Bristol and reggae music is something that comes hand in hand, like cheese has tendency to go with crackers or Ant and Dec (I know these are probably stupid comparisons). but its fair to say you can hear its influence on what became known as the brtistol sound ie trip-hop which was created fusing a mixture of reggae, hip hop and punk rock. adapting all of the influences into individual elements.
Well anyway on Sunday night (Aug 28th) I went to Bristol Archive Records night at the Creative common, which is a temporary big top venue situated just opposite Temple Meads. celebrating their latest in what is turning out to be a long line of compilations focusing Bristol forgotten stars of the UK Reggae scene.
In the past year they have re released albums by the likes of Talisman, Black Roots breathing fresh into their artistic careers of Dan Ratchet and Joshua Moses amongst many others shining a light on the cities`faded stars, that could easily rival other UK cities such as Birmingham which was one of the most well renounced cities in the UK for producing Ska and Reggae being the home to a long list of artists including Steel Pulse, The Specials, UB40 and Aswad.
Its not often that i go out to reggae shows, some people think that i dont like reggae, this is so not true. its just I dont know much about the contemporary Reggae scene or that what i call reggae has disipated being washed down into ragga and a million other sub genres that to me lack the emotional depth or the social conscience that prevaild in reggae music.
So entering the Creative Common I knew that i was letting myself in for a night of real deal music. by the term real deal I mean music that screams with authenticity, heart and soul so hard that it could make my heart splutter and well up with tears. With songs that talked openly about social politics, Racism, secular division and romance.
Talisman are band that I came across last year because of their reformation they headlined St Pauls Carnival last year, before they had to dramatically down scale the event due to over crowding. I remember my ears being hit by the sweetest notes which made my heart pulse and cry with the raw emotions, this was real Reggae music.
So tonight Talisman played a standard 20 min set of their own original material before playing backing band for The Reggae all stars, paving the way for a continuous revolving door of singer’s rocking up to sing their song and wonder off.
The line-up of singers was pretty jaw dropping, with the likes of Lord John Hutchinson, Steel Pulses colaborator Bunny Marrett, Cool Runnings front man Winston Minnott Joshua Moses, Dennis McCalla aka Dallas, Dan Ratchet, Popsy Curious, Glen Crooks
Buggs Durrant and Veereal (Vibes). It didnt have the feeling of a normal gig, it felt more like special event, almost like a Bristol Reggae stars in their eyes, as they all took pride in their star turns, with big beaming grins, enjoying the fact that people were giving them recognition for their art even if they had been forgotten about for the best part of 30 or so years.
All the performers took a great amount of pride from being on the, especially Dallas who looked sharp in his bright sparkly Berrie stomping down the front of the stage with a huge unmoveable smile parked right on his face and all for good reasoning.
My personal highlights were in any order, Glen Crooks who had an absolutely stunning sweet soul styled vocal that really resonated with my ears and Veereal who brought her Dawn Penn style Lovers Rock Reggae sound. And of course the biggest name in Bristol Reggae came and wrapped things up before Talisman wrapped the night up with their biggest and most re-known hit anthem Dole Age.
Dole Age is a song that too this day still bristles with the nerve tingling sense of sadness and frustration due to being poor and out of work. Plus there was a much wider sense of racial and social division, which I personally can feel every time I hear this song.
There was a huge out pooring of emotion from the warm and receptive audience when they brought all the singers back on stage to join in with the sing along rendition of Bob Marleys classic One Love.
Here is a link with which you can check out Bristol Archive records out put of re- releases, its well worth checking out. http://bristolarchiverecords.bandcamp.com/