Bristol Archive Records Blog

Talisman – Takin The Strain

Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Nev Brooks
Saturday, 21 January 2012 04:45

Talisman_Taking_The_StrainFor those with an interest in reggae this is a bit of a landmark recording. It was originally issued on vinyl way back in 1984, and was in fact Talisman’s first studio LP. The band themselves having been mainstays of the Bristol scene since around ’76, albeit with differing personnel through that time. And it’s also perhaps worth pointing out that on the original release of ‘Taking The Strain’ Talisman were in fact a three piece.

This trio of Desmond Taylor (Dehvan Othieno Sengor), Dennison Joseph and Donald de Cordova were supplemented for the recordings by a host of local musicians as well as the engineering and co-production talents of Richard Lewis (UK Scientist), a mainstay of the British reggae scene.

The earlier release through Bristol Archive Records ‘Dole Age’ (reviewed here) showed a band coming to the top of their game in 1981, it contained their first two seven inch singles but also seven live tracks from classic shows at both Glastonbury and Bath University. ‘Taking The Strain’ then builds on this showing a band full of confidence, not afraid to experiment and more to the point highlights some superb musicianship.

So what does it sound like? I have to say this is roots reggae at its very best, on a par with the best to come from Steel Pulse, Aswad and the like, I’d go so far as to say that it pushes one of my personal faves Black Uhuru hard. What instantly comes to mind are the little touches by UK Scientist, the slightly slowed dub bass on some tracks, the crystal clear sound, the guitar wrapping around the vocals and the not so obvious use of keyboards!!!!!

And do you know what? This album gets even better with the addition of a bonus live performance from the London Lyceum from a support slot with Eek-A-Mouse back in 1985. Stand out tracks for me then are ‘Lick And Run’, Stride On’ and ‘Crimes Of Passion” but in all honesty there’s not really a weak track here.

From the bonus tracks ‘Slow Poison’ is absolutely burnin’ in the words of a certain Mr. Marley, listen to that brass section!!!

Overall then a very worthy addition to any music collection.


Leave a Reply