Yearbook 2013

Review

Album Review: Captain Sinbad - Reggae Music Will Mad Unu!

03/18/2013

by Angus Taylor


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Captain Sinbad was one of the generation of deejays who cast off when Jamaican music’s tide was turning between the 70s and the 80s. Like his contemporary Ranking Joe he was literally raised on a sound system, catching his break through Sugar Minott but recording most notably for Junjo Lawes. Like Joe, he too began to produce artists, eventually leaving the microphone behind altogether, spending time in England, Jamaica and the USA.

In 2011 he was persuaded to return by his friend, Frenchie of Maximum Sound (who as a youth travelling to the UK from France to get closer to the music, became dangerously obsessed just as the good captain was riding the soundwaves). Together they cut World Wide Rebellion on the Skateland Killer rhythm and Sinbad took up the mic again like a boat to water.

Their eagerly awaited “sort of showcase” LP of vocals and companion dubs Reggae Music Will Mad Unu! features a crack team of UK and Jamaican talent. The musicians are long-time Frenchie associates (rhythm sections Sly & Robbie and Mafia & Fluxy, Dean Fraser on saxophone) and current session cream (C Sharp’s Lamont Savory on guitar). Ditto the engineers (Maximum Sound mainstay Fatta Marshall and special guest Alborosie). The result marks a welcome reappearance for the skipper and a high point for Frenchie since his 2010 Luciano album United States of Africa.

Sinbad comes out roaring like a giant from the Ray Harryhausen movies that feature his namesake. He spits lyrical fire in all directions: roll-calls of great reggae artists, producers and herb varietals, proverbs and nursery rhymes are all swept up in a monstrous typhoon of word sound and power. His style is hypnotic and repetitive - but as the late Guru once said “it’s mostly the voice”, which is unchanged. Beneath the hull Sly Dunbar’s crashing militant drums and Dean’s blazing horns are put through the mangle of squelchy filters and sweeping flangers that would make Scientist proud.

Frenchie’s equal appreciation of live instrument roots and digital dancehall means some of his rhythms can fuse the two in ways that might confuse people who are into one or the other. Here the change is careful and gradual. Side one moves from vintage Sinbad era (Dutty Tuff on Frenchie’s relick of Fally Ranking) to the late 80s (Do You Rememba – where vocal and dub are conjoined). Side two goes back to the foundation (Music Will Mad Unu on an old Bunny Lee rocksteady – Slim Smith’s Build My World with overdubbed sax) and then into hip-hop (an “on-beat” remix of the Lecturer rhythm).

The dubs are exclusive to the vinyl pressing, which boasts a sleeve by Tony McDermott (who illustrated the cover for 1982’s The Seven Voyages Of Captain Sinbad). Frenchie is well known for his outspoken criticisms of how music is consumed in the internet age so his rewarding of record buyers should not come as a surprise! However, the digital edition has four extra tracks: the singles World Wide Rebellion, Jamaica 50 and Capital Offense plus the previously unissued Hang Them on the Praise Jahoviah/Billie Jean backing. These can be downloaded when it is released on April 15th.

The word “masterpiece” is frequently used incorrectly as a term of praise in music criticism (hint: you can only have one). French has not been an apprentice since leaving Fashion Records in the 90s yet this is amongst his two decade career’s finest work. Reggae Music Will Mad Unu! is both masterpiece for its producer and a triumphant comeback for its star.

RELEASE DETAILS

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Captain Sinbad - Reggae Music Will Mad Unu!

DIGITAL RELEASE / VINYL [Maximum Sound]

Release date: Vinyl: March 2013 | Digital: April 15th


Tracks

01. Where The Rub A Dub Live
02. Dutty Tuff
03. In Concert
04. Music Will Mad Unu
05. Ganja Chemist
06. World Wide Rebellion
07. Capital Offence
08. Jamaica 50
09. Hang Them
10. Do You Rememba Dub


Tracks Vinyl Edition

Side One:
1. Where The Rub A Dub Live
2. Rub A Dub
3. Dutty Tuff
4. Dutty Filta Dub
5. Do You Remember Dub

Side Two:
1. In Concert
2. Dub In Concert
3. Music Will Mad Unu
4. Dub Will Mad Unu
5. Ganja Chemist
6. Chemical Dub


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