Bristol Archive Records Blog

Archive for February, 2012

Bunny Marrett – Album

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012


Released 18th June 2012 as Vinyl LP (Limited Edition), CD & Digital Download,

through Bristol Archive Records / Shellshock and all digital platforms.


          An influential figure on the Bristol reggae scene since the 1970s, Bunny Marrett has been shamefully neglected on record with just two tracks on the A side of a 1981 Shoc Wave 12” his sole output, although his compositions have fared somewhat better having been recorded and released by both Black Roots and Delroy Ogilvie.

     Bristol Archive Record’s June 18th release of Bunny’s 1986 recorded album “I’m Free,” should go some way to making up for that oversight. As a bonus, Bunny is accompanied by legendary Bristol band The Startled Insects and equally legendary local jazz drummer Tony Orrell.

     Bunny may be a reggae artist, but he is also a jazz lover and with first rate jazz accompaniment, the music they produced is a totally natural fusion of reggae and jazz that more than twenty five years after it was recorded still sounds totally fresh.  It’s naturalness, it’s simplicity and it’s beauty make this music timeless and with an appeal far beyond the traditional reggae market. This is joyful music created by musicians who were obviously having fun and that shines through. There is no artifice in this meeting of Jamaica’s and the United States’ greatest musical gifts, it just works as a perfect blend of styles.

     Bunny has been singing since his childhood in Montego Bay and after relocating to Kingston was soon entering talent competitions. Moving to England whilst still in his teens, Bunny continued to sing as well as becoming involved with sound systems. He also embraced the local jazz scene as well as the diverse music of the West Indies including learning to play Piano with Laurel Aitken. Although his profile outside of Bristol may not have been high, by the time he recorded “I’m Free” he was an experienced writer and performer.

      When they collaborated with Bunny the, Startled Insects had already made an impact with their first two records on Antenna and were about to be signed by Island. One of the Startled Insects, Richard Lewis, will be well known to fans of Bristol Archive Records as legendary engineer and producer UK Scientist. The remaining band members known as just the Insects, would go on to a very successful career scoring music for film and television, writing for Massive Attack and working with several leading UK acts.

       Drummer Tony Orrell is something of a legend in Bristol music circles. In fact, having played with Spirit Level, Sphere, Andy Sheppard and Adrian Utley to name just a few, he’s a hugely respected musician on the UK jazz scene and has often utilised his talents for non jazz artists.

       The vinyl LP contains the 1986 album as it was envisioned, four vocals, the uplifting title track “I’m Free”, Bunny’s tribute to Bob Marley with “Jazzy Reggae” making an excellent adaptation of the Wailers original. “Farm Diggin’” inspired by life in rural Jamaica and “Natural Princess” a pure love song, “Jazzy Reggae and “Farm Digging” are accompanied by their versions/dubs. For the CD issue we have added “Times Are Getting Harder” and “Hard Times (dub)” both tracks from Bunny’s Shoc Wave 12”.





ARTIST: Bunny Marrett

TITLE: I’m Free

RELEASE DATE: 18th June 2012

LABEL: Bristol Archive Records


FORMAT: Format:   Vinyl LP (Limited Edition), CD and Digital Download

CAT NO: ARC253V and ARC253CD

BARCODE: 5052571027318 / 5052571027325

DOWNLOAD LINK (For review purposes only): 


CONTACT: Mike Darby, E:  T: 07885 498 402






Side 1:


!. “I’m Free”

2. “Natural Princess”

3. “Farm Diggin’”


Side 2:


1. “Farm Dubbin’”

2. “Jazzy Reggae”

3. “Jazzy Reggae Dub”




1. “I’m Free”

2. “Natural Princess”

3. “Farm Diggin’”

4. “Farm Dubbin’”

5. “Jazzy Reggae”

6. “Jazzy reggae Dub”

7. “Times Are Getting Harder”

8. “Hard Times Dub”


Joshua (Jashwha) Moses – Live Performance

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012





In the early 1980s, Joshua Moses was one of Bristol’s most popular live performers. He took his brand of Roots Reggae on tour across the UK and Europe but like many others, changes in taste and the loss of venues saw Joshua virtually retire from live shows.

      Now with the release of his highly acclaimed debut album “Joshua to Jashwha – 30 Years In the Wilderness” released via Bristol Archive Records, Joshua makes his long overdue return with a gig at the Fleece. With support from The Ras Band and a catalogue of great songs, many of which he’ll be performing live for the first time, Joshua will be reminding fans old and new just why his music was so popular first time around.

      Along with Joshua there will be a surprise special guest and support from Papa Roots Sound System. It’s been a long time coming but the return of Joshua Moses isn’t to be missed.


A joint presentation by The Fleece, Bristol Archive Records and Midnight Mango Agency.


You Tube Video link:


The Bristol Reggae Explosion 3 – Killa Review

Monday, February 27th, 2012


It’s hard to believe that this series is up to volume three, documenting the music being made in one city, in one genre. They’re onto mostly unreleased music but the quality is still there, there was clearly just too much around to find a market at the time. These are the boom years of British reggae; the very end of the seventies and up to the middle part of the eighties. After that, the fire kind of went out, though isolated examples from later have value. The Rastafari movement and Roots reggae gave a spiritual and political impetus to the music being made but, as people moved back to love songs, things lost their stepping force.

Talisman feature large, three times if you count their previous incarnation as Revalation Rockers, with strong cuts. Bunny Marrett has an affecting demo, sounding like it was recorded in a cave and none the worse for it. Joshua Moses, a man who failed to get more than two tracks released in thirty years, has a great live cut, Stick It Up, sounding filthy but actually lambasting hypocrites and parasites, it captures the groove of live reggae. Some dub gives colour, from Alfred McIntosh and Babylon Fire – Ron Green is the best of the set though, groovy, dubby, echoey. The strangely named Popsy Curious has a classic in Chant Down Bobby Rome, a hypnotic repetition of “Brother are you ready, Sister are you ready, Ready to chant down Babylon”. Kind of sums up Roots for me. Zapp Stereo bring more dub, while Cool Runnings (presumably named for the eighties film about the Jamaican bobsleigh team) are nothing less than excellent. Popsy reappears on The Vibes Lovers Rock contribution – a sweet thing, before Dan Rachet ends the set with more Lovers. At seventy minutes, this third compilation isn’t a moment too long – an astonishing achievement!

A continuing record of an era when British musicians eclipsed Jamaica, I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this, reggae aficionado or not. This is a really great compilation – if this much was going on in the early eighties in Bristol, it makes me want to take a time machine back there. This is the next best thing.

Ross McGibbon

Joshua Moses Album Review

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Joshua Moses

Joshua to Jashwha: 30 Years in the Wilderness Bristol Archive ARC250CD


**** (pick)


The Bristol Archive label continues its project of documenting the long-neglected Bristol reggae scene with this odds-and-ends assortment of recordings by Joshua Moses. Moses began recording in 1978, and soon became a local favorite. However, when Bristol Archives contacted him to begin the project of compiling a retrospective album, they found that he had kept no copies of any of his many recordings. Joshua to Jashwa: 30 Years in the Wilderness is therefore the product of extensive detective work, and includes the only two Moses tracks ever to have been commercially

released: “Africa Is Our Land” and its dub version. Where the rest of this material came from is a mystery, but reggae lovers everywhere owe a huge debt to those who dug it up‹this is top-quality roots reggae. Moses’ voice is smooth and strong, sometimes strongly reminiscent of Johnny Clarke’s, and his songs are simple and straightforward but powerfully engaging.

Those who have been following the Bristol Archive’s aggressive release schedule over the past few years will recognize “Rise Up” from the excellent Bristol Reggae Explosion, Vol. 2 compilation, but there is even better material here: excellent live versions of “House of Dread” and “Protection”; the weirdly chugging “Steel”; his adaptation of Aswad’s “Promised Land” rhythm into the original song “Jah Time Has Come”; the ska-inflected “Bobby Wrong.” At the peak of his powers Moses was both deeply rooted in the traditional reggae verities and a truly unique vocalist and songwriter‹a combination both counterintuitive and wonderful.

Despite one or two minor clunkers (check out the bizarrely unbalanced sound on “Nothing to Lose” and the messy pseudo-delta-blues of  “Distant

Guns”) this album should be considered an essential purchase by all serious reggae lovers.


Taken from All-Media Guide from the USA

Dan Ratchet – Rise Up

Saturday, February 18th, 2012
Dan Ratchet 12″ Vinyl (Limited Edition) ARC254V
Recorded in London and mixed at Dynamic Studios, Jamaica 1986
Produced by Simbarashe Tongogara
Never released until now – 11th June 2012
Pre-sales will be up soon at and all major and minor overground and underground mainstream and reggae distribution outlets
The album drops in July 2012 with more previously unreleased material to follow later in the year and 2013 – busy time for Dan and exciting for the team
Video for Afrikana Policies will be uploaded and available in March

Smith & Mighty – The Wire

Friday, February 17th, 2012
Listen to selections from the Office Ambience for our March 2011 issue.
Sun Araw & M Geddes Gengras meet The Congos
Icon Give Thank
(RVNG Intl)

Oren Ambarchi
Audience Of One

Giant Single: The Profile Records Rap Anthology
(Sony Legacy)

Pareidolia I

Smith & Mighty
The Three Stripe Collection 1985–1990
(Bristol Archive)

John Zorn
Mount Analogue

Mark Ernestus presents Jeri-Jeri with Mbene Diatta Seck
Mbeuguel Dafa Nekh

Robert Turman
(Spectrum Spools)

Erland Dahlen
Rolling Bomber


Daniel Menche
Wind Recordings Collection Mix 2010–2011
(via Soundcloud)

My Machines

(Nuclear Blast)

Damir Avdić
Mein Kapital
(via Bandcamp)

Junko & Masayoshi Urabe
Swing Low, Sweet Silence

Compiled by The Wire Sound System. We welcome charts from record shops, radio shows, DJs, labels, musicians, bloggers, readers, etc. Email a top 15 to

Taken from the very cool:

Talisman ‘Takin The Strain’

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

TALISMAN: ‘Takin’ The Strain.’

For many, ‘reggae music ’starts and ends with Bob Marley – which is a great shame as the genre has so much more to offer. I don’t intend that as any sort of slight on the great man ….. but in the current age of manufactured and ‘auto-tuned’ commercial music, there is just so much excellent music (and reggae in particular) that simply doesn’t get heard by the ‘casual’ listener.

One label trying to alter this is the fabulous Bristol Archive Records. For a couple of years now they have been re-releasing music that originally emanated from their city during the late Seventies / early Eighties – music from bands that garnered much critical praise for their ‘live’ shows, but due to their music being released on small independent / DIY labels, failed to gain the commercial and more widespread success that they undoubtedly merited.

One such band was / is TALISMAN.

Having previously released their early output in the form of the ‘Dole Age – The 1981 Reggae Collection’, Bristol Archive Records now turn their attention to the band’s first studio album, ‘Takin’ The Strain,’ which was initially released on vinyl format back in 1984.

And this is a perfect illustration of my earlier assertion that there is so much more to reggae music than simply Bob Marley.

The nine studio tracks on this album (there are also five bonus ‘live’ recordings) show a great degree of variation and innovation within the genre. Opening with the title track, the listener is dropped straight into a conventional, slow and deep traditional reggae vibe, with backbeat guitar and little dub interspersions – all held together with the whine of the Hammond organ and some unobtrusive brass backing.

Crime Of Passion’ opens with a highly toned guitar, akin more to what you’d expect from a traditional African instrument. This is offset with some bouncy bass and female backing harmonies. The guitar picking throughout is clean, concise and infectious. ‘Lick And Run’ is in fact quite ‘Marley-esque’ but differs in the percussion department, with excellent cowbell use. (I love the cowbell!)

‘Ah Wah You Seh’ is unique (certainly as far as my limited knowledge goes) and ingenious in the way TALISMAN have incorporated the violin throughout. Always maintaining the steady reggae beat, it at times takes on ‘classical’ feel, and at others a bit more of a ‘jazz’ vibe. Clever.

‘Lord Of The Dance’ features simple piano hooks and a brass section that can probably best be compared to an early (and good) UB40 style. Again, the inventiveness of TALISMAN shines through with those little piano lines mixed into a reggae backing. ‘Stride On,’ is more along the conventional route, and while still most enjoyable, I have to say is the track that I actually forgot about when thinking about what to say in this review. Good, but not as memorable as the other tracks.

‘I’m Sorry,’ brings the listener back to the more innovative side of TALISMAN, with this track featuring keyboard effects that mimic a tuba (?) the deep notes giving the song a slightly ‘cheeky’ sound as it competes with the slow beat and other space-like sound effects. ‘Calamity’ is pure sing-a-long reggae magic, and if this doesn’t get you bouncing out your seat and skanking around the room then maybe reggae just isn’t for you after all!

Closing track ‘Burn The Bread,’ probably stretches the accepted description of the ‘reggae’ definition. Yes, a reggae beat is there in the background, but the overall vibe created by the vocal delivery is more out of the Grandmaster Flash school than that of Bob Marley.

Of the five live bonus tracks, four are repeated from the original studio recording. The other, ‘Slow Poison’ was an integral part of the bands live set for many years.

(TALISMAN have recently reformed and are now playing gigs throughout the UK!)

(Released through Bristol Archive Records on 5th March 2012)

(10 / 10)

Taken from:

New UK Reggae Record Label Launched

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Bristol-based Sugar Shack Records has been rebranded and launched as a label specialising in releasing new British reggae music.

Artists on the label’s books so far include JASHWHA MOSES, BLACK ROOTS, TALISMAN and AMJ DUB COLLECTIVE.

The first release on the Sugar Shack label, which is the sister imprint of Bristol Archive Records and Reggae Archive Records, is AMJ DUB COLLECTIVE’s 12” vinyl Sound History Vol 1.

The new record is a tribute to Bristol sound systems and features THE GENERAL on MC duties and ROB SMITH with a brace of dub mixes.


JASHWHA MOSES’ new album No War has been slated for release in September, while a brand new record from BLACK ROOTS is expected around the same time.

JASHWHA, formerly known as JOSHUA MOSES, is also putting out a career retrospective record called Joshua To Jashwha – 30 Years on 9 April.

TALISMAN’s Takin The Strain (deluxe edition) CD is set for release on 5 March and the band will start recording new material in the spring.

Upcoming TALISMAN shows include:

·         8 Mar – Leamington Spa Assembly Rooms (supporting THE SELECTER)

·         29 Mar – Exeter Phoenix (supporting THE SELECTER)

·         31 Mar – WAMA High Wycombe (headliner)

·         27 May – VegFest, Bristol (headliner)

·         20 Jul – Llangollen, Wales

·         18 Aug – Wowfest, Isle Of Wight

Check out live footage of the roots reggae band performing at the Fleece in Bristol last December.

Sugar Shack was established in 1985 and released some critically acclaimed rock music from the likes of MIDASUNO, XISLOADED, LEFT SIDE BRAIN, CRASHLAND and REDEFINE, among others.

Label head Mike Darby said: “After 25 plus years of fantastic music we look forward to concentrating on promoting fantastic British reggae acts.”



Future Releases

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Dan Rachet album

Bunny Marrett

Ron Green

Statik Sound System are now on board

Busy few months coming up