After Nazamba's impressive dub poetry debut earlier this year, the Duquake Records label of French O.B.F. once again surprises with 'From Mi Born', taking us back to the early years of English MC Charlie P.
The story behind this release begins when O.B.F. producer and selector Rico, during a trip to Charlie's home port Southend-On-Sea, ended up in the studio of The Goldmaster Allstars, the band where it all started for Charlie P. As during a conversation bassist and founder Malcolm Goldmaster suddenly conjured up some old tapes, containing the very first recordings Charlie made between the age of eight and thirteen, Rico could hardly believe his ears and immediately decided to bundle the material for an album release.
We can't really blame him, because thanks to the youthful voice, but also Charlie's natural talent and his passion for music, 'From Mi Born' evokes almost immediately memories of early works by Hugh Mundell or Lacksley Castell (nowhere more so than in 'One Time Girl', a love tune over a conjuring melodica-riddim).
In the 7 songs on the album (completed with 5 excellent dubs) Charlie tells us about his life, his problems as a youngster from the suburbs (opener '4 Policemen') and how he overcame his own demons with the help of reggae music ('Secret Survivor'), resulting in an album sounding like an instant classic we'd like to mention in one breath as one of our absolute reggae highlights of 2019!
For those who want to dig even deeper, there's also an accompanying thirty-minute long documentary on YouTube about Charlie's childhood, in which he takes us along a number of places in and around Southend-On-Sea that played an important role in those early years: G.T. Moore, Charlie's musical mentor in The Goldmaster Allstars, makes an appearance, Charlie's grandparents invites us to tea and we're presented with some footage of his very first stage performance.