Upstir Records - Gun Gospel

Upstir Records – Gun Gospel 7″

Side A: Gun Gospel – Blood Seed & Ken Boothe
Side B: Disarm Dub – Fada Rees

Gun Gospel is the new 7″ single from Upstir Records, a bona fide Jamaican label from Morant Bay, St.Thomas on the South East coast. The label specialises in vintage authentic reggae sounds and analogue mixing techniques inspired by the golden era of the 60s & 70s. Label head, producer and all round dub magician Fada Rees combines these analogue techniques with minimal modern equipment to add a contemporary edge to the traditional sound.

The Gun Gospel single features some great talent with reggae veterans Ken Boothe on vocals, Vin Gordon on trombone and Junior Dan on bass. Having a great like Ken Boothe involved gives the release some instant quality. Never has a strong social message been put across in such a beautiful way! Bryan Russell ‘Blood Seed’ also prominently features and contributes a more dub poet style, he has got a good expressive sound. Both singers act like good cop bad cop. Ken cajoles, whilst Blood Seed educates.

Upstir Record’s Fada Rees is an interesting character. He recently relocated from London to Morant Bay and is in the process of constructing a recording studio to give opportunities to the wealth of talented artists living in the area. The press release which hit my inbox was very interesting, I wouldn’t normally include big chunks like this but I am going to share the history lesson with you. ‘Morant Bay’s musical history is rooted at the very beginnings of Sound System culture on the island. The late great ‘Winston Blake’s’ ‘Merritone sound system’ widely regarded as the first and most influential sound system to emerge in Jamaica in the early 1950s. Also home to many of ska & reggae’s foundation pioneering artists of the 1960s & 70s, this musical culture is reflective of the resilient spirit of the local people and strong presence of Rastafarian culture in the area. The revolutionary message of the local musicians and artists underpinned by Morant Bay’s history as the site of Jamaica’s famous anti-colonial uprising the ‘Morant Bay Rebellion’ (1865) led by Jamaican national hero and emancipatory figurehead ‘Paul Bogle’. Recent decades have seen many musicians and artists living outside of Jamaica’s capital Kingston under represented within a now global Reggae scene. Upstir records aims to reignite the militant musical culture that put Morant Bay on the global reggae map.’ It’s fascinating stuff and helps add a few pieces to the reggae jigsaw.

This is very catchy rootsy number and the anti gun sentiments are very commendable. It’s good to hear a reggae record that seeks to educate as well as entertain. Have a listen below to the clip, it’s a lovely song and you can pick up early bird copies from the Roots Garden website , digital downloads will be available from August.

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  1. […] 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 […]


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