Cool Runnings – S/T

by Sep 22, 2023Mini-Review, Reviews

Cool Runnings - S/T

Release Info

Bristol Archive Records
Street date
September 22, 2023
Website Record Label
Bandcamp Record Label


1. We Must Go Home
2. Playhouse
3. Lawman
4. Give Me Some Interest
5. Children Of Zion
6. Permanent Diet
7. Robin Hoods Of The Ghetto
8. Sunshine – Weep Willow Weep

Back in 2012, Bristol Archive Records compiled a collection of tunes from the Bristol-based band Cool Runnings, which saw release on CD only. A praiseworthy initiative that followed up lost worthwhile reggae works from the past featured on three compilation sets in The Bristol Reggae Explosion series, Revelation Rockers’ LP Jah Praises, Black Roots’ The Reggae Singles Anthology, Talisman’s Takin’ The Strain, and others that were released thereafter. Following the recent resurgence in popularity of vinyl records, the record label decided to give Cool Runnings their first vinyl LP, in addition to the earlier CD release. Out of the 12 tracks on the CD, 8 tracks were selected for the Limited Edition Vinyl, of which only 500 copies are available for purchase.

Cool Runnings, one of Bristol’s most enduring bands, had a career that lasted twelve years, covering the entirety of the 1980s. Despite their longevity, they remained relatively unknown outside of the West Country, with only one 12″ single to their name. This lack of exposure has made Cool Runnings one of Bristol’s best-kept musical treasures. The band was initially formed in Weston-Super-Mare by keyboardist Mark Tuck and guitarist George Condover. However, they soon relocated to Bristol and expanded their lineup, enlisting the talents of various local musicians. Among them was Winston Minott, an exceptional singer with extensive experience touring Europe as part of the soul band The Invaders.

The music found on the self-titled Cool Runnings LP can be described as a soothing reggae sound that complements Winston’s soulful voice. This style of reggae music is often associated with UK Lovers Rock, so it’s no surprise that this collection of songs delves into matters of the heart. Standout tracks include the excellent Playhouse (an alternate version can be found on The Bristol Reggae Explosion Vol. 3 ~ The 80s Part 2), the solid Give Me Some Interest, and the beautiful Sunshine – Weep Willow Weep. However, it should be noted that the band is also proficient in creating roots tunes. With songs like the powerful album opener We Must Go Home, the matching Children Of Zion, and the previously released 12″ single Robin Hoods Of The Ghetto, it is evident that they are capable of producing noteworthy roots music as well.

The tracks gathered here were recorded between 1983 and 1985 at various local studios. Additionally, there is a lone live recording, Lawman, to provide a glimpse of why this band had such a strong following during their performances. Despite the fact that these tunes are approximately three decades old, listening to the band’s creations remains an absolute delight.

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