Sunday, 31 March 2019

G.T. Moore & The Reggae Guitars - Reggae Blue (1975)


  

Released in 1975

This was the second of the two albums from the unfortunately underrated G.T. Moore And The Reggae Guitars, who, for a year or so, were almost unique in their white reggae meets pub rock style. The punk meets roots reggae crossover that would sweep all before it a few years later was still a while away. They really had something, so it was a shame that it didn't ever take off for them. Their sound was convincing, too, sounding as authentic as you could expect it to be. Funnily enough, if this had been released in 1979-1980 it may have been far more successful. It is, to be honest, simply a really good album. It is less overtly reggae than their debut, exploring soul, funk, jazz and blues influences in places.

As with their excellent debut album, it is only really available as a download (for a reasonable price, anyway) and, judging by the very slight crackles that occur throughout the recording, it is a "needle drop" - taken directly from the original vinyl. There are less than on the band's debut album though.

TRACK LISTING

1. A Girl's Best Friend
2. I Wouldn't Mind
3. C'est La Vie
4. Vagabond King
5. Running Down The Road
6. People (Who Kill People)
7. Otis Blue
8. Let's Breathe
9. Foreign Women
10. Reggae Reggae                                    

"A Girl's Best Friend" has an organ-driven, Booker T & the MGs backing behind its mid-pace rock skank. Moore's voice is soulful and the lead guitar interjections are similar to those on Bob Marley's "Catch A Fire" after it had the rock guitar added. "I Wouldn't Mind" is a melodic, laid-back, quite mournful easy reggae ballad. The band have got the guitar skanks, the organ riffs and the "one drop" drums just right, something very few white reggae recordings were able to master. Think of Led Zeppelin's "D'yer Mak'er" as one of the worst examples.

"C'est La Vie" has a delicious "Pressure Drop" introductory rhythm and an incredibly catchy sound throughout. Why this was not a hit, even in 1975, when things like Paul Nicholas's "Reggae Like It Used To Be" were is a mystery to me. This is great. Imagine this sung by Toots Hibbert's gospelly growl in place of Moore's slightly lightweight voice. What a song that would be.


"Vagabond King" has a marching sort of beat and a rock vibe a bit like Traffic's material from the same period, and a killer "woh-oh" chorus refrain too. "Running Down The Road" begins with a rumbling bass line similar to that on Ace's "How Long". This number is more a piece of soulful funk rock than reggae. It has a great guitar solo in it too. "People (Who Kill People)" is a Graham Parker-ish rock reggae strut of the sort that would become popular in 1979-80. It has an infectious, rubbery bass line. "Otis Blue" is an organ-powered slow burning soul number with a message about racial tolerance and a tribute to Otis Redding at the same time.

The reggae is back with the punchy and rocky "Let's Breathe". Once more, the guitar is superb. This band could certainly play. "Foreign Women" is a bluesy number with slight slow-pace ska influences. "Reggae Reggae" is a lively, joyful skank to end this little known but impressive album.

B+

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