Does your reggae knowledge consist of little more than a dusty copy of Bob Marley’s ‘Legend’ collection, a sly toke on your mates spliff in his shed and knowing the chorus to ‘Jammin” ? Probably, so it’s time you were schooled. Luckily in this instance your tutor happens to be one of the most qualified men for the job, David ‘RamJam’ Rodigan.
Curating the latest of Fabric’s ever-widening Fabriclive album’s, Rodigan leads us through time and space as he knows it best; through music. Winding through the smokiest terraces in Jamaica, the most sweltering dancehalls and vibrant ghettoes, Rodigan’s album spans the island’s music as many people are yet to experience it.
Having championed the music for over 20 years, Rodigan reveals as much about his deep passion for reggae as he does for the music itself over the disc’s 21 tracks. By moving through the back-to-basics dub of King Tubby, the frantic, modernised skip of Pinchers’ exuberant ‘Bandalero’ and even on into non-Jamaican reggae artists like Collie Budz or Alberosie, Rodigan further reveals the depth of his knowledge and the passion for not the idea, but the sound of Reggae music.
All bases are covered by Rodigans breadth of knowledge, and his selections are unified by his will to surprise and excite. “I deliberately avoided the obvious tracks which have appeared repeatedly on reggae compilation albums over the years,” says Rodigan. “Fabric, the club, and Fabric the record label, is at the cutting edge of music and so I wanted to uphold that legacy with my album.” So the void left in the Marley, Cliff and Maytal shaped holes is plugged by the swaying throb of Cadenza’s ‘Stop That Train’, the hook-laden ‘Police in Helicopter’ by Million Stylez, and believe it or not, an appearance from Shaggy.
All clichés associated with Reggae are forced aside by Rodigan to make way for a compilation aimed at the open, discerning listener; this is a collection of tracks varied in nature but unified by one legend’s love for an astounding sound, and that in itself makes this a remarkable CD to own.