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Virgin Front Line: Sounds of Reality

Box set release: “Virgin Front Line: Sounds of Reality” (Various)
Release date: 11 August 2014
Label: Universal 

On 10 March 1978 Virgin Records launched a label that, throughout the remainder of the decade, would set the benchmark for Roots Reggae: Front Line.

In the space of just under two years, some 46 albums and 26 singles saw issue on the iconic imprint, with its releases consistently of the highest calibre, and rating among the very best music Jamaica had to offer.

Front Line’s brief but glorious existence as the world’s greatest Roots Reggae label is celebrated with this deluxe box set, which across its 5 discs features many of Jamaica’s greatest talents, performing 92 of the most enduring Roots, Dub, Lovers Rock and DJ sounds of the seventies, with over 31 tracks new to CD, of which a third are previously unissued.

Also included in the package is a 52 page booklet, which opens with a typically captivating foreword from John Lydon, whose talent scouting trip to Jamaica with Richard Branson early in 1978 was key to Virgin’s acquisition of some of the finest Reggae recordings of the era.

Peppered with fascinating imagery, including numerous previously unseen shots from the trip taken by world renowned photographer Dennis Morris, every key episode during Front Line’s brief yet glorious history is disclosed, courtesy of fascinating anecdotes from Don Letts, the label’s original manager Jumbo Vanrenen and its designer Brian Cooke, whose original drafts for the iconic imprint are revealed for the first time ever.

As an added bonus, the set also contains four high quality reproductions of classic posters from the seventies, as well as a car sticker, based on the now impossibly rare Front Line Rockers badge from 1976.

This, the most comprehensive collection of Front Line tracks ever to see issue, pays due homage to the legendary label and flawlessly illustrates just why continues to be widely revered by Reggae fans around the world, more than 36 years after its launch.

Full tracklisting available on request.


Olde Worlde: "The Blue Musk-Oxen" out on September 1

Album release: “The Blue Musk-Oxen” by Olde World
Release date: September 1 2014
Label: Groundhog Records
Listen: on Olde World website 

Olde Worlde is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist, Sohhei Numata. Born in Machida, Tokyo, Olde Worlde releases his brand new album The Blue Musk-Oxen in the UK on September 1st. Recorded, produced and mixed by Brad Wood (The Smashing Pumpkins, Ben Lee, Sunny Day Real Estate, Tortoise) it features current single Stuck In Hibernation – which is picking up airplay across BBC 6 Music, including spins at Lauren Laverne. On The Blue Musk-Oxen, Numata plays guitar, bass, drums, ukulele, piano, keyboard and moog. 

As a precocious teenager, fixated on all kinds of musical styles from a very early age, it wasn’t long before he made himself a regular on the city’s busking circuit, absorbing the styles and skills of the city’s broad range of live talent. With much of the local music being sung in Japanese though, Namata looked to learn English from as many sources as he could, learning in person from J-Punk bands he would see live, but eventually settling on American Forces Radio as the medium to best be exposed to his adopted tongue.

Getting to grips with many a 90s US Indie Rock and Power Pop band through his radio, the traits of these come to the fore on The Blue Musk-Oxen. From former single Your Bird’s delicate lilt and simple melody, through to Stuck In Hibernation’s more fractured guitars and buoyant pace, The Blue Musk-Oxen is made a bright, sun-kissed, collection thanks to Brad Wood’s production.


  • Wishing You Well
  • Your Bird
  • Number City
  • Thinking About You
  • A Girl Across The Country
  • Lemon Cake
  • Beating
  • Stuck In Hibernation
  • Realize Poppies
  • No One’s Gonna Be
  • Good Boy
  • Be Alone

Bonnie Raitt's classic "Nick of Time" to be reissued on special edition vinyl

Album re-issue: “Nick of Time” by Bonnie Raitt
Release date: 21 July 2014
Label: Capitol / USM

On July 21, Capitol Records/USM will release a special vinyl-only edition of Bonnie Raitt’s classic “Nick of Time” in honor of the album’s 25th anniversary. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s tenth album still stands as her signature work and as a turning point in her legendary career. It topped the Billboard 200 album chart, sold five million copies, and won three GRAMMY® Awards, including “Album of the Year.” Rolling Stone ranked Nick of Time as number 230 on its list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

The Nick of Time - 25th Anniversary album was remastered from the original analogue tapes, overseen by both the albums producer, Don Was and engineer Ed Cherney and is being released on 180 gram heavyweight vinyl.

“Personally, I think it may be the best record of my career” says Raitt. “Every record has its charm and its significance, but I think we finally got it right — I could finally say, ‘Yeah, that’s what I had in mind.’ As a mixture of styles, reflected in one record, it was a really good version of what I do.”

“Nick of Time” came along at a fortuitous moment for Raitt, following a difficult few years in which she had been dropped by her long-time label, Warner Bros, and got sober and healthy. The album was produced by Don Was, which initiated a working relationship that went on for several projects (the 1991 follow-up, Luck of the Draw, sold over seven million copies), and spawned four singles, including the hit “Thing Called Love.” Nick of Time was bookended by two landmark Raitt original compositions: the opening title track, a powerful mediation on aging, and the closing cut, “The Road’s My Middle Name,” a rollicking update of the blues that captured her life as a traveling performer.

“It’s a particularly great batch of songs,” says Raitt, “and the synchronicity of finding these songs when I did—the emotional connection and the gratitude that I had to be given another shot—I think that shows. It was kismet to have it come out this well.”

More than just a best-selling artist, respected guitarist, expressive singer, and accomplished songwriter, Bonnie Raitt has become an institution in American music. The recipient of ten GRAMMY® awards—including “Best Americana Album” for her most recent release, 2012’s Slipstream—she appears on Rolling Stone’s lists of both the Greatest Singers and Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Over the years, Raitt has contributed to over 100 album projects, collaborating with the likes of B.B.King, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder. Yet it is the breakthrough of Nick of Time (which received an additional GRAMMY® nomination when it was remixed for Surround Sound in 2004) that serves as the cornerstone of her body of work.

“The success of Nick of Time brought me a level of freedom, and the opportunities to do everything I had wanted to do,” says Raitt. “Nearly every gift in my life now is, in so many ways, because of what happened with that album and the GRAMMYs®. Definitely one of the greatest highlights of my life.”

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