Maximum Sound 20:20
September 20, 2013
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
Celebrating twenty years of being in the business with his own label Maximum Sound, London-based producer Frenchie has released the cleverly titled "Maximum Sound 20:20". Since 1993, Frenchie's Maximum Sound label has been responsible for producing some of the best reggae and dancehall music outside Jamaica. Among the musicians who have contributed to the critical and commercial success of the record label have been top session names such as Mafia & Fluxy, Dean Fraser, 'Lenky' Marsden, Sly & Robbie, Robbie Lynn, Gitsy, and Danny Brownie, to name only a few.
Without any doubt, Frenchie is one of the most consistent producers as is fully showcased on this very entertaining collection of tunes, which is arranged in chronological order. The listener is treated to a mix of dancehall and roots material, something Maximum Sound is well known for. And thus this set includes efforts from top dancehall acts such as Elephant Man, T.O.K., Mr. Vegas, Sean Paul and Bounty Killer, as well as cuts from reggae soldiers like Junior Kelly, Luciano, Anthony B, Sizzla, Fantan Mojah and Jah Mason. Riddimwise this set offers relicked versions of classic riddims as well as fresh originals.
When he started his Maximum Sound label, Frenchie tended to specialise on dancehall and thus things get started with Bunny General's "Spy Fi Die" - a wicked tune, delivered in pure sound killing stylee. And there are more noteworthy 'soundbwoy' tunes featured here including Bounty Killer & Lukie D's "Kill Another Sound", Burro Banton feat. Joe Lickshot's "Sound Exterminator", and Christoper Martin's "Make A Sound". More dancehall niceness comes from Mr. Vegas, whose "Got To Be Me" comes across the 1998 produced "Space Invaders" riddim. Around the same time T.O.K. recorded "Hot Gal Crew" over the "Bad Moda" riddim, while then up-and-coming Sean Paul rode the "Desert Storm" riddim to full effect on the 1999 released "Back Off". At that time these tunes were released on 7" vinyl by Greensleeves. Furthermore Frenchie also served avid dancehall fans with remixes like a.o. Elephant Man's "Wining Machine" and the here included "Fowl Fight" by Vybz Kartel. Also worth hearing are the remix versions of Elephant Man's wicked "War & Peace" and Bounty Killer's "Badman Order".
But in the end it wasn't strictly dancehall business as Frenchie also started to delight roots fans with notable releases of which Michael Rose's storming Steppers version of Aswad's "Warrior Charge" riddim, the 10" vinyl single "Release Me", made a truly great impression. While dancehall tunes continued to appear on labels with the familiar red Maximum Sound logo, a new green coloured logo was used for the roots output. The green logo commenced in 2006 when tunes on revitalized versions of Viceroys' "Yahoo" and Al Campbell's "Take A Ride" aka Johnny Osbourne's "Truths & Rights" riddims were released. Junior Kelly's awesome "Tough Life" was one of the cuts to the latter riddim, which was renamed "Tribute To Downbeat", while the "Yahoo" ("Tribute To Downbeat Pt 2") is represented by Richie Spice's solid "Free". Also a relicked version of Bob Marley's "Zion Train" riddim made a good impression with Luciano's "Terrorist Attack" being one of the highlights. Other updated classic riddims included here are Aswad's "Love Fire" (Richie Stephens' "Glasshouse"), Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vain" (General Degree's "Almighty God"), Ini Kamoze's "World-A-Reggae" (Da'Ville's "The Highest Grade"), Jackie Mittoo & The Soul Vendors' "Drum Song" (Morgan Heritage's "Guards Up"), and Ernest Wilson's "I Know Myself" (Jah Mason's "Ganja For Life"), to name only five. Besides these new versions of classic riddims, this set also includes original roots backdrops such as the "Good Over Evil" (Gyptian's "Rise And Live") and "Fairground" (I-Octane's "My Place").
In recent years Frenchie teamed up with vet producer Bunny "Striker" Lee, which allowed him to work with the original riddim tracks of Slim Smith's rocksteady hit "Let Me Go Girl" and Johnny Clarke's "Blood Dunza" and "Creation Rebel". Of course, this set also includes cuts of these overdubbed riddims: Slim Smith & Ce'Cile's "Girl You Hold Me", Sizzla's great "African Liberation", and "Rebel With A Cause" by Johnny Clarke & Fantan Mojah. In particular the combination tune "Ghetto State Of Mind" by Half Pint, Bounty Killer & Assassin, and Tarrus Riley's "Rebel" are prime examples of tunes meant for heavy-duty sound system play. Featured here is also the hard-hitting "Capital Offence" from Frenchie's longtime bredrin Captain Sinbad. Their collaboration actually led to the release of a blazing Captain Sinbad comeback album called "Reggae Music Will Mad Unu". The current hit "We No Worry Bout Them" by Konshens & Romain Virgo rounds off this compilation set in great style!
This massive sampler, which can only be purchased via the legal digital platforms, features some real great music. All killers, no fillers!!!