Friday, May 9, 2008

Smith & Mighty/Rockers Hi-Fi/More Rockers/Bristol

In response to the handful of More Rockers requests we received in the past week alone, I have to say their old material is impossible to find! I couldn't find anything really. So I apologize for that, but I did find some great mixes featuring lots of that Bristol Dub/Drum'n'Bass sound, including More Rockers acetates. So that should tide you over until something more substantial comes along...

A bit about Smith & Mighty:
The story of SMITH & MIGHTY is closely bound up with the musical history of Bristol, their hometown. For a good decade Rob Smith and Ray Mighty (joined nowadays by third member Peter D. Rose) have featured among sound pioneers like Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead and Roni Size who have enjoyed worldwide success. However, despite their huge influence on the 'Sound of Bristol', whereas the aforementioned have been able to celebrate their well-deserved successes, SMITH & MIGHTY have always had to take a back seat due to a plethora of unfavourable circumstances. In spite of some excellent 12" releases and their totally cool debut album 'Bass Is Maternal', an international breakthrough was not foreseeable for the time being. This only changed in 1998, with their self-compiled release for the DJ Kicks series, which firmly put them back on the map and earned them much respect internationally. But let's start at the beginning:

In the mid-eighties a scene arose in the St. Paul's district, based around DJs like Nellee Hooper (later founder of Soul II Soul), Miles Johnson, Grant and Mushroom, who soon dubbed themselves the Wild Bunch, going on to father the 'Sound of Bristol' by blasting a bassy melt-in-your-mouth mix of fusion, dub, reggae, soul and hip hop out of their soundsystems on to the streets of St. Paul's. What was initially played through traditional soundsystems progressed into the production of their own tracks, and the 'Wild Bunch's first recording 'Look of Love' clinched them quite a local hit. Co-producing was a second Bristol team, namely Rob Smith & Ray Mighty, who had established their own soundsystem called '3 Stripe' In 1987 SMITH & MIGHTY released a cover version of Burt Bacharch's 'Anyone (Who Had A Heart)', shortly followed by 'Walk On By' on their label, also dubbed '3 Stripe'. With this brace of tracks and their mellow basslines, soulful vocals and deep arrangements SMITH & MIGHTY had set the precedent for successive releases in the British port. (Such as a certain Massive Attack's debut single 'Any Love', which they produced.)

They were also producers of 'Wishing On A Star' by Fresh Four (a one hit wonder featuring the then 17 year old DJ Krust) at the end of 1989, marking the beginning of a five year odyssey through the lowlands of the (major) music industry. After the huge success of 'Wishing On A Star', record companies began to take an interest in the boys from Bristol. They refused a lucrative offer from Virgin's Richard Branson, commenting 'We just don't like his style, and the way Margaret Thatcher portrayed him as the ideal business mogul. Maybe it's got something to do with the fact that we used to be punks" (Ray Mighty). The deal signed with London Records proved to be disastrous. They still went ahead with producing Carlton's album, 'The Call Is Strong', exposing a real source of inspiration, but the record company couldn't handle their visionary downtempo beats when England was obsessed with fast house and techno beats. To this day the album is regarded as the 'great lost album of the Bristol Sound'. Further SMITH & MIGHTY productions were greeted with the same lack of recognition by the record company and mostly weren't even released.

After their deal with the major company had expired, the first album on their own label More Rockers was released in 1995 (a dub version of an LP originally recorded for London Records). Due to woeful distribution, this album only managed to make its way to hard core fans, yet rave reviews in the press consoled SMITH & MIGHTY. The next stage was to concentrate on the project and label More Rockers, run with third member Peter D. Rose. They started laying down tracks with groundbreaking breakbeat and Drum 'n' Bass again, which were picked up and reworked by producers like Roni Size and DJ Krust. Hence the arrival of 'Bristol Jump-Up'.

Hip hop, reggae, soul and mainly a great love of dub make the songs on the new album somewhat of one of the most exciting records to appear out of Bristol. The album was recorded over a period of two years, with vocals by the likes of Tammy Payne, Alice Perera and Rudy Lee, who all also hail from Bristol, and SMITH & MIGHTY's deeply-embedded roots in the city make the whole thing into rather a family affair.

Rockers Hi-Fi - Transmission Control (1998)


Now for the mixes!

Smith & Mighty - Essential Mix 11 - 24 - 96 part 1
Quality: 85.93 MB | 192 kbps | 44100 Hz | Stereo | 62:34 min.

Massive Attack - Any Love (Massive Attack)
Smith & Mighty - Walk On (Three Stripe)
McKelz Smith & Mighty - Mix me Down Maestro (Three Stripe)
The General - The Time To Rhyme (FFRR)
Fresh 4 - Wishing On A Star (Ten)
Smith & Mighty - Anyone (Three Stripe)
Receiver - Irrational (Swarf Finger)
The Wild Bunch - The Look Of Love (4th & Broadway)
Smith & Mighty with McKelz & Tammy Payne - Seeds (White Label)
Wilks - A & R Man (White Label)
Dub Ghecko - Love To The Power Of Each (Dub Head)
Dub Ghecko - Love To The Power Of Each (Dub Head)
Smith & Mighty - Killa (FFRR)
Blue & Red/ Freddie - Blessed (Acetate Pressing)
Blue & Red - Unity (Acetate Pressing)
Blue & Red/ K.Oil - Don Anything (Acetate Pressing)
Tamlins - Baltimore Remix 2 (Acetate Pressing)
Tamlins - Baltimore Remix 3 (Acetate Pressing)
Smith & Mighty - Heavens In (Acetate Pressing)
Bally Sagoo - Ghuraliya (Columbia)
Virginity - Rainbows (More Rockers)
Flyn & Flora - New World (White Label)
Jazklash - Off The Edge (White Label)
Jazklash - BQE (White Label)
Smith & Mighty - Same (More Rockers)
Smith & Mighty - Higher (More Rockers)
More Rockers - Another Day (More Rockers)
More Rockers - Sound Boy (More Rockers)
More Rockers - Show Love (Acetate)

Download Part 1

Smith & Mighty - Essential Mix 11 - 24 - 96 part 2
Quality: 78.98 MB | 192 kbps | 44100 Hz | Stereo | 57:30 min.

More Rockers - 162 (Acetate)
More Rockers- Nightfall (More Rockers)
More Rockers - First Time (More Rockers)
More Rockers - Frush (Acetate)
More Rockers - Das Ya One (More Rockers)
More Rockers - 1 2 3 Break (More Rockers)
Silent Poets - Talk Is Toy (Acetate)
Jazklash - Than The Haze (Acetate)
More Rockers - Bibo (Acetate)
More Rockers - Cure (Acetate)
smith & mighty - Down In Rwanda (More Rockers)
Flyn & Flora - Bass Speaker (White Label)

Download Part 2

Rockers Hi-Fi: Live on Back To The Basics, 1997
BTTB-X-Series: Rockers Hi-Fi

Rockers Hi Fi - "Xmas-Intro" (Different Drummer)
Primal Scream - "Vanishing Dub" (Creation)
The Angel - "Strange Times" (Om Records)
Organic Synthetic - "Space Walkin'" (Funk 21)
Omni Trio - "Sanctuary (Original Mix)" (Moving Shadow 1997)
Coast - "Shield" (Pepper)
pHrack R - "Yardstick" (Fused & Bruised)
Shantel - "Hey Girl" (No Info)
George D. Geckeler, M.D. Coupling - "No Info" (Philips)
Rhythm & Sound - "Music A Fe Rule" (Rhythm & Sound 1997)
DJ Bigfoot - "Hello" (Covert)
Scuba - "No Info" (No Info)
DJ Wally & DJ Swingsett - "Hungry In The Abstract" (Ubiquity 1997)
Tekware - "Nostalgia" (Grand Larcency)

Download mix

Rob Smith - Live at Groovalistic 11/2002
No Tracklisting available - this mix starts off dubby/housey and then moves into Bristol-style Drum'n'Bass. Very good mix!

Download Part 1
Download Part 2


AMP said...

pmx and i caught the More Rockers when they came to DC 199?. i don't remember much, but i remember a really top-notch set, with great transitions thru dub, deep funk, b-boy breaks, d&b.

XMP said...

yep can't remember much! we were definitely up close and personal though. Must have been like 1997-98.


Wowzers. Thanks for the posts since I didn't expect these.
I was thinking that you would've done the selections 1 and 2 comps (which I don't have AND are a pain to find), but surprised nonetheless.

XMP said...

Yeah I can't find shit! But I do still have good mix connections so those I *can* find. Still looking for those Dubplate Selections albums!

Anonymous said...

Lots of Bacharach on here, not just "Look of Love".

Nice. man!

John Carney said...

Hey fantastic. Great to hear these. As wonderful as the Andrea Parker ones. Speaking of which, as you liked my piece on her, there's a Smith & Mighty related one from the same place at in the 50000 Reasons series - in the Nicolette piece...

xis said...

Rockers HiFi were from Birmingham and I don't think there is any connection with S&M.

Great blog - I come here regularly but I've only just realised you need to allow cookies for the captcha letters to load! Expect more comments!
Thanks for all the uploads.

irie! said...

Man, I'm being dubbed right off my plane of reality by the might of Smith & Mighty!

Big ups for a quality post, and for making the world a more dubwise place! Peace.

SpankyMonkey said...

Early Smith and Mighty Album:



XMP said...

Thanky Spanky!!

Anonymous said...


you brought me right back to the 90s when I spent a lot of time in London. S&M were my constant companians by that time and I collected what I could find. Wonderful treasures! I still have some 12"s and the More Rockers LP. Drop me a line if you want them uploaded somewhere.

Dub on!

Schmidt Mächtig


Mona said...

Thanx for this and your wonderful blog, I hope that you don't mind that I have linked to this post at mine.

Anonymous said...

Hey !

Thanx for these nice "souvenirs"

Here's the S&M Retrospective : like I did ;)

Anonymous said...

And there's also :

S&M "Bass Is Maternal" :

Rockers Hi-Fi "Overproof" :

re-eNjOy !

nortoncommando said...

Love Smith and Mighty! Thanks from HOuston!