It's been a busy week or so and I finally realised writing or being part of 3 blogs is rather quite tricky time wise.
The first selection I am going to cover was picked by a wonderful chap from Norway by the name of Preben (also known as @ohpebbles on Twitter). This combination 7:1:25 was picked at random on Monday 7th March.
Sizzla - Royal Son Of Ethiopia
People who knew me well at a certain time in my life would know that I went through a huge reggae phase, which lasted many years. Rather oddly I got in to reggae in an almost chronological order - starting with Ska, working my way through Rocksteady, Dub and ending up in the rather brilliant 1970's roots era.
I really struggled with anything beyond 1979 as Reggae music started to go digital as soon as the 1980's took hold -and this has never sat well with me for some reason.
Sizzla's output is rather prolific by anyone's standards -releasing around 42 albums in a 16 year period. It is fair to say they are of varying quality.
Royal Son of Ethiopia was released in 1999 and is perhaps the album which made the UK reggae audience sit up and notice him a little.
To be honest, this CD starts a little of the weak side, with rather formulaic rhythms which lack any great depth, or bass for that matter. Although once you hit the middle period (mainly tracks 4 to 7) the album really does come into its own. Overall its a good album - but there was much better to come over the next couple of years.
I rarely listen to Sizzla any more, there are a few things that don't sit right with me. Allegations that Sizzla's lyrics incite violence and the murder of homosexuals, which lead him to be refused from entering the UK in 2004. He also had shows cancelled in Canada in 2007, was arrested and deported from Spain in 2008 and had further gigs called off in Germany during 2009 and 2010. Unfortunately this kind of attitude is quite rife within modern Rastafarian music.
In 2010 Sizzla also travelled to Zimbabwe to perform for Robert Mugabe's 86th Birthday celebrations which reportedly damaged his reputation in the country. He has since been given land in the country which has also not gone down well amongst his fan base.
My second selection this week was chosen by Tom (@drwinston001 on twitter). He chose the combination 7:2:7
Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse present Dark Night Of The Soul
Lets start with this. If you have not heard or heard of Sparklehorse go buy yourself a copy of Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot and start from there.
Sparklehorse is essentially one man - Mark Linkous who suffered terribly with his mental health and a terrible addiction to drugs. In 1996, while touring with Radiohead he overdosed on anti-depressants, valium, alcohol and heroin while in London - the upshot of which nearly lost him the use of both legs and left his confined to a wheelchair for 6 months.
This album was released in 2009 and was a collaboration between Linkous, producer Danger Mouse and film maker David Lynch.
Although it is not billed entirely as a Sparklehorse album you can certainly hear the influence and the input he had on it. Dark, moody and a little bit floaty it has some brilliant collaborations with The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys, Julian Casablancas, Iggy Pop and more.
This story does not have a happy ending though. Mark Linkous sadly passed away on 6th March 2010 after commiting suicide.
It was a huge loss for the music world.