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15/05/2016
Still Cool – ‘Still Cool’ (DKR-214 CD & LP)

This eponymously titled album was nearly forty years in the making. In recent times Brooklyn’s Digikiller Records has re-issued a steady stream of excellent Carl ‘Stereo’ Fletcher’s late seventies productions for the Uprising label. The label itself was originally a musical outlet for members of the Rastafarian Twelve Tribes of Israel organisation featuring such stalwarts as Freddie McGregor, Pablove Black, Brigadier Jerry, et al.

Still Cool were a vocal harmony quartet who released a handful of very high quality singles that were unfortunately passed over in the UK at the time, despite Adrian Sherwood’s Hit Run label releasing a double sided 12” single of one of their strongest tracks and its dub version (Insane Love/Stereo Style ’79) and sound system operator Jah Shaka giving extensive playtime to ‘Crab in a Barrel’ before releasing it on his own label.

Initially intended for release in the late 1970’s the original 10 track album has only now been issued. In the CD format all 10 tracks are longer unedited versions and are augmented by a further 6 tracks of extended and alternative mixes from obscure 45s and 12” singles. The standout track is ‘To Be Poor is a Crime’, though all the group’s compositions are very strong. Pablove Black’s unmistakable swirling keyboard arrangements are evident on several of the tracks. Recorded at Harry J’s studio with Sylvan Morris in the engineer’s chair, presumably it is he who is responsible for the excellent remixes and dub versions.

Handsomely presented, the layout of the 6 panel digipak utilises many vintage photographs of the producer and the group performing at several 12 Tribes stage shows from back in the day. This is clearly one of the most significant releases from the already impressive Digikiller catalogue.

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