March 5, 2016

Swing-a-Ling Sound system – Volume One (various artists)

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Tags: music reviews Swedish reggae

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(Ok, the long road back has started. Here’s the first re-post from my old blog, before spammers managed to ruin it/Christoffer)

The popularity of Reggae in Sweden may have exploded in recent years compared to what it used to be and there’s no lack of talent among local acts. Unfortunately it does not seem to be much support for local releases. This have however not stopped the albums from coming, Swedish artists have dropped titles since way back in the 70ies when veterans like native “Peps Person” and immigrants like “Tony “Babatunde” Ellis” entered the scene.

This is the first of several reviews where i take a look at some Swedish releases that’s dropped through the years. I start whit one of my own favorites, the compilation “Swing-a-ling Soundsystem Volume One” which dropped in 92 when i took my first stumbling steps as a fan. It features some of the biggest names of the scene at that time, some who are still active and even at least one minor hit who managed to receive Tv exposure. Whit that being said, the main thing this album did for me was to introduce me to “Daddy Boastin”, the comedian of Swedish reggae. He has remained a favorite throughout the years and nowadays he’s mostly active as a part of Sweden’s premier soundsystem, “Trinity”.

Starting things of is “Drum & bass” by “Lion/Sly”, an duo (I assume) I know little about, Lion has continued with soundsystems like “Meditative Sounds” but who and where Sly is i don’t know. I remember I really liked this song but im not 100% sure that it has held up all that good, it’s still nice but i notice it’s flaws way more now. To start of i’d say it’s a fast song whit drums that feels flimsy and artificial. It owes a lot to the current, commercial club sound of the time, good? Yes but not the masterpiece i remember it to be. Right after it comes “Newspaper say so”, a vintage “Daddy Boastin” cut about current events and the news medias reporting. While i love the goofy, humorous image he has nowadays it’s nice to hear him on a more serious note. One can tell he has more intellectual capacity than what he’s usually showcasing. Also, his trademark rough voice is not present, he sounds smoother and more melodic than what he does now. Over all, this sounds good.

I skip one song (whit the artist “Papa Dee”, which i never liked) and we get to a “Daddy Boastin” cut, “Aids warning” which is one of my favorites on here. While having serious lyrics on how you gotta protect yourself and wear condoms this is a party track with a bubbly beat and a infectious (pun intended, lol) harmonica loop. This would work just as well on the dance floor now as it did then. After this comes “Reggae down on me” by “Isust”, a lighthearted crossover track who gained radio play and Tv exposure when it came. Not bad, melodic with Saxophones and real instruments but to “urban contemporary” for my taste. He have been active in various constellations through the years and is still recording.

More suited for sweaty bodies on a dance floor is “Slammin body” by “Rudy”, another artist I know nothing about and never heard outside of this compilation. He is doing a good job and toasts well. I want to get out of my chair and start dancing when hearing this, the lyrics do what they where set out to but will not impress (then again, that prob. wasn’t the intention). It’s a short album with only 9 tracks so next up is the last song, “Heartical vibes”, another track by “Lion/Sly”. It’s about coming to Sweden (as an immigrant) and features a few Swedish phrases which makes u go, “hmm…… was that in Swedish? “. It’s a catchy, anthem like song and a great end to an good (if not perfect) album which deserves it’s place in the Swedish Reggae history. Just wish i knew more bout some of the artists though…..

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