Various Artists: Furry Selection

Super Furry Animals bassist Guto Pryce takes a spin through the apparently bottomless Trojan back catalogue and produces a surprisingly cohesive mix of ‘70s rocksteady and dub reggae.

Various Artists

Furry Selection

Label: Trojan US
US Release Date: 2007-06-12
UK Release Date: 2007-05-28

Undeterred by the flood of budget-priced three CD box sets released by Trojan Records over the last several years, Sanctuary Records offers another compilation of vintage reggae nuggets. Following in the footsteps of 2007's Jonny Greenwood Is the Controller, Super Furry Animals bassist Guto Pryce takes a spin through the apparently bottomless Trojan back catalogue and produces a surprisingly cohesive mix of '70s rocksteady and dub reggae. In keeping with the '70s vibe, the mix draws heavily on the spaced out dub of legendary producer Lee "Scratch" Perry.

Along with the dedicated musical archeologists at Soul Jazz Records (not to mention whoever is emptying out the vaults at Trojan), fans like Pryce and Greenwood are helping to expose new generations of fans to Jamaica's astonishingly rich musical heritage. And while Pryce's compilation isn’t quite as exhaustive as the typical Soul Jazz compilation (for example, the recent Studio One Kings or Studio One Groups), he clearly knows his subject.

Though I feel almost obligated to dock the mix points for starting off with the overused, impossible-to-avoid (yet still wonderful) Horace Andy chestnut "Skylarking", Pryce quickly delves deeper, moving on to the lesser known "Curly Locks" by Lee Perry. Unlike some of Perry's more spaced out productions from the Black Ark days of the late '70s, "Curly Locks" showcases The Upsetter's serene vocals floating over a vintage rocksteady rhythm track. After Mikey Dread's "Dread Combination", Pryce revisits Perry's back catalogue with the cheerful "Flashing Echo" by Leo Graham & the Upsetters before slowing things down with the spacey dub of "Vibrate On (Dub Version)" by Augustus Pablo, and Keith Hudson's eerie "Darkest Night on a Wet Looking Road".

Pryce then works his way back to early dub with the obligatory ode to ganja by Linval Thompson ("Jamaican Colley (Version)"), followed by U-Roy's "Penny For Your Dub", and what feels like the disc's only misstep (perhaps not coincidentally, the only track recorded after the '70s): "Ring the Alarm" by Tenor Saw. It's not a bad song, but to my ear its brassy vocals just don’t work well with the rest of the mix. Thankfully, it's right back to business with the mellow dub of "Channel One Feel It" from Leroy Smart's Aggrovators, followed by one of the best tracks on the album - the obscure gem "Do It Baby" by Susan Cadogan.

Like any good DJ, Pryce closes his set on a high note, starting with a wonderful early version of the Wailers classic "Kaya" produced by Perry and a much less polished version than later, more radio-friendly mixes. Next up, the rocksteady rhythms of Cornell Campell's wistful "Girl Of My Dreams", with its soulful horns and falsetto backing harmonies, segues nicely into the Perry-produced album closer "The Long Way" by Junior Byles, featuring some excellent guitar work, most likely by someone in Perry's house band.

I certainly wouldn't have pegged Pryce as a diehard reggae fan, but this just goes to show that you can't judge an indie rocker by his title. He obviously has great affection for vintage reggae, and has combined that affection with a fairly comprehensive knowledge of the genre to produce this, an excellent primer on classic rocksteady and dub reggae sounds of the '70s. Hopefully it will be the catalyst for a new generation of fans exploring the rich musical legacy of Jamaica.





In 'Wandering Dixie', Discovering the Jewish South Is Part of Discovering Self

Sue Eisenfeld's Wandering Dixie is not only a collection of dispatches from the lost Jewish South but also a journey of self-discovery.


Bill Withers and the Curse of the Black Genius

"Lean on Me" singer-songwriter Bill Withers was the voice of morality in an industry without honor. It's amazing he lasted this long.


Jeff Baena Explores the Intensity of Mental Illness in His Mystery, 'Horse Girl'

Co-writer and star Alison Brie's unreliable narrator in Jeff Baena's Horse Girl makes for a compelling story about spiraling into mental illness.


Pokey LaFarge Hits 'Rock Bottom' on His Way Up

Americana's Pokey LaFarge performs music in front of an audience as a way of conquering his personal demons on Rock Bottom.


Joni Mitchell's 'Shine' Is More Timely and Apt Than Ever

Joni Mitchell's 2007 eco-nightmare opus, Shine is more timely and apt than ever, and it's out on vinyl for the first time.


'Live at Carnegie Hall' Captures Bill Withers at His Grittiest and Most Introspective

Bill Withers' Live at Carnegie Hall manages to feel both exceptionally funky and like a new level of grown-up pop music for its time.


Dual Identities and the Iranian Diaspora: Sepehr Debuts 'Shaytoon'

Electronic producer Sepehr discusses his debut album releasing Friday, sparing no detail on life in the Iranian diaspora, the experiences of being raised by ABBA-loving Persian rug traders, and the illegal music stores that still litter modern Iran.


From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.


The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 2, The B-52's to Magazine

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part two with the Cure, Mission of Burma, the B-52's and more.


Emily Keener's "Boats" Examines Our Most Treasured Relationships (premiere)

Folk artist Emily Keener's "Boats" offers a warm look back on the road traveled so far—a heartening reflection for our troubled times.


Paul Weller - "Earth Beat" (Singles Going Steady)

Paul Weller's singular modes as a soul man, guitar hero, and techno devotee converge into a blissful jam about hope for the earth on "Earth Beat".


On Point and Click Adventure Games with Creator Joel Staaf Hästö

Point and click adventure games, says Kathy Rain and Whispers of a Machine creator Joel Staaf Hästö, hit a "sweet spot" between puzzles that exercise logical thinking and stories that stimulate emotions.


The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 1, Gang of Four to the Birthday Party

If we must #quarantine, at least give us some post-punk. This week we are revisiting the best post-punk albums of all-time and we kick things off with Gang of Four, Public Image Ltd., Throbbing Gristle, and more.


Alison Chesley Toils in Human and Musical Connectivity on Helen Money's 'Atomic'

Chicago-based cellist, Alison Chesley (a.k.a. Helen Money) creates an utterly riveting listen from beginning to end on Atomic.


That Kid's 'Crush' Is a Glittering Crossroads for E-Boy Music

That Kid's Crush stands out for its immediacy as a collection of light-hearted party music, but the project struggles with facelessness.


Percival Everett's ​​​'Telephone​​​' Offers a Timely Lesson

Telephone provides a case study of a family dynamic shaken by illness, what can be controlled, and what must be accepted.


Dream Pop's Ellis Wants to be 'Born Again'

Ellis' unhappiness serves as armor to protect her from despair on Born Again. It's better to be dejected than psychotic.


Counterbalance No. 10: 'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols'

The Spirit of ’77 abounds as Sex Pistols round out the Top Ten on the Big List. Counterbalance take a cheap holiday in other people’s misery. Right. Now.


'Thor: Ragnarok' Destroys and Discards the Thor Mythos

Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok takes a refreshingly iconoclastic approach to Thor, throwing out the old, bringing in the new, and packaging the story in a colourful, gorgeously trashy aesthetic that perfectly captures the spirit of the comics.


Alps 2 and Harry No Release Eclectic Single "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" (premiere)

Alps 2 and Harry NoSong's "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" is a dizzying mix of mangled 2-step rhythms and woozy tranquil electronics.

Collapse Expand Reviews
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.