Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Riddim Shock ~ Hi Fashion
Various
Stingray
Digital Release
June 23, 2013

Track list
  1. Freddie McGregor & Gappy Ranks - Standing Strong
  2. Raymond Wright - Show Some Luv
  3. Brigadier Jerry - Evil Plan
  4. Tenna Star - Work Complete
  5. Suga Roy & Conrad Crystal - Let Them Talk
  6. Claire Angel - Praises Be
  7. Rafeelya - Livin My Life
  8. Blackout Ja - Innocent Blood
  9. Freddie McGregor - Bobby Babylon
  10. Bunny Lye Lye - Cool Operator
  11. Jon Pecus - Rollin
  12. Poppa Biggie - Give Thanks
  13. Zulu - A Dis A Gwaan
  14. Zagu Zarr - Senseless Killing
  15. Leroy Mafia - Maffe Fashion
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 2
Since Stingray was founded in 1994 by the McLeod brothers, its 24-track studio and record label have become one of the leaders in the field. Carl "Dillie" McLeod and sibling Sting have steadily built Stingray a reputation for possessing the most 'Yard-souding' of all the UK outfits. The characteristic sound of tunes on Stingray is fairly traditional and informed by classic 1970s reggae, but built with all the advantages of modern studio technology. This can once again be experienced when listening to Stingray's latest (digital) release, the 'one riddim' set "Riddim Shock ~ Hi Fashion".

The origin of Stingray's "Hi Fashion" riddim is a bit complicated. Originally it was an instrumental by Jackie Mittoo and the Soul Vendors from 1968 called "One Step Beyond", which was released as a single on the Studio One label but also could be found on the LP "Evening Time". That's why the riddim should be known as "One Step Beyond". However after some years, probably in the early 1970s, Coxsone Dodd released a tune with that riddim from Leslie Milliner & Brentford All Stars entitled "Fashion Christmas". In 1973 Dillinger used the Brentford All Stars version for his tune "Hi Fashion Christmas". And that's why the second most used name of the riddim is "Hi Fashion", because it was more popular than Jackie Mittoo's original instrumental. In the following years more versions of the riddim appeared. These included Freddie McGregor's classic song from Studio One, "Bobby Bobylon", that came out in 1979. The popularity of that tune eventually made that the riddim was also known as "Bobby Bobylon".

The aforementioned Freddie McGregor is present here with two new versions of his classic roots anthem. First there's "Standing Strong", the wicked collaboration with one of the UK's most anticipated reggae stars Gappy Ranks and one of the highlights on this set. Later on Freddie McGregor returns with a nice do-over of his original "Bobby Bobylon" song. Another veteran riding the riddim is Brigadier Jerry, whose "Evil Plan" is a great 'old skool' deejay version that actually should be played after Freddie McGregor's solo piece. Also making a good impression and thus truly worth hearing are Raymond Wright's "Show Some Luv", Tenna Star's "Work Together" and "Let Them Talk" by Suga Roy & Conrad Crystal. Also nice to listen to are Bunny Lye Lye's version of Delroy Wilson's "Cool Operator", Jon Pecus' "Rollin", and "Innocent Blood" by Blackout JA, who here sounds very much like Buju Banton.

If you like to listen to well produced remakes of foundation riddims with a strong 'old skool' feel, this set is very pleasing to the ear.