Upstir Records release four new singles
Upstir Records, based in Morant Bay Jamaica, are a label I have featured before. Their excellent Ken Boothe voiced ‘Gun Gospel’ track was reviewed at this very site. You can also read a little of their background and philosophy in that review. Label boss Fada Rees helps local Jamaican artists to express themselves and these four new 7” singles are certainly a celebration of these talented artists.
Obstacles – King Kurk
First up is ‘Obstacles’ featuring King Kurk. This is my favourite of the four and it features some very brooding and smouldering production. The song swaggers and struts along, which fits in very nicely with the theme of breaking down obstacles and barriers. It’s a triumph of spirit and attitude which perhaps typifies King Kurk himself, as he lost his sight in a car accident some years ago. The subdued but persistent rhythm and great expressive vocals make this a must buy. Have a watch of the video at the bottom of this page.
My Salvation – Binghi Colin
My Salvation is a different sound, more rootsy in feel with a positive message of love and salvation. The singer questions where salvation will come from ‘some say Africa, some say in Europe’ but it is inside you, deep in your Rasta faith and devolution. Again this single has a great vocal performance, Binghi Colin nails the message and you find yourself believing that he has found the salvation he needs.
Like the first single it is paired with an excellent dub version from Fada Rees. It contains plenty of low end action to satisfy the most discriminating bass heads. Check out the video here.
Bossman – Colour Red
This single Bossman is another vocally adept roots track. Like the previous Obstacles and My Salvation it is the excellent singer that drive it along. Colour Red aka Clive Hylton uses the words to paint a picture of a family needing food and how the need to provide for your family is so strong. This is no pleading for help though, it is a dignified request for a decent return for your efforts, something we all strive for. More guitar driven, this track reminds me of 70s roots, it’s authentic and a valuable addition to reggae’s vast musical catalogue. Have a listen for yourself at this short clip.
Hotta Lava – Fada Rees
The final selection is an instrumental track featuring some lovely expressive harmonica. I have mentioned before that the harmonica is an ideal vocal replacement, it’s an instrument with an expressive quality only matched by the human voice. There is lots of feeling in this track, it paints a picture in your head of hope, young love and dreams of what may come.
Excellent stuff and a great end to this clutch of vinyl gems. They all have a positive message and it’s good to see ‘real’ roots reggae coming from the shores of Jamaica. Obstacles edges it for me and I will be picking up the seven, I may even sneak My Salvation as well if bank balance allows! The singles are available from all good retailers although you may want to head to Roots Garden first.
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