Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

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Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby guillaumebougard » Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:57 pm

Attention shoppers, this is not a blue light special, it is a ites green and gold light special!

Milton Henry, who releases music all too rarely, is back with a new album called "Roots and Branches Showcase".

This delightful album is released on Iroko records, which have been known so far as a fledging and top quality reissue label, but who recently jumped in the water and are now releasing new albums. Iroko are not producing music yet but have been licensing content from Roberto Sanchez' Lone Ark label for a few months.

They could not have been better inspired, as Roberto is the freaking best producer of roots reggae and rocksteady in Europe. Remember his superb Alpheus album a year or so ago??? That was him. Roberto Sanchez is operating out of his studio near Santander in the Basque region and is churning out gem after gem.

This time, he has really outdone himself. Branches and Leaves is a superb album. In my personal top 5 of 2013, quite frankly. The album is not easy listening reggae. It is in fact quite austere, severe, sparse.

But don't you get fooled for just one second by such adjectives, because I mean them in a VERY positive way, rather than demeaning. For clarity's sake, I confirm: this album is a stellar piece of work.

Milton Henry is not joking at all when he gives praises to Jah, he is dead serious in his denunciation of the evil Babylon system. Yet at no time does he come across as pontifying, boring, hypocritical. He doesnt stare down at you from his altar of righteousness to deliver an arrogant "holier than thou" message or anything like that. Quite the contrary, he invites you, the listener, to share feelings about life, the human race, the cosmos and God and elevate both your and his mind in the process. Quite a win win proposition, don't you think?

He applies the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle perfectly. He doesn't need to shout or shriek his lyrics. Rather, he phrases his lyrics very quietly, cool and deadly. If you've read thus far, by now, you know you should not expect bashment style in "Roots and Branches". We're talking about meditation, philosophy, letting minds be the best they can be though a powerful exchange. In a way, Milton and Roberto act as some sort of spiritual guides in "Roots and Branches", no less.

Milton's singing is quite introspective: rather than vocal pyrotechnics, he stresses his points simply, calmly, and quite frankly, I think he gets the message across more efficiently this way.

To back up this kind of singer and respect his lyrics, his singing and his overall style, there is no better approach than the one Roberto has chosen. His riddims are very simple, and the mix is very classical, but there is very little reverb, effects, not even any drops in the riddim like we so often hear in other productions. None of that music on steroids! In fact, Roberto and his Lone Ark band have crafted riddims to SERVE the singer. The atmosphere is very clear and nothing detracts Roberto and Milton from their objective. I am quite impressed by what they achieved.

In addition, and that's one of the numerous beauties of this album, the riddims are FAR from being toothless! In fact they rank on a par with the best of what Jamaica used to offer in 1979. No f+cking less. The drummer is a clone of Sly Dunbar, the keyboards and synths are perfect and beautifully arranged, and the horns, man those horns. Lord knows (my good friend and saxman Stepper will attest to that) I dont really dig horns, which are often a substitute for lack of inspiration. But Roberto has found a way to arrange those horns just like they should be sounding like. Melodic, not flashy, yet with a touch of sophistication. PERFECT.

The best thing to do with this album is to listen to it on a badass sound system with, preferably a nice pair of old school speakers. By the way, the vinyl is one of the best sounding vinyls I have ever heard. Huge kudos to Iroko's bossman Herve Brizec for painstakingly looking for the right mastering studio and, as importantly, the right pressing plant. An equally best way to discover the immensely subtle arrangements and really awesome mix options is to use a nice pair of headphones: go ahead, treat yourself to something decent, and throw away those ip$$$d earbuds, they sound like crap (and you know it)!!! If need be, do not hesitate, mug an old lady in the street, "Roots and Branches" deserves nothing less than excellent hifi gear...

F*ck, all of this is movingly beautiful, fulfilling and I felt I needed to testify: Reggae is alive and well. It is now produced out of a remote studio in Santander... and Anchor studios in Kingston where the increasingly last mohicans Sly & Robbie operate. Who would have predicted that 30 years ago????

One last thing, and it is important: please do not compare this beauty with the no less beautiful "Who do you think I am". "Who..." was released some 30-odd years ago, and comparing albums so distant in time is borderline disrespectful to the artist, his producer and his label. Just enjoy the fullness, the beauty, the message, the artwork, the overall quality and the beautiful collective effort of all involved. It f*cking deserves praises, and CUSTOMERS. I do want Roberto and Herve to continue putting out new gems like "Roots and Branches" and they need OUR SUPPORT in the form of Euro bills galore.
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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby dan i dubdub » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:13 pm

my copy is on its way, really looking forward. The 12" release on Iroko earlier this year with Let Go The Ego was stunning.

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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby Dubba » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:22 pm

How can I not buy a copy after that mother of all sales pitches Guillaume?!!! Love the obvious passion you have for roots,rock reggae!
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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby j j » Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:07 pm

Yes I had a listen to this last night on the Iroko site - sounds wonderful.

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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby guillaumebougard » Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:35 pm

By the way, the title is Branches & Leaves, not Roots and Branches...
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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby Donovan » Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:11 am

Guillaume,
Okay, gotta order a copy based on your recommendation. :D I'll probably go with the LP/CD combo. And, not to highjack your thread, but the way you feel about this release, I feel the same about the new Vernon Maytone LP On The Right Track. Vernon lays down killer tracks like Greedy Jones (w/ Prince Jazzbo), Straight to the Top and Foreign Life (both with Ricky Chaplin). Amazing.
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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby guillaumebougard » Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:58 am

Donovan wrote:Guillaume,
Okay, gotta order a copy based on your recommendation. :D I'll probably go with the LP/CD combo. And, not to highjack your thread, but the way you feel about this release, I feel the same about the new Vernon Maytone LP On The Right Track. Vernon lays down killer tracks like Greedy Jones (w/ Prince Jazzbo), Straight to the Top and Foreign Life (both with Ricky Chaplin). Amazing.

The Vernon Maytone album is nice. I expected better production though. I was secretly hoping that SoulofAnbessa would produce the record, because the single Vernon recorded for Marc is absolutely brilliant and that particular kind of brilliant brilliance (the type that makes you want to play the album 5 times a day, the type that makes you feel joyous for no reason) is not present throughout the album.
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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby KingSimeonSound » Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:58 am

Very pleased to hear this, fantastic quality. Many thanks for the heads up.
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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby dan i dubdub » Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:32 pm

Better change the title of the thread then G
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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby Reggie Love » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:44 pm

Not available in the UK yet as far as I know. But reading this persuaded me to pick up 'Who do you think I am?' and I'm glad I did. What a gem!
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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby guillaumebougard » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:14 pm

Reggie Love wrote:Not available in the UK yet as far as I know. But reading this persuaded me to pick up 'Who do you think I am?' and I'm glad I did. What a gem!


Why dont you buy it direct from Iroko's website???
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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby Reggie Love » Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:43 pm

I may just do that.
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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby ian » Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:56 am

Just in at juno... (it seems Monday is the official realse date)
http://www.juno.co.uk/products/milton-henry-branches-leaves-showcase/508629-01/
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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby Reggie Love » Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:05 am

I
guillaumebougard wrote:
Reggie Love wrote:Not available in the UK yet as far as I know. But reading this persuaded me to pick up 'Who do you think I am?' and I'm glad I did. What a gem!


Why dont you buy it direct from Iroko's website???


Hi Guillaume,

I'll probably buy it from Dub Vendor when they get it. Coincidentally, 'Stepper takes the Taxi' which you were involved with, has just dropped through my letterbox and is getting a rinsing right now- great stuff. I'm doing my best within my meagre means to keep reggae in business, believe me :D
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Re: Milton Henry = Roots and Branches Showcase - new album

Postby guillaumebougard » Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:23 pm

Glad you like Stepper's album. All the credit goes to him, quite frankly. I just gave him my riddims and advanced money to press the CD, etc... He produced everything, got the green light from Robbie and Sly to make sure they liked his takes on their riddims... Very nice work.

email me at gbougard@gmail.com and I'll see what I can send you...
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