I wouldn’t normally use LOUD HORIZON to actually ‘plug’ forthcoming releases other than through a ‘review’ article, but I’m going to make an exception in this case because:
a) I love BLACK ROOTS;
b) British reggae always was, and still is, vastly underrated;
c) Although a CD / DVD version will be available, this release is also on a Limited Edition double-vinyl (with insert) basis, which is pretty cool;
d) It is on the BRISTOL ARCHIVE RECORDS imprint who do a wonderful job of promoting and revitalising the music heritage of their city, and
e) I can!
Here’s the background to the release as described by the label, interspersed with some classic video.
Thirty years after they released their first four track EP Black Roots’ singles output is finally showcased on “Black Roots – The Reggae Singles Anthology”. Released on September 5th, by Bristol Archive Records in collaboration with Nubian Records this 16 track album spans the band’s creative peak of the 1980s.
Black Roots were Bristol’s leading exponents of reggae, constantly touring throughout the UK and Europe. They also managed to release a steady stream of LPs and singles mostly on their own Nubian label. Now for the first time the majority of those singles are brought together on a single CD and limited double vinyl LP.
The music includes all of their key early singles, their first EP in its entirety, the three track follow up, the original single mix of “The Frontline” from the BBC series of the same name and later releases such as their collaborations with the Mad Professor.
This release wouldn’t have been possible without the full support of the Band’s own label, Nubian Records, who have allowed us free reign of their archives, the result being a 16 page booklet to accompany the CD that is packed full of previously unpublished photos of the band, the limited double vinyl issue comes with a similarly illustrated LP size insert.
As if a 16 track selection of some of the finest UK reggae wasn’t enough the initial run of CDs have an added bonus, the first DVD issue of the impossible to find “Celebration”. A great live show from 1986, recorded at the Bristol Studio and previously only available on the original self financed video cassette issue. Taken directly from the video master this performance catches the band in fine form, joined by a horn section that includes the legendary Vin Gordon on Trombone the ten tracks are evenly split between their then pending “All Day All Night” album and their earlier more roots orientated material. Seeing them on stage 25 years ago really brings home how versatile the band were. Fortunately the original line-up of Black Roots reformed last year and with plenty of gigs in the pipeline everyone will be able to experience their live shows again.
As is usual Bristol Archive Records have paid meticulous attention to detail and, not only do you get a selection of great music, sleeve notes, a booklet packed with great photos, and a bonus live DVD, but we truly believe the music has never sounded so good on CD.
BRISTOL ROCK 4.15 (Bunny Marrett/Arranged by Black Roots) 1981
TRIBAL WAR 4.22 (Black Roots)1981
THE FATHER 3.30 (Black Roots)1981
THE SYSTEM 3.58 (Bunny Marrett/Arranged by Black Roots)1981
CHANTING FOR FREEDOM 8.45 (Black Roots)1981
CONFUSION 3.28 (Black Roots)1981
WHAT THEM A DO 5.57 (Black Roots)1981
THE FRONTLINE 3.43 (Black Roots)1984
MOVE ON 6.07 (Black Roots)1983
JUVENILE DELINQUENT 4.23 (Black Roots)1984
STRUGGLING 5.14 (Black Roots)1984
SEEING YOUR FACE 4.17 (Black Roots)1986
CONMAN 3.22 (Black Roots)1986
PIN IN THE OCEAN 6.38 (Black Roots)1987
SUZY WONG 4.57 (P. Ecclestone)1987
START AFRESH 5.55 (Black Roots)1988
Although not released until September of this year, pre-orders are now being taken at bristolarchiverecords.com at the price of £15 + postage for the vinyl package and £12 + postage for the CD / DVD version.