Prince Fatty ‘Prince Fatty versus the drunken gambler’ (Mr Bongo) 5/5

UK Dub maestro extraordinaire Prince Fatty returns with a stunning new album that places him alongside the likes of Denis Bovell as a roots master of the highest calibre. A classic set of riddims features a stellar cast of singers and DJs, the former including Winston Francis, George Dekker and UK’s Holly Cook while the latter includes DJ Alcapone. The terrific uptempo rockers ‘Say what you’re saying’, with pumping beat and percussion, showcases the fine vocals of George Dekker. Superb dub effects permeate the interpretation of the classic John Holt/Paragons song ‘Ali Baba’ with Winston Francis on vocals. Possibly the finest special effects of all, however, are reserved for the epic ‘Kung fu battle’ with stabbing horns, voicings and beefed up percussion. It is a fact of life that Kingston could no longer produce this 1970s style dub-style with anywhere near the same panache. A major surprise. The 1979 disco hit for the Whispers ‘And the beat goes on’ receives the roots reggae treatment with Holly Cook on lead vocals and what an inspired choice of material. That catchy keyboard riff is retained and the repetition of chorus suits a reggae beat to perfection. Even a take on the then [1969 and its pop charts controversy] polemical ‘Wet dream’ by Max Romeo which stays pretty faithful to the original. With an evocative cartoon spoof cover and a nod, perhaps, to Japanese manga, this set is unquestionably a classy act from head to toe. Tim Stenhouse