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MUSIC

Elsewhere on the site you'll find a list of our Top Ten best sellers, but we'd also urge you to check out a few of our releases which haven't sold as well as we'd hoped. As far as we're concerned all the music we release is top-notch quality; if it wasn't we wouldn't bother. But for various reasons certain releases do much better than others, and we'd just like to point you in the direction of some of the albums you may have missed or overlooked.

For example:

1. "Dub Me" - Morwell Unlimited Meet King Tubby's

Several long-time dub afficianados, including the late Roger Eagle, pleaded with us to reissue this classic dub album. Mixed entirely by King Tubby himself these 14 cuts have an entirely different feel to the explosive, in-your-face type of mix more commonly associated with King Tubby's studio. These mixes are more subtle and ethereal; we used the word "ambient" in the liner notes, which seems to have put a few people off. Perhaps it wasn't the most appropriate word, but it's worth remembering that Tubby was a big fan of jazz and classical music and when I listen to this record I hear something of that in it. Unfortunately it seems the subtlety of this album goes completely over some peoples' heads - I saw one post on the Reggae Newsgroup describing it as "crap". Well, everyone's entitled to their opinion but nevertheless we recommend you check this one out.

Sadly, since this recommendation was written, Morris Wellington, aka Blacka Morwell, passed away on October 12th at the age of only 50. Our sympathy goes out to Karen, Roland and all his family and friends.

2. "Children Of Jah" - The Chantells & Friends

The reason this one hasn't sold by the bucketload is probably because all the artists featured on it are extremely obscure. However, in purely musical terms we believe it's one of the finest albums we've ever put out. In addition to 3 tracks from the Chantells, the best known of the artists on this compilation, there are 4 tracks from the Burning Spear-sounding Lopez Walker, including the haunting "Trial Day" and "Fly Away". All the tracks were recorded at either Channel One or Joe Gibbs and were issued on Roy Francis's Phase One label which has always enjoyed a sizeable cult following. Also featured on this album is the brooding "Cool Rastaman Cool" by Steve Boswell, the steppers anthem "Path I Have Taken" by Errol Davis and "Assemble Not Thyself" from the little-known group The Terrors.

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All first-class stuff, so check it out!

BOOKS

We recommend Edinburgh's Payback Press which specialises in books on black culture.

It's been out for a few years now but "One People" by Guy Kennaway has to be one of the funniest and enjoyable reads for many a year. Set in Cousins Cove (a real place incidentally) on Jamaica's northwest coast it chronicles the goings-on of the inhabitants of, and visitors to, this tiny community, and in the process captures the essence of Jamaica beautifully. The launch party for the UK publication of this book was held at London's Subterrania and featured a very early incarnation of the Blood and Fire Sound System, featuring U Brown with surprise guest appearances from Glen Brown and Don Mais aka Jah Bible. A great night!

Another book which has been out for a while, but which is an absolute must read is "Born Fi Dead" by Laurie Gunst, an American academic who went to study at the University of the West Indies and ended up spending several years moving with the notorious Jamaican posses who flooded the US with crack cocaine in the mid-80s. Harrowing, but essential.

Also recommended:

"Fight The Power" by Chuck D. An inside account of hip-hop culture from the Public Enemy frontman.

"People Funny Boy - The Genius Of Lee Scratch Perry" by David Katz. Exhaustively researched biography of the most eccentric man in reggae.