Capital Letters – Smoking My Ganja (Rootikal Remix EP) – Reggae Archive Records
Format : Digital Download / Vinyl 12”
Overall rating : 5 Stars
Reggae Archive Records, the Bristol based record label that puts so much effort in reissuing worthwhile UK produced Reggae music and sometimes even manages to surprise avid fans of the genre with never before released material, gives these fans something special with the release of a brand new 12″ Vinyl EP (also available as digital download).
In the mid-to-late 1970s Wolverhampton’s roots champions Capital Letters, together with outfits such as The Cimarons, Black Roots, Reggae Regular, Black Slate and Steel Pulse, forged a style that was rooted in what was heard from ‘Yard’, but informed by the musicians’ own immediate environments. With “Headline News”, the band delivered an impressive debut album for the Greensleeves label. The original 10-track vinyl LP featured archetypal UK roots rocking that still sounds good today as it did back in 1979.
One of the tracks featured on side A of “Headline News” was the ganja man anthem “Smoking My Ganja”, a previously released storming powerhouse of a record (with “Natty Walk” on the flipside) that broadly appealed to the disillusioned youth through its militancy and decidedly pro-marijuana message. A different version of the “Smoking My Ganja” song appeared on the earlier this year released “Reality” set, which consists of never before released material and remixes. It’s “Smoking My Ganja” along with the album’s title track “Reality” that were given to Rootikal’s David Hill, who together with Nick Manasseh took the original multi tracks and remixed them to full effect. On “Smoking My Ganja (Rootikal Re-Rub)” the pop sensibilities of this slice of ska flavoured UK Reggae gold are gone. The foreboding bass line leaps off the speakers as never before and the vocal sounds darker and rootsier. The “Rootikal Dub Plate Cut” is hypnotic and relentless, while the drum & bass mix of “Rootikal Deep Riddim Rewind” goes back to basics with the song pared down to the essentials.
On the other side things get started with two versions of “House Breaker”. The latter is an instrumental — also discovered on the session tapes of the aforementioned “Reality” album — which makes its debut here. It’s the drum sound complemented by the awesome pounding bass that instantly attracts attention. Especially the “Rootikal Rewind” version is truly wicked and wild and provides deep and heavy dub vibes. Without any doubt “Reality” was one of the highlights of the album that bears its name and that tune returns in a majestic way, thanks to the skilful hands of David Hill and Nick Manasseh. The listener is treated to a vocal, which is proper ‘old skool’ UK Roots Reggae at its very best. A real big tune, followed by its simply great to hear dub counterpart.
A must-have release, which especially vinyl aficionados shouldn’t ignore!!