In their two-year existence, Paris DJs have put together a prolific track record of albums, compilations and singles ranging from a vintage Angolan/transcontinental bass mixtape by Batida to a compilation of ‘70s funk from the West Indies. While all of their previous releases were digital-only, the label is now (hopefully) getting into the vinyl game. They have a project up now on Kiss Kiss Bank Bank to fund a box set of six 45s called Vinyl Is Good For You, and a double-LP compilation, Dis Is Reggae Soul, Vol. 1.
Dis Is Reggae Soul, Vol. 1 brings together some heavyweights of reggae, lovers rock and dancehall with younger groups that share a similar soulful and funky sensibility. At the center of the compilation is Parisian producer Grant Phabao, who has gained the respect of many Jamaicans of reggae’s golden era for his faithfulness to the ’70s sound of Coxsone Dodd, King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry.
Among the impressive list of contributors to Reggae Soul are the Jays, Lone Ranger, the Silvertones, Carlton Livingston and Leroy Gibbon. The Jays (who began as the Royals in the mid-’60s), Lone Ranger and the Silvertones all recorded with one of reggae’s towering figures, Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd. Carlton Livingston (who we interviewed for our “Jamaica in New York” show) is the voice of the great “100 Weight of Collie Weed.” He appears on two tracks on the compilation, collaborating with Lone Ranger on “Weh the Reggae Come From” and contributing his own “Cramp and Paralyze.” Reggae Soul also dips into the U.K. lovers rock sound with a track from ’80s star Leroy Gibbon. The younger acts do nicely too, with highlights coming from L.A. funk group Jungle Fire and Ocote Soul Sounds, a band that combines members of Antibalas and Brownout.
The compilation, as a whole, brings us back to some of the glory days of instrumental reggae, though in a manner that lets the music stay current, rather than overly nostalgic. There are 20 days left to make Paris DJs’ vinyl dreams come true, and we think this set deserves to be heard the way Sir Coxsone would have wanted it!