This is an absolutely essential compilation from Emotional Rescue, released in conjunction with the brilliant Bristol Archive Records*. The 10 tracks are cherry-picked from the catalogue of Bristol’s Recreational label, which was spun out of the legendary Revolver Records shop**. While only operational between 1981 and 1982, the imprint’s output provides a wicked snapshot of the musical melting pot that would give rise to celebrated sons and daughters of the city, such as Massive Attack, Tricky, and Smith & Mighty.
The artists on Recreational were contemporaries of The Pop Group, Pigbag, Mouth, and Rip, Rig & Panic – the Y Records axis – and, on listening, their influences seem to have been largely the same. Inspired by punk’s DIY ethic, and anti-establishment politics, tracks such as the slow but fierce funk of Animal Magic’s Get It Right – which gives the collection its name – are a fusion of dub and free jazz. Big bass-lines and loose percussive grooves. Angular post-PiL / post-Metal Box axe. Cuts created by dole-drawing, squat-based Arkestras, with lyrics like chanted slogans.
Electric Guitars` Don’t Wake The Baby is eccentric exotica, whose clicking castanets lend it a latin, South American, feel. Ivory Coasters` Mungaka Makossa is a very Balearic blast of brass-y afro pop. Wah-wah-ed highlife juju jive. X-Certs` Untogether is a Clash-like rock version excursion, while there are two proper, righteous reggae rubs from Talisman. Scream + Dance’s cool contrabass-ed In Rhythm sounds like The Slits jamming with The Art Ensemble Of Chicago, and a direct precursor of Maximum Joy’s Let It Take You There.
“Get it Right”: Afro, Dub, Funk & Punk Of Recreational Records, 81 – 82 is out now, on Emotional Rescue.
A big “Thank you” to Tom at Dubwise Vinyl, for the heads up.
*Bristol Archive – especially their reggae offshoot – have put out so much great stuff – Groundation’s Juggernaut, Musical Youth’s Generals, Nightdoctor’s Menelik, Joshua Moses’ Africa Is Our Land, all spring to mind. Their two The Midlands Roots Explosion compilations, though, are a good place to start, if you haven’t come across the label before.
**Richard King’s book, Original Rockers, is a marvelous memoir of his time in the shop. Adrian Sherwood told me that Revolver is where he first met Mark Stewart.