Various Artists - Rub-A-Dub Soldiers (Makasound)
At first glance this seems like an in-between release by the Makasound label, but for those willing to give it a bit more attention, this compilation offers some gems from the rub-a-dub era of the early nineteen eighties.
Jah Mason - Life Is Just A Journey (Nocturne)
To those who've listened to Anthony B's most recent effort 'Higher Meditation', 'Life Is Just A Journey' should sound quite familiar.
Gras¿as - Doe Dat Dan! (Self-published)
Apart from Campina Reggae there's still another band playing their own version of Dutch reggae: Gras¿as! And yet, the big difference between Campina Reggae and Gras¿as still lies in the language used.
Chuck Fenda - The Living Fire (Greensleeves)
Yours truly has to admit not having paid much attention to Chuck Fenda's debut album 'Better Days', back in 2004. The release of successor 'The Living Fire' was preceded by the smear campaign surrounding 'Gash Dem'; the song was banned in Jamaica and subsequently became a cult hit.
Culture - Raw Truth EP (Ababajanhoy Records)
With their first release, German Ababajanhoy Records brings homage to Culture front man, Joseph Hill, who passed away last year.
YT - Straight Outta Britain (Hiptones/Sativa Records)
One could consider YT (pronounced "whitey") to be the English answer to Gentleman and his debut album 'Straight Outta Britain' is an instant hit.
Various Artists - UB40 Under The Influence (DMC Records)
The DMC label offered UB40 the opportunity to collect the songs that have influenced their career on one compilation.
Richie Spice - In The Streets To Africa (VP Records)
In reggae circles this new release by Richie Spice was eagerly anticipated, with the big question being whether it would match the quality and originality of its predecessor 'Spice In Your Life'.
Johnny Osbourne And The Sensations - Come Back Darling (Trojan/Sanctuary)
This is no easy feat: reissuing an original 12 track album with no less than 49 (!) bonus tracks. An "expanded original album" they call it at Trojan Records and for true reggae lovers this is as good as it gets.
Ras Michael Junior - Inna De Yard: Medicine Man (Makasound)
'Medicine Man' is already the sixth release in Makasound's intriguing Inna De Yard series, this time focusing on a lesser known name in reggae music.
Luie Hond - Met Liefde (Pias)
In Belgium we know Campina Reggae as the heirs to the legacy of Doe Maar, but a musical reply from our northern neighbors was of course inevitable.
Luciano - Revelation Time (Jet Star/Charm)
The Messenger rarely disappoints and impresses once more with 'Revelation Time'.
Barrington Levy - Englishman (Greensleeves)
This year, Greensleeves celebrates its 30th anniversary and for the occasion the label is releasing some interesting reissues. With his 1979 album 'Englishman', Barrington Levy is up first.
Various Artists - Hi Grade Ganja Anthems (Greensleeves)
The 'Hi Grade Ganja Anthems' compilation, for which Greensleeves label selected 18 of the best ganja tunes from the catalogue they've built up over the past thirty years.
Anthony B - Higher Meditation
Barely a few months after his previous release 'Suffering Man' Anthony B returns with 'Higher Meditation', an album produced by French producer Frenchie containing the sort of conscious dancehall tunes that have become the singjay's trademark.
U Roy - Old School/New Rules (Ariwa)
After several years of absence U Roy returns to Ariwa and 'Old School/New Rules', easily classified among the deejay's better albums, proves that certainly was the right decision.
Max Romeo - Pocomania Songs (Ariwa)
The first album by living reggae legend Max Romeo for Mad Professor's Ariwa label sadly turns out to be somewhat of a disappointment.
Tarrus Riley - Parables (VP Records)
Tarrus Riley (son of legend Winston Riley) is a newcomer to the VP stable. 'Parables' is already his second album, but suffers from mediocrity.
Various Artists - King Jammy's: Selector's Choice Volume 1, 2, 3 & 4 (VP Records)
For fans of eighties producer par excellence, King Jammy, the year couldn't have started any better.
Anthony B - Suffering Man (Tad's Record)
Anthony B's latest, 'Suffering Man', on the Jamaican Tad's Record label, starts splendidly with 'Bless Up', a great tune on the Cuss Cuss riddim. However, maintaining that level for the remaining 20 tracks, seems a bridge too far, even for Anthony B.