Ansell Collins finds 'Sounds of Reggae'
Published: Monday | January 5, 2009
Ansell Collins - file
There are few musicians qualified to put out an album called Sounds of Reggae.
Ansell Collins, the pianist who did Double Barrel in 1971, which hit the top of the UK charts and created the evergreen Stalag 17 rhythm, is one of them. And on the soon-to-be-released album, Marvin Williams outlines Collins' credentials in poetic style.
"It is a mixture of everything, the real thing," Collins described the overwhelmingly roots reggae Sounds of Reggae to The Gleaner. "You have a little bit of dancehall and roots reggae."
The titles of the songs are all related to things and people African, among them Kemet, Emperor Dessalines, Yaa Asantewa and Nzinga. And on the album Collins not only plays the keyboard, but also sings 'Jazmine' and Jimmy Cliff's Let Your Yeah Be Yeah.
Collins is a long-time fan and colleague of Cliff's, having played with him for nearly two decades. Similarly, he has a connection with most of the guests on Sounds of Reggae. He toured with Toots Hibbert (who is featured on Yaa Asantewa) in 1975 and knows Glen Washington (who appears on Tyehimba) from the days of Bournemouth Club.
He says a relatively younger guest, Rootz Underground (Kemet), has a "great sound. They have a sound that never stop sell. It is live. The music just can't die. It is upfull music. Them a deal with the real thing".
Yellowman deejays on Staghili.
And he has kept the 'real thing', live instruments, throughout Sounds of Reggae. That helped immensely in the creative process, as Collins said "when you play the music live so many phrases come to you when you are laying down the tracks, melodies and so on. It is great."
Already, Collins is slated for a tour of the US East Coast, his first full tour as a solo performer since 1971, although he opened for Big Youth and the Mighty Diamonds on a European tour in 2004. He says that trek through France and Germany was great and is hoping that the upcoming tour will be even better.
Collins' manager, Ra-Umi Alkebu-lan, told The Gleaner that most of the album was mixed by Stephen Stanley with Nigel Burrell also doing mixing duties.
As for the balance of singing and playing on Sounds of Reggae, Collins told The Gleaner he loves doing them both.