Top Albums of November 2009

This month’s music selection varies from twangy country to roots reggae to experimental jazz-hip-hop and dub. Robert Glasper‘s Double Booked is chalk-full of creativity and musicianship.  Glasper, a pianist originally from Houston, Texas has performed with Erykah BaduThe Roots, Maxwell, and Mos Def. On this new album Glasper mixes hip-hop, jazz, and experimental music into a beautiful soundscape.
Conrad Crystal and Suga Roy have put together a fine album with help from some of reggae’s icons. The legendary Toots & The Maytals joins the duo on “God Bless You.” The singjay Gyptian performs “Jah Jah See Dem”  in tribute to Joseph Hill and Culture. The dancehall jam “She Call Mi Phone” features “king of the dancehall” Beenie Man and the amazing vocalist Barrington Levy. Deejays U Roy, Dillinger, and Big Youth join the fray while Reggae superstars Lee “Scratch” Perry, Max Romeo, Eek-A-Mouse, Marcia Griffiths, Dennis Brown, The Congos, and Inner Circle all lend their vocals. Even the amazing danechall duo Chaka Demus & Pliers makes an appearance on “Girl You Rock My World.”
The Stephen Marleyalbum Mind Control originally dropped more than a year ago. Now a newer acoustic version of the disc has been released called Mind Control Acoustic. The smooth beautiful track “Chase Dem” features Capleton layering rhymes through the original tune. Brothers Damian Marley and Julian Marley appear on the record as does rude boy Spragga Benz.
  1. Robert GlasperDouble Booked [Blue Note 2009]
  2. Conrad Crystal & Suga RoySuga Roy, Conrad Crystal and the Great Reggae Icons [Fire Ball 2009]
  3. Stephen MarleyMind Control Acoustic [Tuff Gong 2009]
  4. Danny BarnesPizza Box [ATO Records 2009]
  5. Corb LundLosin’ Lately Gambler [New West 2009]
  6. Beres HammondSomething Old, Something New [Penthouse Records 2009]
  7. Morgan HeritageThe Journey Thus Far [VP Records 2009]
  8. DrakeSo Far Gone [Young Money/Cash Money 2009]
  9. B.B. SeatonReady For The World [Soul Beat/Roots International 2009]
  10. Various Artist Joyful Noise [I Grade Records 2009]
  11. Geoff Maldaur & the Texas Shieks – Texas Sheiks [Tradition & Moderne 2009]
  12. James Hand – Shadow on the Ground [Rounder 2009]
  13. Jack Johnson En Concert [Brushfire Records 2009]
  14. SeraniNo Games [Phase One 2009]
  15. The Soothsayers Meet Red Earth Collective One More Reason [Red Earth Music 2009]
  16. Del Tha Funkyhomosapien & Tame OneParallel Uni-Verses [Gold Dust 2009]
  17. Mike Zito Pearl River [Eclecto Groove Records 2009]
  18. Nitty Gritty Dirt BandSpeed Of Life [Sugar Hill 2009]
  19. Various Artists Riddim Driven: Clearance [VP 2009]
  20. LorenzoMovin’ Ahead [Irie Ites 2009]
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Top Albums of November 2009

World of Reggae Music Collection: Table of Contents

The Jam-Tex selector will post a study and organization of the essential tracks of reggae music. The selector invites others to join in on the organization of these tracks.  Thus Jam-Tex presents “The World of Reggae Music Collection.”

Please feel free to comment. The selector is open to suggestions and changes. Feel free to comment on the selections, categories, genre headings, and section headings. The selector will consider track additions and removals and even the renaming of categories, sections, and genres. Without further ado…

The Jam-Tex Selector presents…The World of Reggae Music Collection

REGGAE’S SUPERSTARS

The Lions of Jah

The Lion Youth

REGGAE’S SUPERHITS

Roots Hits

Pop Hits

SKA MUSIC MOVEMENT

 The Ska Originals

Two-Tone Ska

Third Wave Ska

International Ska

ROCKSTEADY ERA

Rocksteady

VINTAGE REGGAE

The Early Years

Classic Reggae

ROOTS & CULTURE

Rastaman

Political Reggae

Slavery Days

DUB

Classic Dub

Neo Dub

Dubstep

Boss Deejays

The Deejays

Rub A Dub

Dancehall

The Old School

Classic Tracks

The New School

Ragga

COLLIE HERB

Collie Herb

LOVER’S ROCK

Lover’s Rock

REGGAE SISTERS

Reggae Sisters

MARLEY FAMILY & FRIENDS

Marley Family & Friends

REGGAE UB40

Original Versions

UB40 Versions

REGGAE INSTRUMENTALS

Reggae Instrumentals

INNA REGGAE VERSION

Golden Oldies inna Reggae Version

Soul inna Reggae Version

Hippy Music inna Reggae Version

Folk & Country Music inna Reggae Version

REGGAE FUSION

Hip-Hop/Reggae Fusion

Rock/Reggae Fusion

Electronica/Reggae Fusion

REGGAE AROUND THE WORLD

Reggae from Around the World

Texas Reggae

Reggae Espanol

LIVE REGGAE

Live Reggae

ACOUSTIC REGGAE

Acoustic Reggae

World of Reggae Music Collection: Table of Contents

The Top 30 Albums of August 2009

The TOP 30 ALBUMS of AUGUST 2009

1. Various ArtistsPecking Old School Young Blood Volume 2 [Pecking 2009]
2. Courtney JohnMade In Jamaica [Jamaica Records/FiWi Music 2009]
3. Yim YamesTribute To [Rough Trade 2009]
4. Tarrus RileyContagious [VP Records 2009]
5. George Strait Twang [MCA Nashville 2009]
6. Wayne HancockViper of Melody [Bloodshot 2009]
7. Various ArtistsRocksteady: The Roots of Reggae [Moll Selekta Germany 2009]
8. Groundation Here I Am [Young Tree Records 2009]
9. Various Artists Trojan Reggae Chartbusters Volume 1-5 [Trojan 2009]
10. Various ArtistsBeginners Guide to Ska [Nascente 2009]
11. Rebelution Bright Side of Life [Controlled Substance Sound Labs 2009]
12. The ImpressionsComplete A- and B-Sides: 1961-1968 [UMC 2009]
13. Tanya Stephens Tanya: Collection of Hits [VP Records 2009]
14. Various Artists Dubwise/Indiscretions: Greensleeves One Drop Rhythms 2 [Greensleeves 2009]
15. Lynn Taitt & the JetsRock Steady Greatest Hits [Federal 2009]
16. Various ArtistsFinest Delivery, Volume 2 [Greensleeves 2009]
17. KRSOne & BuckshotSurvival Skills [Duck Down Records 2009]
18. Amanda Blank I Love You [Downtown Records 2009]
19. TOKOur World [VP Records 2009]
20. 10 Ft Ganja PlantBush Rock [Roit 2009]
21. The Beasties Boys featuring NasToo Many Rappers (12 Inch) [Parlophine 2009]
22. Dead Prez & the Evil Genius DJ Green Lantern Pulse of the People [Boss Up/Invasion Music 2009]
23. Sean Paul Imperial Blaze [VP/Atlantic Records 2009]
24. Fort Knox FiveRadio Free DC Remixed [July 2009]
25. Blue Scholars – Oof! (EP) [Duck Down Records 2009]
26. Sly & the RevolutionariesChannel One: Maxfield Avenue Breakdown Dubs & Instrumentals 1974-1979 [Pressure Sounds 2009]
27. Charlie RobisonBeautiful Day [Dualtone 2009]
28. Maxwell Blacksummer’s Night [Sony 2009]
29. General Steele of Smif N Wessun – Presents… Welcome to Bucktown

Courntey John’s Lucky Man” is the dynamite track for August 2009. “Lucky Man” sounds like vintage lover’s rock reggae. Courtney John’s falsetto voice is smooth, sweet, and beautiful. “From this love there’s no holiday” Courtney John sings “we won’t take a break…no.” All the “special ladies” will dig these new Courtney John tunes. Take for instance the lovely cover of Rose Royce’sI Want To Get Next To You.”

In an indie rock meets classic rock vein, on a new EP release Tribute To George Harrison, Jim James (Yim Yames) of My Morning Jacket covers some of Harrison’s greatest songs, including “My Sweet Lord” and “All Things Must Pass.”

Some heavy hitters in the music industry made the charts this month, including Texan country music artist George Strait and Jamaican superstar Tarrus Riley. Both superstars pick enduring songs that capture the spirit of the land and its people. George Strait’s Twang as the title indicates swings with twangy vocals, fiddles, and steel guitars, making a classic Texas country sound. From the Jamaican perspective Tarrus Riley brings together a wide variety of reggae forms, such as dancehall, lover’s rock, and roots reggae, putting together a creative album with a sweet Jamaican vibe.

The popular dancehall performer, Sean Paul, dropped his new album Imperial Blaze with dance-friendly new singles like “So Fine” and “Press It Up.” T.O.K.’s new album Our World features the tracks “Guardian Angel” and “Couple Up,” which make for fun danehall music.

The Top 30 Albums of August 2009

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

TOP 15 for MARCH 2009!!!

March 2009

  1. Buddy Holly Memorial Collection [Geffen 2009]
  2. Various ArtistsPenthouse Showcase Volume 2 [VP Records 2009]
  3. Queen IfricaRoad to Mobay [VP Records 2009]
  4. Various ArtistsGold Mine Riddim [Gargamel 2009]
  5. Various ArtistsRagga Ragga Ragga 2009 [Greenseeves 2009]
  6. Randy TravisI Told You So: The Ultimate Hits of Randy Travis [Warner Brothers 2009]
  7. Anthony B Rise Up [Greensleeves 2009]
  8. Various ArtistsRiddim Driven: Beauty and the Beast [VP Records 2009]
  9. Various Artists Riddim Driven: Rocksteady [VP Records 2009]
  10. Black CrowesWar Paint Live [Eagle Records 2009]
  11. Willie NelsonNaked Willie [Sony 2009]
  12. Leonard CohenLive in London [Sony 2009]
  13. Bruce SpringsteenWorking on a Dream [Columbia 2009]
  14. Various ArtistsCadillac Records (Original Soundtrack) [Sony 2008]
  15. Various Artists Penthouse Showcase Volume 3: Automatic Riddim [VP Records 2009]

Buddy Holly, the real king of Texas rock n’ roll music, lived a short and prolific life. He was the Biggie Smalls of Lubbock. But instead of a blaze of gunfire, Holly went down in a plane crash. This new collection of recordings bring the raw Buddy Holly to the music world. The skinny and nerdy Texan redefined rock and roll music and influenced the British rockers who invaded America in the 1960s. The Beatles were recycled Crickets. It is very easy to be proud of this lanky Texan genius.

Penthouse Showcase Volume 2 is an important contribution to roots reggae music. Bushman pays tribute to Peter Tosh with sizzlin’ covers of “African” and “You Can’t Blame the Youth.” Sweet reggae tracks include Romain Virgo’s “Mi Caan Sleep”  and Queen Ifrica’s humorous “Below the Waist.” Beres Hammond also lends his voice to some of the tracks adding another layer of sweetness.

The Gold Mine Riddim 2009 includes tracks by Gyptian and Buju Banton. The Riddim hot! The 2009 Ragga Ragga Ragga installment offers the killer tracks Bounty Killer’s “Corrupt,” Laden’s “Time to Shine,” and Vybz Kartel’s “Life Sweet.”

TOP 15 for MARCH 2009!!!