Spring Roots Eternal

In previous years I've marked the arrival of Spring with a cross-genre Spring Sun Soul mix (>>back catalogue of those can be found here<<) - this year I've pulled out some roots tunes that have that spring spirit...new beginnings, the natural world reawakening, sowing new seeds, horizons moving forward, spirits lifting, all gentle but unstoppable. A few vocal pieces here but mainly instrumentals, accompanied with some live dubbing off the mixer.

Wishing everyone the best in this new season and sending a salute out to Lee Perry on his birthday, born March 20, right on the start of the Persian new year - great time for a new year i think....two Upsetter productions included in honour.

Spring Roots Eternal 

Golden Daffodils - Fulk Reid
Golden Dub - Uprising All Stars
Guiding Light - The Fashioneers
23rd Psalm - Juks Dread & Big Youth
Wall Street - Jackie Mittoo
Leftist - Revolutionaries
Still Waters Version - Jerry Jones & Sound Dimension
Spirit of Umoja - Dennis Brown + Augustus Pablo
Distant Drums - Family Man & Knotty Roots
Home to Zion Dub - Bingy Bunny
You Can Dub - The Upsetters
Roots Version Wise - Sky Nation
Born Free - Michael Rose
Free Dub - Michael Rose
Request Granted - King Tubbystyle
No Love - Black Traps
Dub Love - Black Traps
Blazing Fire Version - Owen Grey
Give Thanks Version - Don Carlos

Rainford Rules! Strictly Lee Perry Tribute

Of the all the producers out of Jamaica it's the mighty Rainford "Lee" Perry who holds the most special place in my heart. There's already so much been written about Lee Perry I don't want to repeat what's gone before but wanted to add a couple of personal thoughts as to why his music hits home for me the way it does.

There can be no argument that he innovated like no one else in JA, not to say the world - a genuine groundbreaker in an era of limited technology. His mixing style is sometimes sublime, sometimes raw, always switched on and conscious. Unlike other great masters of the mixing desk Lee had a very active influence on the music played and recorded  - a very hands on producer by all accounts.

Parts of his discography feels in a parallel dimension to the rest of what was happening in JA music. In fact, considering the esteem in which he is now held he supposedly had relatively few big hits in JA, and to some extent it was UK audiences that really clicked with his sound and helped cement his legacy.

I think the defining attitude that shapes his music is his unusually open, plural and active religious/spiritual outlook.... Lee was born and raised in the JA countryside and in those formative years visited Pukumina church services, which fuse Christian traditions with African practices of spirit possession, and allowed room for other more magical thinking. As the 70s wore on his connections with Rasta got stronger and stronger - yet he never grew locks himself, and in part blamed certain Rasta hangers-on as to why he felt compelled to burn his studio down.

My impression is that he never committed totally to Rasta but certainly related to many elements of it, whilst refusing to be limited by it. He clearly connected with the mystic side of things, but maintained his own unique cosmology. In a post-modern way he wasn't averse to taking in influences from all religions and other ideas he came across, and mixing them together as he saw fit.

So if you look through his lyrics you'll find songs about obeah and voodoo alongside Rasta doctrine, as well as the odd taboo-busting sexual lyric, as well as several songs not in English or with the vocal manipulated to make in incoherent. Whats in common here is a transcendentalism - transcending social norms, going beyond mundane understanding of reality, a faith in the mysterious and magical. Lee Perry definitely approached music like a shaman.

And thats where the dubs and instrumentals really come in. Lee doesn't use sound arbitrarily - even in the wildest moments its not there to sound wacky - there is always a higher purpose to what he does at the desk, each sound and action designed to resonate with his non-orthodox spiritual outlook. Its arguable over who invented dub - Lee has as good a shout to that as any - but to me he was certainly the first to explore its mystic potential so fully. Few have come close since.

All of which I, and clearly music lovers all over the world, really relate to - his world view is not a dogmatic religious position, more a freewheeling, mystic, high!, ever changing, personal love affair with life.... Rainford Rules....

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

The following five mixes (here in reverse order) were put together over several years, and concentrate mainly on the era where has was at home with his own studio, the Black Ark, with the occasional dip before and after. The first mix breezes through some of the tracks that I first fell for, with each subsequent mix digging deeper and deeper into the vaults of his discography. The most recent mix, Chapter 5, looks solely at some possibly lesser-known tracks from the first two years of the Black Ark, 1973 and 1974 - a magical time with its own distinct sound..

Have to give a massive Thank You to knowledge-providers David KatzMick Sleeper and Black Ark Nuggets without whom these mixes couldn't have happened. 

Rainford Rules! Strictly Lee Perry Selection Pt.5 - Ark Sets Sail 73-74

The Originals - Got To Be Iry
Ken McKay- Nobody Knows
Kinge Oney - Jah Jah Know
Chenley Duffus - Standing On The Hill
Annette Clarke - I Wanna Be There
Upsetters - Dub Power
 Roman Scotland - Arab And Israelite
Annette Clarke - Sinner Man/Dub
Cynty & The Monkees - Lady Lady/Dub
 Ital Winston - Princess Street Skank/Ride On
Al Rock - True Believer In Jah
The Upsetters - Soul Train
Leo & The Upsetters - Doctor Demand / Black Bat / Bad Lamp
The Ethiopians - Prophesy
Ron Wilson - Rat Poison
Max Romeo - The Question
Smokey Brown - Version/My Baby
Time Unlimited - Reaction/Version
Soul Syndicate - 8 Round To Foreman
Click here to download


Rainford Rules! Strictly Lee Perry Selection Pt.4 - More Power
The Meditations - Houses Of Parliament
The Congos - Don't Blame On I
Leroy Sibbles - Rasta Far-I
The Stingers - Give Me Power
Roy Lee & King Iwah The 1st - Give Me Power No 2
The Upsetters - Tipper Special
Upsetters - Black Ipa
Upsetters - Ipa Skank
Upsetters - Key Hole
Upsetters - Freak Out Skank
The Gatherers - Start Over
Robert Palmer - River Stone
Lloyd & Devon -Wolf Out Deh
The Upsetter - Shepherd Rod
Juks Dread & Big Youth - 23rd Psalm
Zap Pow - River
Augustus Pablo - Vibrate On
The Upsetters - Vibrator
The Bluebells - Come Along
The Upsetters - Dub Along
right click it here to download


Rainford Rules! Strictly Lee Perry Selection Pt3 - All Glory
Lee - on the Wire [intro]
Junior Byles and the Versatiles - Cutting Razor
Ralph Haughton & The Ebony Sisters - Take Warning
Derrick Harriott - Walk The Streets
Watty Burnett - Rainy Night Dub
The Upsetters - So Many Shanks
Shenley Duffus - Sincerely
Jolly Brothers - Conscious Man
Lee Perry - Conscious Dub
Twin Roots - Know Love
The Heptones - Crying Over You
Alton Ellis - The Children Are Crying
The Congos - Children Crying
Debra Keese - Travelling
Lee Perry - Noah Sugar Pan Dub
Lee Perry - Rejoice in Skank
The Silvertones - Financial Crisis
The UPsetters - Financial Dub
The Heptones - Babylon Falling
The UPsetters - Babylon Dub
The Heptones - Three in One
Lee Perry - Lee in the Heartbeat
Lee & Omar Perry - Do the Lion DUB
click here for download


Rainford Rules! Strictly Lee Perry Selection Pt2 - Forward With Love
Time Unlimited - Africa We Are Going Home
Mystic Eyes - Forward With Love
Leroy Sibbles - Garden of Life
The Congos - Fisherman Dub
Upsetters ft Full Experience - Dyon Anasawa
Lee Perry - Evol Yenoh
Seke Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo - Mengieb
Lee Perry & THe Upsetters - Hold Them King Fu
Lee Perry & THe Upsetters - Black Vest
Lord Creator - Such is Life
Lee Perry - Such is Dub
Earl Sixteen - Freedom
Lee Perry - Freedom Dub
Unknown VOcalist - Nuh Fe Run Down
Lee Perry - City Too Hot
Brad Osbourne & The Towerchanters - Little Flute Chant
Eric Donaldson - Stand Up!
The Upsetters - Dub Fa Yah Rights!
Bree Daniels - Oh Me, Oh My
The Upsetters - Oh Me, Oh Dub
Lee Perry & The Upsetters - Crab Years
Lee Perry & The Upsetters - Black Belt


Rainford Rules! Strictly Lee Perry Selection Pt.1 - Train is Coming
Junior Murvin - Roots Train
Bunny and Ricky - Freedom Fighter
Junior Byles - Place Called Africa
Lee Perry - Mother Land Dub
Brent Dowe - Down Here in Babylon
George Faith - To Be a Lover
The Upsetters - All the Way
Danny Hensworth - Mr Money Man
The Heptones - Sufferers Time
Devon Irons - Ketch Vampire
The Upsetters - Vamp a Dub
The Upsetters - Party Time
Lee Perry - Man to Man
Lee Perry - Freedom Street
Horace Smart - Ruffer Ruff
Lee Perry - Original Jungle Dub
Lee Perry - Rubba Dub
Lee Perry - Cross Over
Lee Perry - Cross Over Dub
Lee Perry - Bird in Hand
Max Romeo - One Step Forward
The Diamonds - Talk About it
The Children - Yama-Ky
U-Roy and the Children - Yama-Ky
The uPsetters - Pop Goes the Dub
Lee Perry - Chicken Scratch (the tune that gave him his nickname)

click here for download

Congo Call: Africa-inspired jazz 1956-1970

The struggles of the civil rights era in the US had a profound transformative power and inevitably this would come to be expressed in the music of the period. With black power came a change in sense of identity, one aspect of which included a proud reclaiming of African heritage. Crucially the civil rights struggles ran concurrently with anti-imperial liberation struggles across the world, with many African countries winning their independence throughout the fifties and sixties - the sense of change and new beginnings must have been intoxicating.

Numerous jazz artists in this era had Africa on their mind, drawing on it for inspiration and strength. The following mix collates some such favourites. Some of these tracks include explicitly African elements, such as certain previously unused percussion patterns and scales, but for me what these tracks really have in common is more abstract than that - the sounds of possibility, of the chance to live in a better and more beautiful world, and of optimism in the face of adversity. That's what makes this music as relevant as ever.... the dream of Africa lives on....

Congo Call: Africa-inspired jazz 1956-1970

Tanganyika {intro edit} - The Buddy Collette &Chico Hamilton Sextet (1956)
Home In Africa - Horace Parlan (1963)
Blue Nile - Alice Coltrane (1970)
The Egyptian - Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (1964)
Congo Call - Prince Lasha (1963)
Ghana Spice (pt1) - Candido (1970)
Man From South Africa - Max Roach (1961)
Man From Tanganyika - McCoy Tyner (1967)
Liberia - John Coltrane Quartet (1964)
Appointment in Ghana - Jackie McLean (1960)

Spring Sun Soul

The annual ritual Spring Sun Soul mix, celebrating life, new beginnings, possibilities...onwards and sunwards! Upfull music all the way... on a beats and bass vibe this year. Shout to Fez, Bolans, Dmnnfta and J Robinson for turning me on to some of the tunes and artists featured... If you want more spring soundtrack do check the previous Spring Sun Soul mixes from the last 6 years >>here<<.

Spring Sun Soul VI

Children of The Sun - The Sun Ra Arkestra
Skylights - Boxcutter & Defcon feat. Kaidi Tatham 
Balanzat - Talamanca System 
Sunrise - Origination
Phnxdwn - Vestige
Run To The Sun (Instrumental) - NERD
Green Sky - Moon B
Expressions - Linkwood
Back & Forth - The Insiders

Fabio on Kiss 100 Tape Cache

From the years 1994-1997 the jungle sound split in several directions and different clubs and nights catered to the different sounds. The unity from the days before was still there in spirit, but things definitely did fragment - only natural i think - people wanted to push the sound and take it in different directions and express themselves as they saw fit. It would've been nice if there was more crossover, both in djs sets and in club line-ups, but on the whole it didn't happen so much.

I kept up on what was going on across the board but my heart was definitely in the Speed camp - Speed being a club night with resident DJs Fabio, Bukem, Kemistry & Storm, Doc Scott and Lee, which played tunes that if you had to describe them could be said to be deeper and more musically involved than what was going on on the upfront jump-up side of things. Really exciting times musically. Should also add I've got a little Speed Connection Facebook group here which you'd be more than welcome to join and post endlessly on.

1994 was the year that jungle blew up in the media and also the year that London's Kiss 100 FM - once a pirate station which got a legal license in 1990 - a little belatedly picked up on our UK breakbeat rave scene. The likes of Fabio, Rider, Bukem, JJ Frost, Randall, Hype, Kenny Ken and others played the slot on rotation - was the first time jungle got played on legal radio - and it was a great chance to hear tunes that wouldn't normally get played out in a dance, all kinds of (jumpy) dubplates, tunes that wouldn't come out for another year, and tunes that never came out at all. The whole scene was always pushing forward so fast that these shows were like a glimpse into the future...essential listening. Started at 9-11pm on a Wednesday if i remember rightly, but got pushed into a post midnight slot after a couple of years....

My flat mate used to particularly record Hype and Bukem's Cosmic Jam sessions, but I tended to go for the Fabio shows above all else - or at least those are the tapes that have lived to see the day 20 years on. Many didn't make it, including some early Giving it Up Slot Fabio & Grooverider sessions. Particularly gutted to have lost one which ended with Fabio playing some house tunes. Still not found that uploaded anywhere. Anyhow, we move on!

So here are the ones that made it. Thanks so much to RolldaBeats family for help with the tracklists (posted in the comments). Rolldabeats also has the best catalogue of all the Kiss Jungle Shows - check that here. Great hive-mind resource for those who care.

Before we get into it just got to pay respects to Fabio for all his hard work and almost single-handed commitment to pushing the sounds he does - hugely appreciated by a certain section of jungle music lovers. On the whole this was music that was sidelined at the time, and sadly even in an age of 24/7 jungle pirates and plenty old skool nights still remains sidelined... Interesting listening back to these tapes now and hearing Fabio talking about the splits and trying to keep the unity. So much good music and so many good memories attached to these sounds - a serious part of my life played out over these tapes.... Salute Fabio, and a big shout to all the original jungle soul boys and girls and all the Speed/Tempo/Swerve faithful.


Fabio on Kiss 100 Tape Cache

All tapes ripped at 320kbps. Hover over titles and right click and save as to download. Tracklists in the comments.

Fabio - Science - First Show - 1994
  Fabio's first solo show
"taking you through the spectrum...a little show, Im calling it: Science"

Fabio - Travelling - Science Pt2 - 1994 - Side B
Fabio's second solo show... "music for the open minded"
Fabio - FreezeFire - Dec 94 - Side B
End of 94...turning the corner into 95

Fabio - Summer Bees Wax - 1995 - Side B
Getting into 1995 - by now Fabio really was carving out a distinct sound
"look ahead every single time" 
Fabio - Mutant Jazz - 1995 - Side B
After a quiet start Speed was blowing up by this point

Fabio - Moving - Summer 95 Side X
The soundtrack to the summer of 95...we had a proper heatwave that year 

More gold from 1995

Fabio and Grooverider - End of Year Spesh - 1995
F&G's xmas shows always great fun and filled with interesting chat

Fabio - New Days - Sept 1996 - Sides A+B
By 1996 the jazz elements were really coming to the fore

Fabio - Jazz Stepping - 1997 - Side A
The jazzstep becomes official

Fabio - RIP 1997- Side B
Deeper and deeper into jazz and fusion sounds

A little bonus one - recorded from R1 and some great crowd vibes on this:
Fabio - Live at Sonar Festival Barcelona 2003 - Side A

...also have some Rider tapes to rip - they'll go up later in the year i expect
and dont forget, tracklists in the comments

Blood & Fire - 20th Anniversary Tribute

I remember 1994 well... 1994 was the year jungle blew up in the UK, and one consequence of that was that it brought Jamaican music right to the front of the mix to a generation of ravers. There were always reggae elements in the UK hardcore/breakbeat rave scene, from direct samples to lifted basslines, and even the importance of soundsystems had an influence on us, but it was the way in which a lot of jungle producers ditched the pianos, ditched the squeaky vocals, and went straight to the JA source that meant there was no longer any hiding from Jamaican influences. It was the rave scene that really exposed me to Jamaican music, and whats more it was all those spaced out Sundays and Mondays which made dub records make a whole lot of sense!

Apart from one other Tubby (Meets Lee Perry at the Grassroots) CD i picked up in 1994 the first real JA recordings I ever bought were the first two Blood and Fire  releases: If Deejay Was your Trade, and the Tubby comp Dub Gone Crazy. I was in no position to place what I heard in any wider context of Jamaican music because it was all still just a beautiful mystery to me, but there was something about the packaging and care in selection that went into these two releases that made me know that this was Classic Material. And with Striker and Tubby in charge of course that was true, but even beyond that it was the love the B&F crew put in that got that message across loud and clear.

The way they put it is this: "Philosophy - To bring the standard of reggae reissues up to the level of the best in jazz, blues, R&B etc., and to ensure that both artists and producers are paid for their work.", and over the next two decades Blood & Fire put out over 50 essential releases, helping return what might otherwise have been lost obscurities back to their rightful place as foundational moments in the history of All music.

And so the 20th anniversary of Blood & Fire is also the 20th anniversary of my own journey into the bottomless treasure chest that is Jamaican music. Blood & Fire played a huge part in turning me on to it, and I'm far from the only one for whom it played that role. Without a doubt Blood & Fire deserve every credit for helping fuel a revival of interest in Jamaican music, the turbo injection of which is still felt all across the bass-ends of the music scene today.

In this year 2014 it was announced that Blood & Fire will be starting up again...its not yet clear if that will come to pass, but even if that proves too much to hope for, they've achieved so much in those 20 years. So with that all said, have to give a big respect and an even bigger thank you to those who made it happen: Steve Barrow, Andy Dodd, Bob Harding, Mick Hucknall, Elliot Rashman, et al, and also a big shout to all the Blood & Fire forum crew for sharing your knowledge. In tribute here's a mix that barely scratches the surface of the music they've reissued...go out and buy the lot, every last release is essential. www.bloodandfire.co.uk/discography.php

Blood & Fire - 20th Anniversary Tribute

Tribal War Dub - Yabby You
Train to Zion - Linval Thompson & U Brown
Know Where You're Going - Junior Byles
Pure Ranking [edit] - Horace Andy  
John Bull - Morwell Unlimited meets King Tubby
I Man Version - Willie Williams
Ites of Zion - Tommy McCook
Ghettoman Corner - Welton Irie
No Tarry Yah Version - Yabby You
See a Dub Face - Scientist
Hard Times [edit] - U Brown
Bandulu  [edit] - Cornell Campbell & Ranking Dread
Oh Jah Dub - Impact All Stars
Honey Dub - King Tubby
Jah Vengeance - Vivian Jackson
Vengeance In Dub - Yabby You
Jah Speak In Dub - Tappa Zukie
Chant Jah Victory - Errol Alphonso
Kings Pharoah's Plague - The Prophets
Plague of Horn - Tommy McCook
Fishermans Anthem - Dean Fraser
Let Your Love [edit] - Mykal Rose

right click for download

Original Rasta Recordings 1955-1969

The following is a mix of some of the earliest recordings with themes relating to aspects of Rastafari, touching on some mento rhythms, moving on into the ska era, and on out into the early reggae and proto-roots sounds...played broadly in order of oldest first...not complete of course, just some choice moments. 

Rastafari culture has always had a somewhat tense relationship with the popular recording industry of Jamaica, and there are still orthodox Rastas today who feel the two should never mix, but inevitably they did, and in my opinion the world is a richer place for it. What's more the persecution of Rastafarians made the expression of Rasta thinking on record a dangerous activity, that only becomes more explicit in gradual steps over the years. The tracks featured here run against the norms of popular Jamaican music at the time.

Track-by-track run down: beginning from the beginning with what is widely described as the first record with a Rasta ideology, 1955 style, dreaming of repatriation, Lord Lebby's Etheopia.

Next up more pre-independence vibes way back in 1958 from Laurel Aitken who went on to boss the ska era, often in a conscious style, here in Rasta mento mode. Lovely sax soloing against nyabinghi drumming on this record.

Count Ossie is a crucial figure in bringing authentic Rasta music to the recording studios and this is a beautiful early chant-along example of that - Babylon Gone - I wonder if this relates to Jamaican independence, waving goodbye to British colonialists?

Jamaican independence was won in 1962 and ushered in a new era in Jamaican music - the ska sound came alongside independence and echoed the optimism that self-determination brought. Ska was fundamentally the music of the dancehall and rum shop but there were artists who brought a roots and culture message to the sound. Two cuts here from Zoot Simms are great examples, both introduced in Amharic, Press Along subtly encouraging a Rasta freedom of expression - it being effectively a crime to express Rasta sentiments - followed by Golden Pen, which went on to be reinterpreted by Sylford Worker as a roots anthem in the 70s.

Keeping the churchical vocal style going is Laurel Aitken back again, riding high in a 1964 ska style, singing down the walls of Jericho, followed by an incredible number credited to Vernon Allen, wonderful minor key ska switching to major key bridge, topped with heavy vocals and a wonderful sax solo. Big big tune.

Next up two back to back from the kings of ska, The Skatalites. It is said that it was trombonist Don Drummonds influence that brought the Rasta message to the Skatalites repertoire... killer instrumental piece Addid Ababa first, driven by a wicked snare-scatter drum pattern, followed by an upfull vocal tribute to Marcus Garvey...sung by one Delroy Bongoman Byfield.

In comes Delroy Wilson, aged just 13, giving his take on the immortal lines The Lion of Judah Shall Break Every Chain & Give Us The Victory Again & Again over a rocksteadyish ska track, followed by a serious instrumental take on the Lion of Judah theme by Prince Busters band - another hard-to-top minor key ska instrumental that one.

Peter Tosh vocals on a classic Wailers piece next, mixing rude boy attitude with a Rasta message...Rasta Shook Them Up, Easy as That!... followed by the man Prince Buster himself on the microphone coming with some serious cultural lyrics over a heavy rock steady beat - not what you usually associate with Prince Buster but delivered with pure conviction.

Third time around for Laurel Aitken showing his longevity, this time on a 1969 early organ reggae piece, hailing Selassie, whose visit in '66 created so much momentum for the Rastafari movement. The Reggae Boys cut Selassie also from '69 is a Lee Perry production in a similiar theme, followed by another Perry production, the very rootsy Earth Ruler cut led by U-Roy, his debut in fact, whose backing track fundamentally sounds like a slowed down version to the previous Reggae Boys piece. 

Finishing this set with the Abyssinians masterpiece Satta Massagana. When you place that tune into the context of its contemporaries it really was way ahead of its time, and rightly became hugely influential in the roots sound that would flourish in the near future of the 70s. Hard to get away from how important that record is, and to some extent its a marker of the end of one era of Jamaican music and the beginning of another...

Big thanks to Littleseb, Ringo and the Pama forum crew for helping compile this one.

Original Rasta Recordings  1955-1969

Etheopia - Lord Lebby and The Jamaican Calypsonians 1955
Night Fall In Zion  - Laurel Aitken 1958
Babylon Gone - Count Ossie & The Wareikas 1962
Press Along - Zoot Simms 1963
Golden Pen - Zoot Sims 1963
Jericho - Laurel Aitken 1964
Babylon - Vernon Allen 1964
Addis Ababa - The Skatalites 1965
Marcus Garvey - The Skatalites 1965
The Lion of Judah - Delroy Wilson 1966
Lion Of Judah - Buster's All Stars 1966
Rasta shook them up - The Wailers 1966
Free love - Prince Buster 1967
Haile Selassie - Laurel Aitken 1969
Selassie - The Reggae Boys 1969
Rightful Ruler -  U Roy & Peter Tosh 1969
Satta Massagana - The Abyssinians 1969

Sun Ra Flies Deep Into the Void - 1962-1978

Once Sun Ra and the band left Chicago for New York in 1961 they also left behind many musical conventions...from here on in it was outer space or no place! The records from this era are full of unexpected wonders. The one thing i've found getting lost in all this music is that once you start wandering inside Ra's cosmos you don't ever want to leave...and many of the band never did, still playing in the Arkestra aged 90.

All the tracks on here are ones that standout for me, but want to mention a few things... Love the main melody and mood of Images, but it seems to me its also a great example of the Arkestra expertly playing just a little out on everything (check the bassline!), something by all accounts Ra drilled the band on. The way Neo-project #2 starts with a straight up groove and then demolishes it shows how in control of this they were.

Love the lofi crunch of Mu, Solar Drums and Moon Dance - Moon Dance has the most incredible snare sound - what a drum work out - think Lee Perry would have dug these three tracks...Black Ark-estra style!

Some people say John Gilmore is the greatest saxophonist of them all - i couldnt say anything about that, but the version of My Favorite Things he plays on here is incredible and trumps Coltrane's version for me.

Prophesy and Interstellar Low-ways are a chance to hear Sun's keyboard playing more clearly... the chords he drops on that beefy organ at the start of The Sky is a Sea of Darkness are heaven to me...could listen to him jamming on that organ all day...darkness!!

Sun Ra Flies Deep Into The Void - 1962-1978

Calling Planet Earth [When The Sun Comes Out 1963]
Solar Symbols [Secrets of the Sun 1962]
Moonship Journey [Cosmos 1975]
Images [Space is the Place 1972]
Mu [Atlantis 1967-69]
Solar Drums [Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow 1962]
Neo-project #2 [Cosmos 1975]
We Travel The Spaceways *edit [Disco 3000 1978]
On Jupiter [On Jupiter 1979]
Moon Dance [Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy 1963 ]
My Favorite Things [Some Blues, But Not The Kind That's Blue 1977]
Prophesy feat. Walt Dickerson on vibes [Visions 1978]
Interstellar Low-ways [Cosmos 1975]
Door Squeak [Strange Strings 1966]
Space is the Place *edit [Space is the Place 1972]
The Sky is a Sea of Darkness [Disco 3000 1978]

Sun Ra's World - Chicago 1955-61

In celebration of the centenary of the coming of Sun Ra, heres a mix of standout boundary breaking tracks from early days of the Arkestra, while they were based in Chicago. By 1962 they had decamped to New York and went all out on their mission to conquer inner and outer space. The albums recorded in Chicago are unusual in that material on them was often recorded at different times/years and so there's a mix of ideas and forms on them. This mix leaves out the relatively more traditional swing and big band numbers for the more experimental tracks from the period. Maybe thats unfair to do, as it seems their sets did include a mixture of both styles, but so be it.

Worth remembering how early in the evolution of jazz this material is, so far ahead of its time, and so perhaps its not surprising that most of these albums were pressed in print runs of no more than 75 copies at the time (or so I have read). The world caught up in the end...

Looking through the titles of the tracks picked out for this, it happens that this selection seem to relate to the planet earth more than the full on space odysseys which are trademark to Sun Ra, hence calling this mix Sun Ra's World. So yeah, keeping it earthy, with lots of drum and percussion heavy tracks, including the unorthodox  inclusion of timpani in the line-up from Jim Herndon.

Anecdote about the opening track: Sun was breaking away from steady work in clubs etc and getting random gigs with the early incarnation of the Arkestra...a medical friend got him work playing for a group of patients at a Chicago mental hospital. "The group of patients assembled for this early experiment in musical therapy including catatonic and sever schizophrenics, but Sonny approached the job like any other, making no concessions in his music. While he was playing a woman, who it was said had not moved or spoken for years, got up from the floor, walked directly to his piano and cried out "Do you call that music?"

Sonny was delighted with the response and told the story for years afterwards as evidence of the healing powers of music. Advice for Medics commemorates this experience. Seems like a good way to start and break the spell of slumber........ and thought Id finish the trip by bringing it back to Realville on the last track, with an early more grounded and swinging tune from 1955.

Sun Ra's World - Chicago 1955-61

Advice to Medics [Super-Sonic Jazz 1956]
India [Super-Sonic Jazz 1956]
China Gates [The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra 1961]
Overtones of China [The Sound of Joy 1956]
El is a Sound of Joy [Super-Sonic Jazz 1956]
Paradise [The Sound of Joy 1956]
Planet Earth [...Visits Planet Earth 1956-58]
Africa [The Nubians of Plutonia 1958-59]
Watusa [The Nubians of Plutonia 1958-59]
Kingdom of Thunder [Fate in a Pleasent Mood 1960]
Tiny Pyramids [Angels and Deamons at Play 1960]
Ancient Aiethopia [Jazz in Silhouette 1959]
Lullaby for Realville [Jazz by Sun Ra 1955]

Spring Sun Soul

For the fifth year running its the annual Spring Sun Soul mix - music to welcome the new solar year in and reset the spirit to. As ever, the mix takes in everything from spiritual funk, deep dnb, soulful techno, organic dub and anything else that fits the mood. The whole collection of Spring Sun Soul mixes are now here: Spring Sun Soul Collection.

I'll be getting a lot busier on the blog in the near future, with lots of new mixes already lined-up - have been distracted with the album I've been working on - more info on that to come. Meantime, fling open the windows and turn it up....

Wishing everyone much warmth and happiness under the sun....

Spring Sun Soul 

Love From The Sun - Norman Connors
Sunwalk - Modlee and Vlooper
Astral Travelling - Pharoah Sanders
Rings Around Saturn - Photek
Meltdown - Marcus Intalex
So This is Love - Mental Cube
Feathers - Automation
Jungle Fantasy - Sam Most
360@1 29on696 - Theo Parrish
Kawai Dub - The Breadwinners

Bubble in the Struggle - 1990s Conscious JA 7inch Selection

The 1990s in JA were dominated by dancehall and slackness, but there was still plenty of great conscious reggae being produced. This mix throws together some lesser-known tracks alongside a few classics, all 7 inch, all conscious lyrics, all produced in JA. There's a couple of tracks from the 2000s in there too, but on the whole its a 90s affair. Always a pleasure to hear the killer voices of the likes of Beenie Man, Shabba and  Terror Fabulous on a conscious lyric. 

Bubble in the Struggle - 1990s Conscious JA 7inch Selection

Bubble in the Struggle - Morgan Heritage [Xterminator]
Know Yourself - Terror Fabulous [Spragga Roots]
War Inna Di City - Ginja [Harmony House]
Craven - Cocoa Tea [Star Trail]
Jah Calling - Sanchez [Awful Music]
Conquer the Dragon - Beenie Man [Penthouse]
Mash Down Babylon - Utan Green [John John]
Retreat Wicked Man - Garnett Silk [Living Room]
Rat Race - Busy Signal [Juke Boxx]
Rolling Down a One Way Street - Pagu T [White Label]
Run Away - Bushman [Militant Muzik]
Poor People - Admiral Tibet [Henfield]
Poor People - Shabba Ranks [Brick Wall]
Complaint - Garnett Silk [Penthouse]
Bad Vibes - Derrick Lara [Zola & Zola]
No More Walls - Dennis Brown [Two Friends]
Build Some Bridges Instead - Shabba Ranks [Two Friends]
Walls Dub - Two Friends Crew [Two Friends]

Spring Sun Soul

The tradition of the annual Spring Sun Soul mix continues - a soundtrack to capture the change in seasons and the return of new life. As ever it's a cross-section of styles: jazz to deep house to drum & bass to soul - even a touch of Congolese rhumba, all with a spring-soul breeze blowing through them. Open your windows and play!

I always love putting mixes together but these spring ones always feel a little extra special.. Really hitting the spot after a long hard winter. This is the fourth episode, previous year's Spring Sun Souls can be found >>here<<


Spring Sun Soul

Lazer Sword - Sky Burial
Bennie Maupin - Quasar
Betty Carter - Sounds (Movin' On)
Erro - Don't Change
Mr Fingers - Children at Play
Lopez Walker - Jah Jah New Garden
Alpha and Omega - Jah is Calling
Alpha Omega - Envy
The Detroit Experiment - Think Twice
OK Jazz - Bolingo Ya Bouge
Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal - Wo Ye N'Gnougobine

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