Monday, 1 February 2016

This Monday Reggae Feeling

Gospel Train by African Head Charge

Spiritual psychedelic dub. Now there's a sub-genre I've never featured before, and to be honest, perhaps I'm stretching things a bit by including this in a reggae series. But hey, everyone's welcome here as long as the vibes are good. Gotta say, the vibes on African Head Charge's fifth studio album 'Songs Of Praise' from 1990 are most excellent. I hazily recall hearing this record first in my days working at Our Price. I thought it was the weirdest thing I'd ever heard. It's certainly not your average reggae record, but Adrian Sherwood's masterful production holds it together.

The band revolves primarily around percussionist Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah along with pretty much whoever he hooks up with. Two of his most famous members include Skip McDonald (aka Little Axe) and the legend that is Jah Wobble. Most of AHC's records to date have been released on Sherwood's On-U Sound label, though band and label went their separate ways in 1994. Following Bonjo's dalliances with his own label and a repatiration to Ghana, he returned to London in 2005 to once again work with Sherwood. Two new albums have since emerged, both through On-U Sound.

'Songs Of Praise' is the only African Head Charge record I have and it has long been hailed as an underground classic, a peak the band has struggled to scale ever since.


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