New Box Set and Books Commemorate Bob Marley’s 75th Anniversary

 

Title: The Complete Island Recordings
Artist: Bob Marley
Label: UMC/Island
Format: 11CD box set, vinyl reissues
Release Date: December 4, 2020

 

Fans of Bob Marley will have no shortage of Marley-related releases to choose from this holiday season. In December, UMC/Island will release The Complete Island Recordings, a new 11CD box set featuring all nine Bob Marley & The Wailers studio albums recorded for Island Records as well as two live albums (Live! and Babylon By Bus). The set spans a decade, beginning with 1973’s Catch A Fire and concluding with 1983’s Confrontation, a posthumous album released two years after Marley’s death. Additionally, on November 20, Universal is reissuing the same 11 albums and the compilation album Legend on vinyl as half-speed mastered editions. A third set of these albums, which are being pressed at the legendary Tuff Gong International headquarters in Kingston, will also be released on vinyl on December 11. The Tuff Gong set features the original Jamaica-recorded version of Catch A Fire, which is without overdubs, longer fades, and two extra tracks from the sessions.

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Evelyn “Champagne” King – The RCA Albums 1977-1985

 

Title: The RCA Albums 1977-1985
Artist: Evelyn “Champagne” King
Label: SoulMusic Records (dist. Cherry Red)
Format: 8-CD Box Set
Release Date: September 24, 2020

 

This 8-CD release from David Nathan’s SoulMusic Records features the eight RCA albums recorded between 1977 and 1985 by the iconic Evelyn “Champagne” King. King is one of the primary purveyors of R&B and dance music that helped fuel the disco movement of the late 1970s. The RCA Albums, distributed by Cherry Red Records, is the first-of-its-kind deluxe box set including reissues of all eight albums, handpicked bonus tracks, and essays on King’s time with RCA by two renowned writers.

Reviewed by Chloe McCormick

Con Funk Shun – Confunkshunizeya: The Mercury Anthology

 

Title: Confunkshunizeya: The Mercury Anthology
Artist: Con Funk Shun
Label: Robinsongs
Format: 2CD set
Release Date: September 24, 2020

 

Con Funk Shun was one of the premier funk and soul ensembles of the ’70s and ’80s. Led by the vocals of Felton Pilate and Michael Cooper, the group produced eight Top Ten R&B hits and the No. 1 chart topping single, “Ffun,” in addition to four consecutive Gold albums. Confunkshunizeya, the first double CD career anthology of the supergroup, includes 32 tracks from Con Funk Shun’s golden years and the full 12” version of “Ffun.”

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Sade – This Far

Title: This Far
Artist: Sade
Label: Legacy
Format: 6-LP vinyl box set
Release Date: September 2, 2020

This Far, the new Sade vinyl box set, offers brand new half-speed masters, courtesy of Miles Showell at Abbey Road. The first of its kind, this set includes all six of the soul singer’s acclaimed albums on pure 180-gram black vinyl. Showell worked from high resolution digital transfers of the stereo master mixes and from the original analog studio tapes, resulting in exceptionally clean and detailed audio that remains faithful to the band’s intended sound.

Reviewed by Chloe McCormick

Beyoncé – Homecoming: The Live Album

 

Title: Homecoming: The Live Album
Artist: Beyoncé
Label: Columbia
Format: 4-LP vinyl set
Release Date: December 4, 2020

 

The first African American woman to headline the Coachella festival, Beyoncé received immediate acclaim from fans and critics alike following her April 2018 Homecoming performances. Her concert celebrated Historically Black Colleges and Universities with over 100 dancers, a band, and special guest performers including J Balvin, Jay-Z, and a nostalgic Destiny’s Child reunion with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. This new 4-LP set includes over two dozen songs from the live performances that thrilled over 125,000 concertgoers on those April weekends.

Reviewed by Chloe McCormick

George Benson – Weekend In London

 

Title: Weekend In London
Artist: George Benson
Label: Provogue/Mascot
Format: CD, LP
Release Date: November 13, 2020

 

For the first time in 30 years, 10-time Grammy winning guitarist and vocalist George Benson has released a live recording highlighting his favorite hits and improvisational skills. Weekend In London, which harkens back to his groundbreaking 1978 Weekend in LA, pays homage to many of the guitarist’s career peaks that effortlessly fused jazz, R&B and pop. Although Benson has played at some of the biggest venues in the world during his acclaimed six-decade career, this newest release features his performance at London’s legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, an intimate 250-seat venue with exceptional acoustics that has been hosting the world’s most influential jazz musicians since 1959.

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Roots And Tings – All of This

 

Title: All of This
Artist: Roots And Tings
Label: Truth’s Sound
Formats: Digital, Limited ed. 45s
Release date: August 21, 2020

 

Combining elements of dancehall, reggae, soul and hip-hop in a subversive genre that they call Revolutionary Culture Music, Roots And Tings is a new project of Lateef the Truth Speaker (Blackalicious, Lytrix, Quannum), acclaimed DJ-producer Jah Yzer, and multi-talented musician Winstrong. Speaking about their new project, Winstrong describes Roots and Tings as “a community of curious souls with a generous goal to engage with each other through the stories told.”

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Songhoy Blues – Optimisme

 

Title: Optimisme
Artist: Songhoy Blues
Label: Fat Possum
Format: CD, LP, Digital
Release Date: October 23, 2020

 

Hailing from Mali, the African rock band Songhoy Blues has returned with their highly anticipated third album, a response to their homeland’s corrupt and oppressive political system. Entitled Optimisme, French for optimism, the album reflects the group’s desire to impact the world around them in tangible and positive ways through their music.

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Benin’s Star Feminine Band

 

Title: Star Feminine Band
Artist: Star Feminine Band
Label: Born Bad
Format: Digital
Release Date: November 13, 2020

 

You wouldn’t know it by listening, but the girls of Star Feminine Band had never touched a guitar or drumkit before meeting in 2016. Brought together by a local radio call out offering free music training, the girls, ranging in ages from 10 through 17, use music to channel feelings about equality and empowerment in a male-dominated society.

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Free Radicals – White Power Outage Volume 1

 

Title: White Power Outage Volume 1
Artist: Free Radicals
Label: RWE
Format: Digital
Release Date: September 15, 2020

 

One of the most diverse musical collectives in the country, Free Radicals includes over 50 musicians that range from 4-year-old attendees of Peace Camp Houston to 92-year-old vibraphone player Harry Sheppard. These musicians bring together their varied backgrounds and talents on White Power Outage Volume 1, a revolutionary album that demands an end to white supremacy in the arts, culture, and politics.

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The War And Treaty – Hearts Town

 

Title: Hearts Town
Artist: The War And Treaty
Label: Rounder
Formats: CD, LP, Digital
Release Date: August 14, 2020

 

Named the 2019 Emerging Act of the Year by Americana Music Association, husband and wife duo Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount-Trotter are artists to watch out for as they continue to take the music world by storm. Between their performance at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards back in January, the release of their newest album Hearts Town in August, and their spot as an opener on John Legend’s upcoming Bigger Love 2020 Tour (rescheduled for 2021), The War And Treaty have proven themselves to be a powerhouse R&B duo.

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Nicole Mitchell & Lisa E. Harris – EarthSeed

 

Title: EarthSeed
Artist: Nicole Mitchell & Lisa E. Harris
Label: FPE
Format: CD, LP, Digital
Release Date: June 26, 2020

 

They say that great minds think alike, and that seems to be the case with the new collaborative album between renowned composers Nicole Mitchell and Lisa E. Harris. The pair met at the New Quorum Composers’ Residency in New Orleans and were drawn together by a shared interest in celebrated author Octavia E. Butler, one of the best known African American writers in science fiction. Together, the two musicians took inspiration from Butler’s legacy of Afrofuturistic novels to create EarthSeed.

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L.A. Salami – The Cause of Doubt & a Reason to Have Faith

 

Title: The Cause of Doubt & a Reason to Have Faith
Artist: L.A. Salami
Label: Sunday Best
Format: CD, LP, Digital
Release Date: July 17, 2020

 

Described as classy rap, street-poet blues and fierce folk, the music of London artist L.A. Salami creates a truly unique and always evocative experience. Born Lookman Adekunle Salami, L.A. Salami began writing poetry from an early age, a hobby which eventually blossomed into writing poetic lyrics with acoustic-oriented instrumental backing. On his most recent album, The Cause of Doubt & a Reason to Have Faith, Salami ventures into more experimental ground as he draws on everything from ‘90s hip-hop and rap to psychedelic folk and proto-punk of the ‘60s.

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Austin Musicians for Transformative Justice – No More Silence, Vol. 2

Title: No More Silence, Vol. 2 
Artist: Austin Musicians for Transformative Justice 
Label: Bandcamp 
Format: Digital 
Release Date: July 3, 2020 

As a part of the city of Austin, Texas’ response to the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless black lives lost to police brutality, Austin Musicians for Transformative Justice was founded by Kate Robberson and Ley Line. On No More Silence, Vol. 2, the project brings together over 30 Austin-based artists who use their music to contribute to the conversation around social justice and Black Lives Matter. 

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Les Frères Smith – Mutation

 

Title: Mutation 
Artist: Les Frères Smith 
Label: Amour&Son 
Format: CD, LP, Digital 
Release Date: May 22, 2020 

 

Hailing from Paris, Les Frères Smith is an 11-piece Afrobeat group that has been making hypnotic, funky music for two decades now. In their most recent album, Mutation, the group crosses the styles of highlife, funk, and Ethio-jazz while incorporating cultural nods to countries throughout Africa and the Middle East. This new release is similar to the group’s previous two albums in many ways: each is funky, danceable, and pays tribute to the roots of the Afrobeat tradition. 

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Ghetto Kumbé’s New Self-Titled Release

 

Title: Ghetto Kumbé
Artist: Ghetto Kumbé
Label: ZZK Records
Format: CD, LP, Digital
Release Date: July 31, 2020

 

Hailing from Colombia’s Caribbean coast, the threesome of Ghetto Kumbé infuse the traditional music of their home with futuristic electronic touches. The group’s self-titled debut album, released on Latin American electronic label ZZK, chronicles a tale of love, loss, and revolution.

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Chouk Bwa & The Ångströmers – Vodou Alé

 

Title: Vodou Alé 
Artist: Chouk Bwa & The Ångströmers 
Label: Bongo Joe 
Format: Digital, LP 
Release Date: May 22, 2020 

 

Vodou Alé is the first full length collaborative album between Chouk Bwa & The Ångströmers which showcases Afro-Caribbean voodoo influences from Chouk Bwa’s native Haiti. This debut release offers nine-tracks that merge Haitian mizik rasin (roots music) with the electronic production style of Brussels-based duo The Ångströmers, putting a modern spin on traditional music. 

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Junko Beat – Satirifunk

Title: Satirifunk 
Artist: Junko Beat 
Label: Drumparade  
Format: CD, LP, Digital 
Release Date: June 5, 2020 

 

Trance-inducing, cutting-edge, and improvisational: all are terms that have been used to describe the newest release from the New Orleans progressive funk outfit Junko Beat. On their sophomore album, Satirifunk, the group presents an innovative musical fusion of New Orleans funk and West African tribal jazz with electronic and Latin-Caribbean influences. The result is a powerful, rhythm-heavy sound that truly captivates the listener. 

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Le String Noise – L.E.S. Douze Volume 2

 

Title: L.E.S. Douze Volume 2 
Artist: Le String Noise 
Label: Nouveau Electric 
Formats: CD, Digital 
Release date: April 17, 2020 

 

The Stone is a Lower East Side experimental music venue that has no bar and allows no speaking – the music is the sole focus. It was in this environment that artist-in-residence Louis Michot and the three other members of Le String Noise recorded their latest release, L.E.S. Douze Volume 2. The ensemble is a collaboration between fiddler and vocalist Louis Michot of Lost Bayou Ramblers, violinists Pauline Kim and Conrad Harris of String Noise, and cellist and vocalist Leyla McCalla, alumna of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Our Native Daughters.  

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