Reggae Archive Records launched with an album from Birmingham band Eclipse and we’ve always planned to return to British Reggae Midlands’s heartland, home to so many great bands and source of so many great records. We got our chance to return to the Black Country when we were contacted by Wolverhampton’s Capital Letters and so the Reggae Archive team embarked on the journey north, up the M5 where we enjoyed the hospitality of the band’s JB and his wife Rose. We returned to Bristol bearing treasure, several reels of tape and a fantastic scrapbook full of photos and press clippings that Rose had lovingly compiled and kept safe.
Unfortunately, for various reasons, several of the recordings were unusable whilst other tapes contained the unmixed multi-track masters. We really wanted to tell the story of Capital Letters in their own words and so we gave the unmixed multi-tracks to Dave ‘Oldwah’ Sandford who did such a good job mixing vintage tracks on the album “Reminisce” by Bristol band Vibes. The results of our efforts are a brand new, yet vintage, 14 track Capital Letters album from 1985, the year everything was recorded. Five of the tracks are the band’s original 1985 mixes, one track is a live recording and the other eight are newly mixed from the original session tapes.
The music itself has something of a roots edge with title track “Reality” and “No Jobs” both having strong messages. There is also an entirely new mix of the bands breakthrough hit “Smoking My Ganja” which is completed with its dub version whilst “Reality” comes with both original and ‘Oldwah’ vocals and dubs. The other tracks take a different direction and emphasise how versatile the band were.
Having originally formed in 1971 just for the fun of playing, Wolverhampton’s Capital Letters were one of the UK’s first Reggae bands. They enjoyed huge popularity and success during the late seventies and early eighties both within the UK, becoming firm favourites of BBC Radio 1′s John Peel, and further afield in Europe where they undertook pioneering tours and built up a strong Continental fan base. The tracks on this album represent the last recordings from that classic line-up.
In addition to the previously unreleased music, the package contains extensive sleeve notes telling the story of the band based on interviews with original members and fully illustrated with archive photos, posters and other ephemera thanks to Rose Brown and her precious scrapbook that she kept safe for so many years. This release helps to document another piece in the often untold story of British Reggae.
Side One -
2. Reality Dub
3. Smoking My Ganja (Oldwah Mix)
4. Ganja Dub (Oldwah Mix)
5. No Jobs (Live)
Side Two -
6. Oldwah's Reality
7. Oldwah's Real Dub
8. This Is Club Dance
9. Dance Dub
10. Cocaine Dub
Format: Vinyl LP
Label: Reggae Archive Records
Year: Recorded 1985 (2014 reissue)