The Erin Bardwell Collective - The Original Reggae Hitsound   

Popatop Records PATCD01 - CD Album



The Erin Bardwell collective hail from Swindon in Wiltshire, and their founder and namesake has been involved in the ska scene since 1990 in bands like Ska Custard, The Skanxters, Unity, and More Specials. However, it is as part of this mammoth fifteen - piece traditional reggae outfit that the sound has finally come of age. There are thirteen tracks in all, encompassing ska, rock steady, and roots reggae vibes. In all The Original Reggae Hit Sound is a very different sound to The Skanxters and certainly More Specials. The sound is as rich as can be expected from such a colossal number of musicians and it comes as close to recreating those heady days of the 1960's and 1970's as any contemporary band can do. Think Intensified meets The Skatalites and you're pretty much there. Reggae fans will dig Sister Joe and Raggamuffin Queen, while the pick of the ska offerings is the sublime Panama, which sounds like something off the Rio label circa 1966 ( minus the crackles and the hefty price tag ! ). One aspect of the 1960's / 1970's reggae scene that is never properly recreated is the " Skinhead Sound ". On the live circuit this sound has been stone cold dead for many years. This is incredibly surprising as many people reading this scribe will regard it as their favourite sub - genre. The Erin Bardwell Collective come close occasionally  ( maybe or maybe not deliberately ) as do the aforementioned Intensified, but real hard bass lines are sadly notable by their absence once again. Nevertheless, this outfit are the 'real deal' musically, and not a skateboard or mohican in sight !


If you like your Ska authentic and your reggae mellow this CD is a must for your collection. If possible try to catch them out and about as it's a good bet they are a competent live act.  


- review - Ian Macc









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