When it comes to download sites I am a big fan of eMusic. Some folks criticise it because it doesn't have anything from the major labels, but for me that is its strength. It encourages you to wander off down musical alleyways that would otherwise remain unexplored.
This month I have used up most of my allocation digging into the reissued back catalogues of the self-explanatory Zimbabwe Music Corporation and Bristol Archive Records. We will no doubt feature some Zim sounds before too long, but today we'll focus on Bristol.
Most of the releases on Bristol Archive Records date from the late 1970s through to the mid 1980s. I was living in the West Country for much of that time and there are some familiar names like Essential Bop, Talisman and pre-Polly Harvey era Automatic Dlamini - who I once saw play in a scout hall in Yeovil at a fund-raiser when the bill was topped by local heroes The Mob. But there is even more that passed me by completely, and a lot of it is top quality.
Bristol has always had a strong reggae tradition and that's what we will mostly be featuring today. The first couple of tracks come from the excellent two-volume "Bristol Reggae Explosion" compilation, and the wonderfully named "Sheepdog Trial Inna Babylon" from "The Best of Fried Egg Records". Sandwiched in between is a track by the Ivory Coasters, from an EP called "Mungaka Makossa" that was originally released in 1982. As far as I can tell it was their only release, which is a real shame as it is a cracker.
"Bristol Rock" - Black Roots
"Robin Hoods Of The Ghetto" - Cool Runnings
"The Bongo That Ate Pik Botha" - Ivory Coasters
"Sheepdog Trial Inna Babylon" - Shoes For Industry
That last one is a natural companion piece to this little oddity from Cherry Red Records that came out around the same time:
"Wuthering Heights" - Jah Wurzel
Jah Wurzel wasn't really a wurzel at all. It was Morgan Fisher (formerly of Mott The Hoople and Love Affair) arsing about. These fellers, on the other hand, are the genuine article.