Capital Letters
Reggae Archive Records
CD / LP / Digital Release
January 27, 2014

Track list
  1. Reality
  2. Reality Dub
  3. Smoking My Ganja (Oldwah)
  4. Ganja Dub
  5. This Is Club Dance
  6. Dub Dance
  7. Beautiful Woman Dub
  8. No Jobs (Live)
  9. Still In Love
  10. Love The Dub
  11. Cocaine
  12. No Joke Dub
  13. Oldwah's Reality
  14. Oldwah's Real Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
There's been a whole heap of unbelievably great British Reggae Musik that has been unearthed, cultivated and reissued or rereleased in the last few years. 2014 is on par to keep this Roots revival on the course. Mike Darby's uber-reliant Reggae Archive Records recently came across legendary Roots unit Capital Letters unreleased sessions from 1985. A 14 track odyssey of greatness and brilliance that truly encompasses the legacy of one of the UK's tuffest bands.

Capital Letters are one of the oldest British Reggae bands; originating great sounds in Wolverhampton (Midlands-well north of London) in 1971. Champions of a Roots formula from the get go; they were able to construct a broad and international sound that meshed JA-UK but was a style and fashion all their own. After national appeal and heavy rotation on John Peel's legendary radio slot, they became the first British Reggae band to be signed to Greensleeves Records in the late 1970's. In 1979, they released the era defining debut "Headline News". A commercial and critical success indeed! They captivated audiences across Europe and beyond. The following year, they released the "Bread And Water" EP to coincide with the Two-Tone craze. In 1982, the fantastic and rugged "Vinyard" set was released. This rare set was recorded at Frankfurt's Recordway Studios. The world thought this was the end of this defiant band, but time is the master and these 1985 sessions are just now seeing the light of day. The group reunited for a recent show in Brixton that makes us wonder if the future will be written with Capital Letters...

A journey to bassie's Junior "JB" Brown's house resulted in a plethora of tracks; some mixed and some needing the genius of Dave "Oldwah" Sandford (who mixed magically of Reggae Archive's first release - Vibes' "Reminiscence"). The tracks were recorded at Far Heith Studio (Wolverhampton) with a lineup only slightly different from the foundation unit. Founding member Teacher and Lucas are brilliant on lead vox and guitar. JB bubbles so nice on bass. Drummies George Walker and Clive Brown are taut as ever. Carlton "Pop" Taylor is great on keys, The horn section of Dave/Kadeem is dynamic. The majestic backing vox are provided by Steve Ital and Ladie D.

This set catches fire with the title track that hits hard. Teacher's seasoned vocals are given an earthy dimension riddimwise and lyrics like, "same way you come a Babylon, same way you leave Babylon". This is pure anthem! The accompanying dub is wicked and has a Mad Professor edge but lets the diversity and versatility of the musicians shine bright. Smoking My Ganja was their breakthru song back in 1979, but this updated effort is beyond description. Oldwah mixed this song so clean and the horn section makes this one of Reggae's most powerful anthems and odes. Ganja Dub is ambient and majestic; one of the skankiest and tasteful Dubs in a while. Oldwah mixes up a Dub storm just right! This Is Club Dance shows the diversity of the band and it's all good. A triumphant song of Love and heartical versatility that fits snug amongst their previous songs of powerful observation. Dub Dance is awesome. Mixed by the original session engineers; it has a Black Roots ('Dub Factor') feel to it. Great showcase on the vibrant guitar, keys and horns. Massive! Oldwah performs subtle magic on Beautiful Woman Dub; so engaging and vital. The way that all tracks are twined so crisp is amazing!

We are treated to No Jobs, recorded live in Dudley. Reminiscent of their earliest works, Teacher and posse are magnificent to the core. The vocals are cradled by a powerful riddim guitar, piano and militant drum work. Still In Love is UK Lover's Rock at its best. The great sax intro gives way to timeless harmonies and Teacher's humbling vocals hitting hard. Boomshot! Love The Dub has that classic UK riddim. Clean and crisp with Oldwah letting the ethereal keys and thumping bassline fly high while keeping the flash low. Cocaine is a smashing track. Though serious in nature; the Dancehall style and consciousness will have you keeping yer nose clean! Great keyboard and drum work here! Oldwah plays skillfully with the title track on Oldwah's Reality and Oldwah's Real Dub. The former is a crisper mix of the original in every sense and the latter is crisp as an apple from Jah garden.

Capital Letter's "Reality" is an absolute triumph. From the discovery to the selection to the mixing; this set sounds like an album recorded in this time. Every track is special and vital and it's refreshing to listen to such a variety of subject matter. This band is legacy and legendary in every sense and one can only pray there's new material from a band of this magnitude. Black Roots, Jashwa Moses and Black Slate have all come forth with amazing new material; so a natural progression is necessary. Get this musical treasure and you won't be disappointed at all. Highest recommendation! GO DEH!!!!