After 12 years, prime Brit roots movers Misty return to the studio.
Peter Marsh 2002
Misty in Roots, along with Steel Pulse and a few others, brought Rasta consciousness to the UK punk scene in the late 70s, sharing bills and ideologies with many white punk bands (the first release on their own label was by The Ruts).
While Steel Pulse recorded regularly throughout the 80s and 90s, Misty preferred to gig more or less continually, despite problems and personal tragedy. In 1982 their involvement in anti National Front action in Southall resulted in prosecutions, the demolition of their house and the near death of their manager after a brush with police, while in 1992 singerDelvinTyson drowned at the end of a tour in Ghana.
It's maybe no surprise then that Misty are as stirringly conscious as ever on Roots Controller, their first album for 12 years. "Cover Up" deals with the Stephen Lawrence case (the title says it all). "Dancehall Babylon" is an attack on Dancehall culture; 'The heathens don't praise Jah in their Dance, all they want is sex and vanity'. As Misty have a go at consumerism in "Follow Fashion"; it's clear that their sound hasn't followed fashion either. Walford Tyson's plaintive, soulful voice floats over deep roots grooves, sweet chord changes and juicy horn stabs; the production is warm, deep and crisp.
That songs dealing with racial injustice, murder and the ills of capitalism come across as somehow nostalgic and reassuring just goes to show how rare the likes of Misty are these days, and maybe how much we need them back.
While the first six tracks are all new, the remainder act as a quick intro to Misty's earlier albums, with tracks from 1979's classic Live at the Counter Eurovision, 1983's Earth and Musi-O-Tinya from 1985. Some of these tracks featureDelvin Tyson; as Vivien Goldman points out in hersleevenote, this album is in some ways a tribute to him, and a fine one too. Righteous, uplifting stuff; how about some dubs ?