Thursday, August 19, 2004

Big Up to RAS Records!

There are a few companies that specialize in Reggae Music. VP Records gets most of the attention with their long history and roots in JA but in terms of solid new releases, RAS Records is right there with them. In particular, we want to direct your attention to some recent releases from RAS.

A couple of these have been mentioned previously on the site: Reggae On The River LIVE (CD and DVD) and our current Featured Release, African Holocaust by Steel Pulse. The Reggae on the River release is about the best concert compilation you can find for Reggae Music. The performances and the production values are excellent from start to finish – you can check out the details in an earlier BLOG posting. Then Steel Pulse… these guys have been cranking out hits and great songs (not always simultaneously) for a lot of years. Along with Aswad and a few others they have been the British Reggae Ambassadors. The Ultimate Collection release that has been issued is a great collection for anyone that does not own their catalog – there are plenty of missing gems but it will give you a good start. Most of the material on the Ultimate Collection and the big hits from the band were in the 70’s – that’s not to say they have not stayed strong through the 80’s and 90’s but what a pleasure to have them deliver a disc like African Holocaust in 2004. So thank you RAS Records for backing them up and helping to get this album out – it is a winner – it could even end up a Grammy winner and we will sure be giving it our vote in next years ReggaeSoca Music Awards.

Next we have a RAS solo artist for whom we can deliver the same message: Gregory Isaacs. This is a man with years of hits – a Godfather of Reggae Music and he sure isn’t stopping now! The Ultimate Collection release for Gregory is also very good if you don’t have a lot of his music already but, do not miss Open The Door, his new release on RAS. It is Gregory at his best, a killer band backing him up and we think it’s one of the best releases he has ever had. Get it! You will not be disappointed if you are a fan of smooth voices and laid back riddums – he is a Master.

Finally, we have the Doctor Dread produced release “Is It Rolling Bob?” a Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan. Dylan is one of the all time “conscious” message artists in contemporary music. He has inspired musicians from genres and places near and far. His music and words have been a cultural force, particularly in the U.S. but like Bob Marley, his music and vision has transcended the man. On this disc, 14 top Reggae artists including Toots, Beres Hammond, Luciano, Sizzla, and J.C. Lodge have re-invented his songs with their own artistry to present a powerful tribute that is certain to please most any Reggae fan and hopefully will make some new fans for Reggae music like the two Reggae Tributes to the Grateful Dead did. All of the artists throws themselves into the material with passion and energy and RAS and Dr. Dread deliver a wonderfully produced and engineered disc to make it a vital disc. It says Volume 1 on the cover – we’ll sure be looking forward to Volumes 2 and beyond!
Big up to RAS! Keep up the Irie Vibe and Jah Bless!

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