David Rodigan Fabriclive 54 Review

Compilation. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

A wonderful compilation from champion selector Rodigan.

Angus Taylor 2010

Champion British selector David Rodigan has been bringing his deep bag of specials and innate ability to work a crowd to the world for 20 years. An appearance at London super-club Fabric spurred him to mix some of his favourite sides for their 54th Fabriclive release – where his eclectic tastes, with no one big label calling the shots on his choices, make this the best celebrity-endorsed reggae compilation since Jah Shaka’s The Positive Message for Greensleeves in 2009.

There’s a lot one can learn about Rodigan from listening to this disc. Basically, anything goes: whether it’s roots and dub from the 1970s (King Tubby and Augustus Pablo), 2000s dancehall (Cham’s brutal but brilliant Ghetto Story), or even dubstep (David’s son Cadenza’s remix of Keith and Tex’s Stop That Train), so long as it rams the dance, it’s in.

Rodigan’s well-publicised disillusionment with modern Jamaican product means most of the island’s output here is pre-2007. Of the later material, two of the productions are by veterans Sly & RobbieChezidek’s Borderline and Bitty McLean’s Plead My Cause.

He’s a big backer of non-Jamaican singer-deejays he deems "real authentic reggae music". The Sicilian Alborosie’s 2006 self-produced hit Kingston Town rubs shoulders with Bermudian Collie Buddz’s Bobby Konders-helmed Come Around, and Sweden’s Million Stylez on UK wunderkind Curtis Lynch’s update of the Junjo Lawes classic, Police In Helicopter.

In fact, Lynch’s productions occur more than anyone else’s, illustrating Rodigan’s support of British talent if it can reach beyond its shores. Interestingly, there is none of the heavy UK sound system, Shaka-influenced dub that splintered off from mainstream reggae in the 80s; yet dubstep, which shares many of its traits, has the man’s golden ear.

Too often celebrity collections are just a company trying to push their latest reissues and new singles. By sourcing tunes from multiple publishers (that they all got licensed confirms Rodigan’s industry standing) this selection avoids these pitfalls while, crucially, showing that in the right hands all styles of Jamaican and Jamaican-inspired music can be friends.

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