Various - Sly & Robbie... Presents Taxi
Percussionist Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare had been collaborating since the 1970s, creating Taxi Records to give a platform for both established and up-and-coming artists. …Presents Taxi is a welcome re-issue for their classic 1981 reggae compilation. The Wailing Souls cement their position as reggae veterans with two featured tracks: ‘Old Broom’ houses some of the smoothest vocals across the record, whilst ‘Sweet Sugar Plum’ is a pacifying example of their Motown influences. The twanging bass of ‘Fort Augustus’ by Junior Delgado sets a groove present across most of the album. A swaying, hypnotic beat peppered with dainty upstrokes echoes the laid back, relaxing ethos of the Caribbean. Lyrically, … presents Taxi focusses mostly on love, which is refreshing in a genre which is commonly considered political.
There is the odd slip up, ‘Drunken Master’, the contribution from General Echo features unsettling, scratchy vocals which disrupt the flow of the album and, inevitably, you need to buy into the steady, unchanging beats throughout. This is great material to have on standby ready for the summer; listening to it during the winter months is a bittersweet experience. Despite being over 30 years old, …presents Taxi remains relevant, a perfect access point to begin to build a bridge from more mainstream reggae.