions for DJ / producer Rob Smith of Smith & Mighty

Rob Smith & Ray Mighty are truly the unsung heroes of British bass music. Coming out of the same cultural melting pot in Bristol that gave us Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead and mega-producer Nellee Hooper, they looked to be among the city's...

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