Bristol Archive Records Blog

Record Collector Album Review

The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983

Various Artists



There’s been a  thriving reggae scene in England for four decades now, thanks to excellent bands from London ( Aswad,  Matumbi, Reggae Regular) or Birmingham (Steel Pulse and, if you must, UB40). But how about Bristol? Isolated from the mainstream of the UK Scene, the western city nutured a flourishing scene both live and on disc, as The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983 proves.

The local labels may have operated on a shoestring, but there’s nothing cheap about the performance or the production of tracks such as Black Roots sturdy Bristol Rock or Talisman’s ear-catching Dole Age, which is lyrically bleak but rides a rhythm of which Leslie Kong would have been proud. The albums tour-de-force is the highly sought-after Africa by Joshua Moses, a dignified cultural anthem which segues into a crisply menacing dub. Sharon Bengamin’s Mr Guy is sweetly amateurish, but no more so than much London-recorded lover’s rock. BRING ON VOLUME TWO!   

(Michael de Koningh)

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