Top Ranking Albums of May 2014

RebelutionCount Me In [Easy Star 2014]

Sturgill SimpsonMetamodern Sounds in Country Music [High Top Mountain Records 2014]

JoMersa – Comfortable [Ghetto Youths International 2014]

Conor Oberst Upside Down Mountain [Nonesuch Records 2014]

SeeedSeeed [Seeed Records 2014]

SOJAI Believe [ATO Records 2014]

Dub Thompson9 Songs [Dead Oceans 2014]

Tune-Yards Nikki Nack [4AD 2014]

Kelly Willis and Bruce Willis Our Year [Premium Records 2014]

EelsThe Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett [PIAS America 2014]

Thievery CorporationSaudade [ESL Music 2014]

BugleAnointed [Zojack World Wide 2014]

Various ArtistsPeace and Love Riddim [TJ Records 2014]

DubmatixIn Dub [Echo Beach 2014]

Various ArtistsKing Size Dub Dub Visionist Special [Echo Beach 2014]

Ziggi Recado Therapeutic [Zion High 2014]

Anthony Cruz Inna Di Dance [Shan Shan Music 2014]

Ivan and the ParazolMode Bizarre [Gold Record Music 2014]

Ana TijouxVengo [Nacional Records 2014]

Rodney CrowellTarpaper Sky [New West 2014]

PressureThe Sound [I Grade Records 2014]

SizzlaRadical [VP Records 2014]

SizzlaNuh Worry Unu Self [John John Records 2014]

SizzlaBorn A King [Muti Music 2014]

FutureHonest [Epic 2014]

The Secret SistersPut Your Needle Down [Universal Records 2014]

G. Love and Special SauceSugar [Brushfire Records 2014]

Johnny CashOut Among the Stars [Columbia 2014]

KelisFood [Ninja Tune 2014]

The Roots…and then you shoot your cousin [Def Jam 2014]

CunninlynguistsStrange Journey Volume Three [Bad Taste Records 2014]

Various ArtistsA Tribute to Bob Dylan in the 80s: Volume 1 [ATO Records 2014]

Ernest RanglinBless up [Avilla Street Records 2014]

Danilo PerezPanama 500 [Mack Avenue Records 2014]

Duck SauceQuack [Fool’s Gold 2014]

Chris Robinson BrotherhoodPhosphorescent Harvest [Silver Arrow Records 2014]

Young MoneyRise of an Empire [Cash Money Records 2014]

Mikey SpiceI Am I Said [Joe Fraser Records 2014]

Joan OsborneLove and Hate [eOne Music 2014]

Various ArtistsRagga Ragga Ragga 2014 [VP Records 2014]

Eliza GilkinsonNocturne Diaries [Red House Records 2014]

Mykal RoseCrucial World [John John Records 2014]

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Top Ranking Albums of May 2014

World of Reggae Music Collection: Hippy Music inna Reggae Version

Hippy Music inna Reggae Version

In this edition of the World of Reggae Music Collection the selector explores reggae versions of hippy songs. Jamaicans know good music when they hear it. Whether it is Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, or Donovan, a good tune is a good tune! From the British hippy rock bands Led Zeppelin, The Kinks, the Beatles,The Rolling Stones, and The Who to the American hippy groups like The Hollies, Simon And Garfunkel, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to the great American jam bands Phish and the Grateful Dead, many of the great reggae stars covered the tunes of the Hippy era. In this collection of songs, hippy music is played inna reggae version by the legendary Burning Spear, Jimmy Cliff, Gregory Isaacs, Black Uhuru, and many more.

Junior Jazz & Easy Star All Stars – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Luciano & Easy Star All-Stars – With A Little Help From My Friends

Luciano, U-Roy, & Easy Star All Stars – With A Little Dub From My Friends Dub

Maxi Priest – Wild World

Chalice & Yellowman – Bouncing Around The Room

Dennis Brown – Black Magic Woman

Gregory Isaacs – Mr. Tambourine Man

Gregory Isaacs – Mr. Tambourine Man Dub

Burning Spear – Estimated Prophet

Jimmy Cliff – Wild World

Rootz Underground – Baba O Riley

The Wailing Souls – For What It’s Worth

Max Romeo – Hotel California

John Holt – My Sweet Lord

Sugar Minott – 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)

Joseph Israel – Teach Your Children

Pat Kelly – He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother

Chalice – Paint It Black

The Israelites – Come Together

Eek A Mouse – Dyer Maker

Dollar Man, Gary “Nesta” Pine, & the Easy Star All-Stars – Money

Matisyahu – Watching The Wheels

Capleton – Love the One You’re With

Alton Ellis – You Make Me So Very Happy

Toots & the Maytals – Squeezebox

Michael Rose, Mennie More, & Easy Star All-Stars – A Day In The Life

Black Uhuru – Hey Joe

Bob Andy – Waste

Bob Andy – Waste (Dub)

The Wailing Souls – Casey Jones

The Gaylads – Fire and Rain

Beres Hammond – Just Like A Woman

Beres Hammond – Just Like A Woman Dub

Killer Bees & Cyril Neville – Groovin’

Big Mountain – Baby, I Love Your Way

The Gladiators – Time Is On My Side

Sugar Minott & Easy Star All-Stars – When I’m Sixty Four

Maxi Priest – Crazy Love

Rootz Underground – Makisupa Policeman

Rootz Underground – Makisupa Policeman (Dub)

The Wailing Souls – Love Her Madly

Steel Pulse – Franklin’s Tower

Easy Star All-Stars & Frankie Paul – Us And Them

Big Mountain & Utah Green – I Can See for Miles

Luciano – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Luciano – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door Dub

The Waling Souls – Mountain Song

Max Romeo & the Easy Star All Stars – Fixing A Hole

Joe Higgs – Uncle John’s Band

Ken Boothe – Brown Sugar

Steel Pulse – Farmhouse

The Abyssinians – Blowin’ in the Wind

The Wailing Souls – Tomorrow Never Knows

Satta – Behind Blue Eyes

Gregory Isaacs – Wild Horses

Max Romeo – Sexy Sadie

Garnett Silk – Let It Flow

Cas Haley & Tanya Stephens – Wolfman’s Brother

Cas Haley & Tanya Stephens – Wolfman’s Brother Dub

Chalice – Fire on the Mountain

Matisyahu & the Easy Star All Stars – Within You Without You

Steel Pulse – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Luciano – Won’t Get Fooled Again

Apple Gabriel – The Times They Are A-Changin’

Apple Gabriel – The Times They Are A-Changin’ Dub

Frankie Paul & Easy Star All Stars – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

The Mighty Diamonds – Touch of Grey

Toots & the Maytals – Back On The Train

Sugar Black – Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Chalice – Who Are You

The Wailing Souls – Like A Rolling Stone

Ranking Roger & the Easy Star All Stars – Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!

Satta – Gumbo

Freddie McGregor – Eyes of the World

Toots & the Maytals – Start Me Up

Billy Mystic – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

Billy Mystic – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall Dub

The Mighty Diamonds – The Kids are Alright

Tessanne Chin – Free

The Wailing Souls – Love The One You’re With

Michael Rose – Wharf Rat

Kirsty Rock & Easy Star All Stars – She’s Leaving Home

Earl “Chinna” Smith & M – Slave to the Traffic Light

Rhytmation – Bargain

Toots & the Maytals – Maggie’s Farm

Toots & the Maytals – Maggie’s Farm Dub

Rula Brown – Everyday People

Steel Pulse & Easy Star All Stars – Good Morning Good Morning

Easy Star All-Stars – Sgt. Pepper’s (Reprise)

Wayne Armond – Let My Love Open the Door

Rootz Underground – Boogie on Reggae Woman

Marcia Griffiths – Don’t Let Me Down

Toots & the Maytals – Catfish John

Gregory Isaacs – My Generation/Magic Bus

Wayne Armond – Bug

Lasana Bandele – Cassidy

Tessane Chin – Reign O’er Me

Glen Ricks – Honky Tonk Women

Rita Marley & the Soulettes – Let It Be

Wayne Armond – Eminence Front

Andrew Francis – Under My Thumb

The Mighty Diamonds & the Easy Star All Stars – Getting Better

Hugh J. – Waiting on a Friend

Keeling Beckford – Cecilia

Michael Rose – Wharf Rat

Jacob Miller – I Shall Be Released

NEED

T.T. Ross – Imagine

The ParagonsBlack Birds Singing

Ernie SmithYou Won’t See Me

Joe the Boss – Hey Jude

John HoltEverybody’s Talking

Ernest Ranglin Everybody’s Talkin’

Chosen Few – Hang on Sloopy

Dawn PennHere Comes The Sun

Barry Briggs Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)

Desmond Dekker Blackbird

Nicky Thomas Lola

The Beatles, Ras Pidow, & the Bombist – Because

Funky Brown African People (Indian Reservation)

Byron Lee & the Dragonaires Live And Let Die

Bob Andy & Marcia GriffithsIt Ain’t Me Babe

Susan Cadogan Something

John Holt Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

The MaytalsGive Peace A Chance

The Heptones – On-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Denzel Dennis People Got to Be Free

Jackie RobinsonIn My Life

The Pioneer All-StarsIn My Life (Dub)

Del Davis A World Without Love

Lloyd Charmers – California Dreamin’

Tarrus RileyKing Of Pain

Dobby DobsonCarry That Weight

Horace Andy Invisible Sun

Lee “Scratch” Perry Invisible Dub

BushmanOne Tin Soldier

World of Reggae Music Collection: Hippy Music inna Reggae Version

World of Reggae Music Collection: Reggae Instrumentals

In the edition of the World of Reggae Music Collection the selector explores the greatest Reggae Instrumentals. Some of the finest riddims grace this list of classic tracks.

Ernest Ranglin Stop That Train

Tommy McCook – Tunnel One

The Upsetters Return Of Django

Sound Dimension – Real Rock

Technique All Stars – Stalag 17

Augustus Pablo – Java

Dean Frazer – Overdue Riddim

The Aggrolites – 5 Deadly Venoms

Brentford All-Stars – Race Track

The Now Generation – Boney Dog

Joe Gibbs & The Love Generation – Fat Dog

Sound Dimension – Mojo Rock Steady

Brother Dan’s All Stars – Easter Organ

Harry J All-StarsLiquidator

Val Bennet The Russians Are Coming (aka Take 5)

Lynn Taitt & the BoysStorm Warning

Sound Dimension – Rockfort Rock

The Aggrolites – Burning Bush

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Rebel’s Hop [Version]

G.G. All Stars Ganja Plane

Earl “Wire” Lindo White Rum

Beverly’s All Stars – Double Shot

Baba BrooksRiver Bank (aka River To Bank)

The Simplicity People Anywhere But Nowhere

Roland Alphonso & the Supersonics Never To Be Mine (O Solo Mio)

Karl Bryan & Count Ossie – Black Up

Lee “Scrach” Perry & The UpsettersClint Eastwood

Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor – Moving Riddim [Version]

The Aggrolites – Sound of Bombshell

Tommy McCook One Trainload Of Collie

Jackie MittooFreak Out

Augustus PabloEast of the River Nile

Slightly Stoopid – Deal With Rhythm

Don Drummond – JFK’s Memory

Rupie Edwards All Stars – Kinky Funky Reggae

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Don’t Rock the Boat [Version]

Lee “Scrach” Perry, Lynn Taitt, & the Jetts Soul Food

Soul Vendors – Swing Easy

Boris Gardiner – Elizabethan Reggae

The Revolutionaries – ’79 Rock

Sound Dimension – Full Up

Brentford Road All Stars – Moon Ride

Rockamovya – Brown Stew Fish

Cecil Lloyd & Roland Alphonso – Oceans 11

Sound Dimension – Heavy Rock

Ernest Ranglin – Rasta Roots Woman

Augustus Pablo – Too Late

Aswad – Warriors Charging

Dub Specialist – Banana Walk

Long Beach Dub All Stars – Grass Cloud

Beverly’s All-Stars – Smoke Screen

Sound Dimension – Heavy Beat

The Society Squad – Skylarking [Version]

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Soul Almighty [Version]

Don Drummond – Spitfire

Soul Vendors – Death in the Arena

Cas Haley & Tanya Stephens – Wolfman’s Brother (Instrumental)

The Dynamites – Rahtid

Beverly’s All Stars – Be Yours

Soul Agent & the Soul Defenders – Popcorn Reggae

Slightly Stoopid – Basher

Bob Marley & The Wailers – It’s Alright [Version]

Sound Dimension – Return of the Scorcher

Winston Wright – Tonight

Soul Vendors – Darker Shade of Black

Bob Marley & The Wailers – No Sympathy [Version]

Jackie & The Invaders – Love Again

Val Bennett & The Upsetters – South Parkway Rock

Sound Dimension – Baby Face

Brentford All-Stars – Throw Me Corn

Winston Wright & Larry McDonald – Reuben

Don Drummond – Green Island

The Technique All-Stars – Eldora

Dean Fraser – Overdue Riddim [Version 2]

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Soon Come [Version]

Hot Rod All Stars – Virgin Soldiers

Beverly’s All Stars – Busy Bee

Don Drummond – Saling On

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Cornerstone [Version]

NEED

Count Ossie – Count Ossie Special

Bub Roberts – Is This Love

The Upsetters Live Injection

The Silverstars Last Call

Bub Roberts – I Shot the Sheriff

Lester Sterling – Skaramont

Jackie Mittoo & Ernest Ranglin – Jericho Skank

Carl “Cannonball” Ryan Soul Scorcher

Hubert Lee – Something on your Mind

The Skatalites – Malcom X

Tommy McCook & the Supersonics – Soul Serenade

Baba BrooksPortrait Of My Love

Lyn Taitt & the Jets – Rock A Shock

The Skatalites – Confucious

Rico Rodriquez – Rico Special

Randy’s All-Stars – End Dust

Charlie Organaire – Royal Charlie

Don Drummond – Machine Shop

Baba Brooks and Trenton Spence Orchestra – Distant Drums

Roland Alphonso – Magic

Lyn Taitt – Ska To Shot

Baba Brooks – Shock Resistance

The Heptones – In Love With You

Niney the Observer – Acoustic Dub

World of Reggae Music Collection: Reggae Instrumentals

Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae

I was lucky enough to be in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to see the opening of the film Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae by Swiss director Stascha Bader. What a wonderful film. Just amazing. The film narrated by Stranger Cole captures rocktsteady legends reuniting to cut an album of legendary hits and perform a reunion concert. The impressive lineup included Stranger Cole, U-Roy, Hopeton LewisSly Dunbar, Ernest Ranglin, Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, Rita Marley, Dawn Penn, Ken Boothe, Derrick Morgan, Leroy Sibbles, the Tamlins, Gladstone Anderson, Hux Brown, Bongo Herman, and Scully Simms. Moss “Mossman” Raxlen, the Montreal based reggae producer recorded the reunion session at Tuff Gong Studios in Kingston, Jamaica.

The king of the toasters U-Roy performs “Stop that Train.” This version is amazing and steeped in deep meaning. For historical context one must know about the trains in Jamaica and the boom and bust of economic development in newly independent Jamaica (Jamaica won independence from the United Kingdom in 1963). The film does a brilliant job of contextualizing the songs. We know exactly where U-Roy is coming from when he toasts over this classic tune. After the bust the trains stopped, the jobs ran out, the rude boys started to roam the streets, and many Jamaicans sought jobs overseas. When U-Roy toasts over “Stop That Train” he talks about the trains stopping and the people leaving. There is so much soul and history and culture wrapped into one song.

The vocal-group trio the Tamlins are in tip top form and the band leader/guitarist Ernest Ranglin has still got the goods. The drummer Sly Dunbar forms the backbone of the band as he has for decades and the rest of the legendary studio musicians perform magnificently recapturing the fire of the past.

There are some real gems in this film. Hopeton Lewis lays down the rocksteady anthem “Take It Easy” and later sings an excellent rocksteady version of “Rivers of Babylon.” Dawn Penn records her bread and butter track “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)” and she talks about the endurance and popularity of the song. Derrick Morgan’s “Tougher Than Tough,” Ken Boothe’s Freedom Street,” Leroy Sibbles’s “Equal Rights,” and Judy Mowatt’s “Silent River Runs Deep” all appear, as well as a great rendition of Desmond Dekker’s classic “007 (Shanty Town)” by Ken Boothe. Marcia Griffiths performs “The Tide Is High” and reminiscences with Judy Mowatt about their time with the producer Coxsone Dodd, the legendary vocal group the I-Threes and with Bob Marley and the Wailers. A guest appearance by Rita Marley follows the widow through Trenchtown where she elaborates on the conditions of the ghetto and recalls her time with Bob in the yard.

I don’t want to give too much away about the film, but it will make you smile, laugh, and tap your toes. For people interested in music and culture, I highly recommend seeing this film. The album will release on the heels of the movie. The Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae album, which releases in August 2009, promises to be a big hit too. Many critics are comparing it to the Buena Vista Social Club, but I think it will be even bigger than Ry Cooder’s classic documentary about Cuban jazzmasters. Rocksteady will be an instant classic!

Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae