Bristol Archive Records Blog

Archive for December, 2011

Talisman live footage Dec 2011

Monday, December 26th, 2011

TALISMAN live at the Fleece, Bristol: fan-filmed video footage available

UK roots reggae band TALISMAN performed live at the Fleece in Bristol last night. Fan-filmed video of the show, including tracks “Nitty Gritty” and “Stride On”, can be viewed below.

The homecoming gig, with support from PAPA ROOTS SOUND SYSTEM, concludes a successful year for the Bristol group, after the release of Dole Age – The 1981 Reggae Collection, followed by the group’s first Bristol show for 20 years back in May.

The track “Stride On” features on the Dole Age… LP; here it is live:

“Stride On”

The vinyl format of the Dole Age LP also features the previously unreleased track “Nitty Gritty”. Here’s the band playing the track at the Fleece:“Nitty Gritty”

Originally formed in 1977, the 2011 line-up of the band includes the following founding members:

  • Bekele Sengor (also known as Dehvan Othieno) – lead vocals and guitar
  • Leroy Forbes – lead guitar
  • Dennison Joseph – bass

After nearly 30 years Bristol Archive Records put together Dole Age… showcasing the band at their peak in 1981. The CD contains the band’s two original 7” singles and eight live cuts from Glastonbury Festival and a Bath University show.

The Bristol label is also set to release on 5 March 2012 a new ‘lost’ album from REVELATION ROCKERS – the band that went on to form TALISMAN. A deluxe edition of TALISMAN’s first album (from 1984) Takin The Strain is due out on the same day.

The Bristol Reggae Explosion Vol 3 – The 80’s part 2, which features a TALISMAN track, is also due out not long after, on 19 March 2012.

TALISMAN has one upcoming show so far in 2012:

  • 31 Mar. 2012 – WAMA, High Wycombe

Album reviews from the ALL MUSIC GUIDE from the USA

Friday, December 23rd, 2011


Dole Age

Bristol Archives




Originally formed in 1977 as Revelation Rockers, Talisman was one of the iconic players in Bristol, England’s little-known but very rich reggae scene. Although they achieved significant success in the UK and snagged opening-act slots for such important acts as the Clash, the Rolling Stones, and Burning Spear, Talisman never managed to get a contract with a major record label and their recorded output between 1977 and 1984 amounted to only two singles. Dole Age compiles the A and B sides from both of those singles (the deluxe LP version boasts extended 12″ mixes of those tracks) and adds seven live tracks from the period. While the quality of this material is consistently high and the release should be snapped up by fans of UK reggae, it’s fairly easy to see why Talisman had trouble keeping the interest of major labels: their sound is accomplished but at times a bit featureless, occupying a fuzzy area somewhere between the dry severity of early Steel Pulse and the smooth roots-pop of middle-period Aswad. That said, there are some great songs here: the swinging “Wicked Dem” recalls the sound of UB40 at around the same time, while “Free Speech” bustles along nicely in a Two Tone mode and the live “Calamity” boasts both sharp hooks and an elephantine rockers groove.

Talisman were clearly at their best in a live setting, and were particularly good at incorporating dubwise effects onstage, as is nicely demonstrated by the excellent “Nothing Change.” This is very good stuff, but probably mainly of interest to specialist listeners.

Various Artists

Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983

Bristol Archive




By the late 1970s, multiple waves of Jamaican immigrants had come to England and congregated in such industrial centers as London and Birmingham, bringing their music with them and helping to create vibrant reggae scenes in those cities that are amply documented. Less so is the smaller but equally vital scene that grew up in the small town of Bristol, and which is now being given its due by the Bristol Reggae Archives label.

Apart from reissuing albums and compilation by such locally iconic bands as Talisman and Black Roots, the label has also put out a two-part compilation of recordings by lesser-known acts like Joshua Moses, the Radicals, Buggs Durrant, and Restriction. This first volume thoroughly establishes the importance and startling quality of Bristol’s reggae scene during this period: not only are the featured tracks of consistently high quality, but they also vary substantially in style. Although the darker, more serious “roots” school predominates (and is exemplified beautifully by excellent tracks like Joshua Moses’s “Africa Is Our Land” and Black Roots’ “Tribal War”), there are also smoother and more modern entries by the Radicals (“Nights of Passion”) and Buggs Durrant (“Baby Come Back Home”). And with “Mr. Guy,” the sweet-voiced Sharon Bengamin anticipates the lovers rock style that would take London reggae by storm in the 1980s‹her take on the sound is a bit scrappier and more rough-edged (and the sound quality on this vinyl transfer is marginal), but all the elements are in place. Iffy sound quality is a sporadic problem, but it’s not serious enough to diminish the significant pleasures of this excellent collection.

Various Artists

Bristol Reggae Explosion Vol. 2: The 80s Bristol Archive ARC228CD



Following the positive critical and commercial reception of Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983, the Bristol Archive label followed up with a second volume, this one focusing on the early- to mid-1980s and including more extended mixes and dub versions. This volume is the result of pretty serious crate-digging and musical detective work on the part of label

staff: Cool Runnings’ “Robin Hoods of the Ghetto” was apparently originally released in a pressing of only 200 copies, for example, and Bunny Marrett’s “Times Are Getting Harder” was hardly less scarce; Alfred McIntosh’s spare and spacey “Wicked Dub” was never issued commercially at all. While there is nothing on this album that could fairly be categorized as filler, compared to the first volume there is more that will appeal primarily to specialist listeners than to the casual reggae fan. “Times Are Getting Harder,” for example, is quite frankly not that great a song‹those with a serious interest in the history of UK reggae will definitely want to hear it, but few will be likely to put it on a playlist of favorite tracks from the period; and McIntosh’s other dub contribution, “Ah It (Dub)” is also rather lackluster. On the other hand, there are brilliant tracks by Black Roots (“The Father”), Joshua Moses (the minor-key “Rise Up”), and Zion Band (the very Steel Pulse-y “Twelve Tribes”). Anyone with a serious interest in learning more about UK reggae will want to own both this collection and its predecessor.

Black Roots

Reggae Singles Anthology

Bristol Archive/Nubian



**** (pick)

Granted, there was a lot of competition in England during the early 1980s, and granted also that Bristol, the band’s turf, was pretty far removed from the central reggae scenes in London and Birmingham. But still, on the strength of this outstanding compilation, it’s hard to understand why Black Roots didn’t become a major international reggae act. They hit the peak of their powers at the same time that Steel Pulse and Aswad were making a big splash, but despite some high-profile opening slots with major touring bands, Black Roots’ impact was primarily regional. The Bristol Archive label continues its project of bringing classic recordings of the period back to light with this excellent collection of the band’s singles, EP tracks and remixes, including some later songs recorded in collaboration with England’s preeminent modern-roots producer, the Mad Professor. Highlights are hard to identify here, because the quality of playing, singing, and writing are all consistently quite high, but a few tracks do stand out: “The Father” brilliantly combines an earworm melody with a gorgeous descending bassline, to lovely effect; “Chanting for Freedom” is filled with rich harmonies that will make your hair stand on end (and is offered in an excellent showcase version, with the dub version appended); and they do a very nice version of the old Jacob Miller hit “Susie Wong.” The only disappointments are minor: an underwhelming two-chord vamp titled “Juvenile Delinquent,” and a rather tired update of a vintage roots-era rhythm titled “The Frontline.” Otherwise, this is a brilliant compilation from a criminally underappreciated band.

The Story of Lovers Rock

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

The Bristol Archive team went to see this great new film last night to a packed house at The Watershed in Bristol

Its the story of the UK’s history of Lovers Rock

 The DVD pre-order process for  THE STORY OF LOVERS ROCK is now ready.

Please follow the link:

JoBoxers – yes they came from Bristol

Saturday, December 17th, 2011



Thank you for your kind messages and support over the years. 


We wanted to let you know that the re-mastered and expanded edition CD of the JoBOXERS classic debut album ‘Like Gangbusters’, will be released on January 30th.   This includes all the original studio versions of the singles, many not previous available on CD plus all the B sides and 12″ mixes from this era.


The album can be pre-booked here:


Feel free to forward this to anyone that might be interested.


Have a great Christmas and New Year,


Best wishes,




Joshua Moses / Dennis Bovell

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Spent an hour on the telephone last night talking with the great man Mr Bovell about the two Joshua Moses 12″ singles to be released in Feb 2012. The Anthology album for Joshua scheduled for release in April 2012 and Joshua’s new album planned for September 2012. Exciting times for Bristol Archive but equally exciting will be our new label launched in 2012 and our first release from AMJ DUB COLLECTIVE via our rebranded imprint in April 2012.

You can find out more about AMJ here www,  

It was a thrill to be able to explain our plans to Mr Bovell lets hope we can get him involved with in some capacity.

Merry Christmas

Mike, Martin, Steve, Sam and the team

Success in the polls

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Mojo Magazine include ‘Bristol The Reggae Explosion 1978-1983′ in their top ten Reggae Reissue albums on 2011.

We have also scheduled Vol 3 The 80′s Part 2 for a March 19th 2012 release, press release below:




15 Track CD, 8 Track LP AND Digital Download

Released 19th March 2012


The Bristol Reggae Explosion is back with a third volume. Whilst still happily exploring  what was happening in the city during the 1980s, we’ve bent the rules and included a lone track from 1979. If anything, this third volume is our strongest so far, an amazing achievement when you consider that 11 of the 15 tracks are previously unreleased.

      By popular demand, “Bristol Reggae Explosion Volume 3 – The 1980s Part II” has a strong leaning towards the roots side of reggae. The album opens with Revelation Rockers “Jah Praises”, recorded in 1979 and taken from the album of the same name that sees its first release on Bristol Archive Records in March 2012 exclusively on vinyl, so it’s inclusion on Volume 3 will be it’s only CD issue. Revelation Rockers soon changed their name to Talisman and as such they feature twice more with the unreleased (Cave mix) of “Takin’ The Strain” and “Lick & Run” taken from their debut album “Takin’ The Strain”, re-released on CD as a deluxe edition in March 2012.

      We included Bunny Marrett’s only vinyl outing on Volume 2. He returns for Volume 3 with an incredibly soulful and atmospheric performance of “I’m Free.” An alternative version will be included on Bunny’s first album which Bristol Archive Records plan to release later in 2012,something we are really excited about.

      Another act from whom we intend to release a long overdue album is Joshua Moses. ‘Stick It Up’ is a live recording that gives you some idea just how good his shows were and is a taster from the album ‘Joshua to Jashwha- 30 Years In The Wilderness’.  Maintaining the roots vibe are Zion Band, most of whom would go on to form Restriction but not before putting out a six track EP and we’ve included “Babylon Fire/Babylon Dub” from that scarce vinyl release.

     Two more previously featured acts from Volume 2 are Alfred McIntosh, whose dubs were so well received last time, and Cool Runnings, with unreleased alternative versions of two songs taken from their forthcoming self-titled album on Bristol Archive Records.

      Although very well known locally, Popsy Curious gets his introduction to the worldwide reggae community with his “Chant Down Bobby Rome”. He makes a second  contribution showing his lovers rock side, as one of the vocalists on Vibes’ “My Love”. The remaining artists Ron Green, Zapp Stereo, The Radicals and Dan Ratchet will be familiar to those who have our previous volumes. It is worth noting that Dan Ratchet is backed by members of Aswad for his take on the classic mid-eighties U.K. reggae sound. Bristol Archive Records are currently working on releasing Dan’s first album from which “Sweet Rosie” is taken as well as an album from the multi-talented Ron Green.

     All in all, these 15 tracks provide a great overview of the diversity of ideas and styles that were bubbling away in 1980s Bristol. We have had a great response to our first two volumes and hopefully volume three will receive an equally positive welcome.                                                                                                                                                                                                    



Black Roots and Bunny Marrett

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Black Roots have agreed for the Archive to rerelease their 1987 album ‘All Day All Night’ as a Deluxe Edition CD probably in June 2012.

We’ve just found six sensational songs recorded in London 1986 by Bunny Marrett with The Starled Insects, Tony Orrell and Richard Lewis (UK Scientist) as the musicians. This amazing find means that we will have a Bunny Marrett album in 2012. Special thanks to Tim Norfolk.