October Singles Round Up
Talisman – Relijan
Manwel T – Freedom Stepper
Oli Greety – Dread
Welcome to my latest reggae singles update. This time we feature three very different tracks, the first is from UK based Talisman, a band who started out in the late 70s riding the wave of the UK roots scene. The band are now re-formed and finding a new audience for their conscious roots. The second is from Manwel T, definitely the first Maltese reggae producer I have featured. And last but not least is singer / songwriter Oli Greety and a song from his new single called Dread.
Relijan, Digital single due in January
As a pre-cursor to the forthcoming ‘Don’t Play with Fyah’ album, Talisman present their digital single ‘Relijan’. The track is an anthemic roots number, 70s in style, with righteous lyrics and themes. The sound maybe a nod to the past, but the lyrics are just as relevant today. Don’t use religion as a reason for violence is the message and you can’t argue with that.
The final mix was put together by the legendary Dennis Bovell and this track bodes well for their forthcoming album. Roots reggae to me is a snapshot of a time in history, when protest and standing up for your rights was the only way you could push for social change. The world thinks it has moved on in this modern technological age, but deep down nothing has changed. The sheen of tolerance hides the truth, and inequality still stalks the streets. Talisman are a great example of how new roots still has an important voice.
The single is due out in January whilst the album will hit the stores in March, check out the Bristol Archive Soundcloud site for a preview.
Freedom Stepper 7” single
In contrast to the Talisman single, ‘Freedom Stepper’ by Maltese producer and all round top reggae man Manwel T, is a more upbeat jaunty number. Driven by a powerful horn line up, it is a track that sounds like it is trying to get somewhere fast. I love the way he uses the trumpet, it’s very lyrical and expressive. ‘Freedom Stepper’ is difficult to pigeon hole but it is very catchy. I think I prefer the B-side, as the reggae sound comes more to the fore due to more dub and more effects.
Manwel has an interesting back story. Born Manwel Tabone in Malta in 1960, he has been into reggae since the mid 70s. He presented the weekly Reggae Club show on Radio Malta between 1989 and 2005. In 1990 he published the first edition of the Reggae World fanzine which lasted four issues. His first album ‘Manwel T Meets Mind’s Eye Dub At The Temple Of Dub’ was released by Dubkey Records in 2009. It was followed by four sets in the Virtual Dub series. ‘Cosmic’, the first full album featuring Manwel T as musician, composer, and producer, appeared in August 2015.
After seven years of digital releases, this is Dubkey Records first vinyl release and it’s a good single and puts Maltese reggae on the map. Check out the cool video for the track here and you can find some links on where to buy on the Dubkey site.
‘Dread’ is part of Oli Greety’s current ‘Project Dread’ single. Released on his Ocean Tide Records label it is a serious roots tune with heartfelt lyrics and attitude.
Oli is a new artist to me, his biography reads that he started in music at the age of 20 with his first band I n’ Roots. His first EP ‘Oli ina Jamtone’ followed in 2010 which was produced along with Darren Jamtone and Inyaki from BDF, and featured the experienced vocalists Ranking Joe and Earl 16. Since then he has released several EPs and singles and that brings us up to date to Project Dread.
Like the Talisman single it is socially aware and highlights the inequality in today’s society. It is good to see more contemporary artists carrying the torch and using reggae as a means of positive influence. His sound is full on roots, forceful with big production.
Thanks for reading this latest singles update, please share if you can and any comments would be gratefully received. Bless, Paper Lion