REVIEW: Bulby York – Master Blaster Album

With more than 25 years experience as a producer, Colin ‘Bulby’ York has earned the respect of his musical peers as being someone that has an ear for creating signature beats or rhythms and is someone known to strive for perfection. This could be down to his experiences of being on the road as a live engineer for the likes of Michael Franti, Spearhead and Sly & Robbie or working alongside other great producers including Steely and Clevie, Donovan Germain and Roy Francis.

By DJ 745, Irie Jamms Radio Show, WorldAReggae

Master Blaster is the follow-up to Bulby’s acclaimed 2016 debut album Epic & Ting and features 11 rhythm tracks ranging in styles from straight Reggae and Dancehall, to Hip Hop, Afrobeat, and New Age.

Looking through the tracklisting and musical aficionados will instantly be wowed by the depth and quality of artists showcasing their voices across signature rhythms created by Bulby. Unlikely musical combinations unheard of previously (such as the four the hard way ‘Freedom’ featuring Beres Hammond, Marcia Griffiths, J Boog and Lutan Fyah, ‘Katch-a-Fire’ featuring Anthony Red Rose and Lexxus or ‘Shoot The Moon’ featuring Ch’An and Mad Cobra) will instantly appeal to reggae and dancehall fans worldwide. At the same time, Bulby introduces new artists and groups on the album including CornaStonaz and Lola Monroe who shine too.

Lead single ‘Lots of Signs’ sees Christopher Martin and Beenie Man updating the lyrics from the late Tenor Saw classic from 1985 over an updated version of the rhythm ( Tonight) but not before intro man ‘Fuzzy Jones’ announces “Now when it comes to sound business it’s we that run de scene cos we fresh and green!” Great to see the works of Tenor Saw who passed away 30 years ago in Houston, Texas in 1988 still just as relevant today.

1971 Jamaican Festival Song winner ‘Cherry Oh Baby’ by Eric Donaldson is given a modern day twist featuring Trinidadian soca songstress Patrice Roberts alongside Jamaica’s Busy Signal and is the only single previously released from the album. A lively combination that works so well with Patrice’s sultry, soothing vocals against Busy’s trademark deejaying prowess and sure to have mass appeal.

There’s no mistaking the incarcerated ‘World Boss’ Vybz Kartel on ‘Can’t Dweet Like We’ firing lyrics alongside Ethiopian rapper LoLa Monroe and a catchy hook from Candy Gloster against a hard, repetitive beat from Bulby which will please dancehall fans.

Atiba, Malica and Illestr8 are a trio raised in Jamaica that make up hip hop /reggae / soul fusion group CornaStonaz who feature on ‘Hands Up!’ A riotous explosion of street lyrics on the warfare between the police and the people over a military hip hop styled rhythm.

Nigeria meets Jamaica on ‘Dance with Me’ where Nigeria’s Manas Itiene shares vocal duties alongside Jamaica’s Cherine Anderson over a pulsating, high energy Afrobeat rhythm. On a side note, Manas Itiene also doubles up as drummer for Spearhead!

Chevaughn is definitely a name to watch and delivers a catchy performance on ‘Music and Weed’ –a perfect combination as far as Chevaughn is concerned and he’s in a feel good mode on this number.

The unmistakable voice of Culture’s Joseph Hill can be heard chanting on ‘Never Bow’ over a nyabinghi backdrop accompanied by Leego and former lead singer Kumar Bent of Raging Fyah. This is a clear demonstrable example of the powers of modern technology at work in creating a one-off combination of vocal styles unique in their own rights.

Bulby York has delivered a diverse yet somewhat experimental album combining so many musical genres from a diverse artist pool all seamlessly blending together with his production skills to make Master Blaster an excellent album. The closing ‘Kundalini’ features a spoken word poem against a soft piano backdrop from inspirational speaker Danielle LaPorte talking about emancipation from dark to light and is a fitting song to close this 11 track masterpiece.

By DJ 745, Irie Jamms Radio Show, WorldAReggae

Expected release date is 5th Oct 2018