So when an LP lands called ‘African Shores’ by Vin Gordon, and it has been done in that old skool Studio 1 type of Jamaican way; hit the studio; hear riddim and play, you just have to listen, for the sake of your mind, body and soul. Vin is the type of musician we have been hearing for decades. His horn lines have written history. And yet, as a solo player, aside from some 45s he has recorded sparsely. Following the success of Tradition Disc label’s ‘Sound Almighty’ Vin Gordon blazes horn lines again with Nat Birchall and Al Breadwinner on this new release, with a different kind of ease. It’s that spontaneity which when you think about is genius, as ‘African Shores’ was recorded in just one day. I know that sounds ridiculous. Pop stars with massive budgets can spend weeks, months, even years, trying to work out their next release. But these cats do it in less than 24 hours. As a horn-led Reggae LP with no lyrics, it is what you expect and Vin does the talking. Taking us on a series of magical journeys, capturing a distilled vibe that is difficult to put to words, so all I can do is listen and imagine. It must be heard to be experienced, and preferably on a big sound system.
‘African Shores’ opens with spiritual reasoning. A lamenting trombone searching for roots and origins that goes up a gear with the Dub on ‘Gold Coast Dub’. ‘Styler Dub’ has a different pace and bravado echoing a ‘Shank I Shek’ composition but not copying it and the Dub is majestic, as one would expect from Al Breadwinner. ‘Spill Over’ has a funky raw edginess, and after about a minute you get hypnotized. Then comes ‘Gusum Peck’, an odd title reminiscent of how titles used to be concocted back in the day. The Dub to this, ‘Voodoo Man in Dub’, is spooky and chugs along like an ocean liner heading for home. Then the oddest ‘Shucumooku’, with its innovative horn lines. It’s hard to imagine anyone working these kinds of complex progressions on the spot, with crescendos climbing high to low and back. I am clueless what the title means but its irrelevant. Go with the flow of the song, get enchanted, skank, and fly with it – sad there is no dub to this. The last song, ‘Sa La Vie’, has a lamenting aura, a tribute perhaps to all things past, horn players, singers, MCs, Dub Creators and innovators. The spirit of all those different but soulfully connected parts lives on in this release. Give us more Vin.