Fashion Records – Fashion in Fine Style: Fashion Records Significant Hits Vol 1 – album review

Fashion Records – Fashion in Fine Style: Fashion Records Significant Hits Volume One
Download available now, physical release available 12 September 2012

Fashion Records delves into the vaults to to introduce a new generation to the reggae, dub and dancehall classics they put out over two decades.

From 1980 until it shut its doors in 2000, Fashion Records was one of the primary reggae, dub and dancehall labels in the UK. They did a huge amount to support the ever growing scene of local and national talent, as well as offering assistance to musicians and artists who were spending time in London, away from their homes in Jamaica.

Fashion was, at one point, home to acts such as Smiley Culture, Jah Mali and Cutty Ranks, all of whom are still highly regarded and well thought of.

Online interest which has been generated in the last decade resulted in the collaboration between the label founders and Reggae Archive Records. The aim of this partnership is to transfer (from the original DAT tapes) the tracks which made the studio a success and to present them to a new generation.

The first fruits of their labours come in the form of ”˜Fashion In Fine Style: Fashion Records Significant Hits Volume One’, a 20 track compilation which displays the dexterity and variance which the label signified in its heyday.

The album begins with a selection of reggae love songs which, whilst charming in their own way, fail to reach the exciting heights of some of the subsequent tracks. It’s easy to see how the garage and jungle scenes managed to draw hefty influence from singles such as ”˜A No Nutten’ (Frankie Paul) and ”˜Who’s Gonna Make The Dance Ram.’ (Andrew Paul), not to mention the upbeat and energetic ”˜Yes We A Blood’ by Daddy Freddy. There’s a certain ferocity and a visceral intensity to these records which makes them stand out as definite highlights of this collection.

Starkey Banton and General Levy also make an appearance, as does Cutty Ranks’ hit ”˜The Stopper’. Smiley Culture’s ”˜Police Officer’ and ”˜Cockney Translation’ are both notable absences, but one can only assume that they’ll be included as part of a later release.

Fashion Records have produced an enlightening and interesting reggae compilation with Fashion In Fine Style and it’s great to see some of these old (and sometimes forgotten) classics getting the belated attention they deserve.

No matter what type of reggae you’re into, there will be something on this album which will appeal to you.

All words by Colin McCracken. You can read more from Colin on LTW here, follow him on Twitter or read his website.


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