Bristol Archive Records Blog

Posts Tagged ‘roots reggae’

Black Roots – London Show

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Black Roots plus Fowokan featuring Jimmy Lindsay
It’s set to be a truly great night of British reggae on Friday 18th November with this fantastic double header featuring Black Roots and Fowokan at Under the Bridge, Chelsea.
Following their appearance at Alexander Palace (All Tomorrows Parties, curated by Portishead) in July 2011, newly reformed Black Roots have just seen the launch of their new “best of” CD (“The Reggae Singles Anthology”, Bristol Archive)and live DVD ahead of their return to the studio in early 2012. Catch this rare opportunity to see them live.
Black Roots
Black Roots were a powerful and potent force in the British reggae music scene throughout the 80’s and left a legacy of no less than ten albums and more than eight singles before bowing out of the public eye in the mid-90’s. Hailing from the St Paul’s area of Bristol, the original eight-member band was formed in 1979 and quickly gained a large following by touring almost non-stop around the country, playing their brand of ‘militant pacifism’ roots.
Their album “Black Roots” released in 1983 was a highly acclaimed debut for the band and saw them make their mark immediately on the national music scene. The band continued to attract attention and praise with their next two albums and their fourth, “All Day All Night” was produced by Mad Professor. In response to public demand for a live album Black Roots released “Live Power” in 1988 capturing the power and strength of the band’s tight, vibrant and entertaining stage performance.
In 1991 Black Roots and Neil Fraser released “Dub Factor: The Mad Professor Mixes” along with Black Steel and the horn section from the All Day All Night album. The tenth and final album “Dub Factor 3: Dub Judah & Mad Professor Mixes” released in 1995 finally brought the curtain down on Bristol’s finest exponents of reggae and without doubt, one of Britain’s best loved performing bands of the genre.
“If anyone tells you that there is no such thing as good British reggae, first tell them that they are a herbert and then listen to Black Roots.” John Peel
Melding soulful roots reggae with hard hitting funky vibes Fowokan features some of the best UK musical talent of the genres. Forged from their time together in the legendary British funk band Cymande, Fowokan re-unites founding member Sam Kelly (drums / backing vocals) with Jimmy Lindsay (vocals).
Jimmy’s song writing delves deep into the roots of reggae and communicates a powerful message through his Jamaican heritage. The strength of Jimmy’s writing is captured on his three solo albums (including “Children of Rastafri“ ). His chart success includes the 1977 British Reggae Award winning single, a re-working of the Commodores “Easy“.
Playing as a formidable six piece unit, this is funky roots reggae at its best.
Under The Bridge
Under The Bridge is the new music venue in West London based beneath the terraces of the Stamford Bridge football ground. With a capacity of 600 and state of the art lighting and sound, UTB is a great gig space which delivers on both atmosphere and intimacy.
The UTB team are committed to delivering music events of a high standard across many genres, staging performances by major artists as well as showcasing some of the best emerging talent around.
Tickets and more information available from
Press Contacts
Graeme Miall, Promoter, One Tree Limited , Telephone : 07816 845 883
This event is a co-promotion bought to you by Under The Bridge Limited and One Tree Limited.

Reggae Explosion 2 The 80′s Album Review

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Album Reviews- The Bristol Reggae Explosion


Various Artists -’The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983′ (Bristol Archive Records)


Various Artists -’The Bristol Reggae Explosion 2 ‘The 80’s’ ‘ (Bristol Archive Records)

Even before you listen to a note from this excellent pair of a compilations, they throw up some interesting points. Firstly, just how London-centric the UK music industry remains and has been for decades. This has meant that with the radio, TV and most national print media being based there, it has been necessary to break London to make a National Impact and to give the impression of having ‘made it.’

Also that British Reggae has siffered from being viewed as not quite as good as that which originated from Jamaica, in as much as (Pre-Grime) UK Hip-Hop was seen as beinginferior to the US Variety. But just as names from the late 80s such as Derek B, The Wee Papa Girl Rappers made an imopact but have still to truly get their historical due, so British Reggae has also suffered. Leaving UB40 out of it, the late 70s saw the likes of Aswad, Janet Kay, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Steel Pulse, to name but four. The two-tone movement in Coventry of the era may also be seen to have been a first or secondary cousin. And as well as all this, there was the Bristol Scene.

In purely simplistic terms, it could be said that these compilations do what is said on the tin. But that would be to underplay just how much wonderful music is on these two albums. Reggae , like pretty much every other genre, has its’ own sub-genres, and much of what is on offer here is Roots or Dub. But you will also find the gorgeous lovers rock of Sharon Bengamin’s ‘Mr. Guy’ and Volume 2 closes with Ran Ratchet and Teknika’s ‘Ragamuffin Girl’ which has more of a dancehall vibe, sounding lighter and far removed from the Roots on offer.

It may be that many of the names on here are unknown to many (this writer included). The reason for this is not just the inclusion of some previously unreleased tracks but the scareceness of some of the tracks in the first place. As the press release explains, most of these records were pressed in very small quantities and sold directly to fans at gigs. These two compilations are therefore very much a labour of love for the appropriately titled Bristol Archive Records who have licensed and gathered together these tracks.

There’s hardely a duff track on here, though if I had to single out some tracks that have really stood out for me, they would include Zapp Stereo’s ‘Way OUt West’ the appropriately named ‘Bristol Rock’ by Black Roots and the scarce as anything ‘Robin Hoods Of The Ghetto’ by Cool Runnings.

Reggae would continue to make its presence felt furing the nineties in two forms that owed a debt to the sounds on here. First of all, when hardcore dance hit 168 bpm it was twice the speed of the 84bpm reggae records which played off each other (or indeed together) lead to the style that became known as Drum’n’bass. And in Bristol, The Trip Hopmobement clearly had their roots in the reggae scene as much as rave culture, if not more so. Some of the most improtant records of the nineties in any genre from the likes of Tricky (Maxinquaye), Portishead (Dummy, Portishead), Massive Attack (Blue Lines, Protection)
and Ronnie Size and Reprazent (Newforms) came not only out of the region but a mere degree or two removed from these records.

These compilations are more than just historically interesting; they help provide the DNA of much of the best British music of the last twenty years and shed light on an unfairly overlooked scene.


The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983 and The Bristol Reggae Explosion 2 ‘The 80’s’ are out now on Bristol Archive Records

Taken from:

Talisman Shows

Monday, September 5th, 2011

16th Dec – WAMA, High Wycombe

23rd Dec – Fleece, Bristol

Black Roots Shows

Monday, September 5th, 2011

15th – WAMA, High Wycombe

18th – Under The Bridge, Chelsea, London

4th – Phoenix, Exeter

Black Roots Album Review

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Black Roots