The Herbaliser – 5 Of The Best

0 Posted by - 16th April 2018 - 5 Of The Best, Features & Reviews

The Herbaliser don’t fall into an easy pigeon hole, but have been producing outstanding hip hop, beats, funk and jazz since the 1990s, and for our money qualify as greats of the UK scene. They’re back with an excellent new album and are just about to go on tour, the full show with the live band is always exhilarating and we’d recommend you catch them if you possibly can. They’ve already featured in another 5 Of The Best and it’s a near impossible task to distill a huge back catalogue, but we have to try!

A Mother (For Your Mind) (1996)

There is so much to choose from in the early releases; “Scratchy Noise”, the first single from the debut album is a corker. The second album, “Blow Your Headphones” is absolutely jammed with quality and too many good tracks to choose from. However there’s a reason the legendary Kruder & Dorfmeister DJ Kicks mix opens with this track, it’s an absolute masterclass in deep bass grooves:

 

Let It Go (featuring Jean Grae) (1999)

The second album marked the first of a long series of collaborations with prodigiously talented MC & Polymath Jean Grae (then known as “What What”, and part of the Natural Resource crew). The Third album “Very Mercenary” is  golden and also includes an early cut from Roots Manuva. In a packed field the deep beats and delivery on this track are second to none:

 

More Tea, More Beer (featuring Jean Grae) (2005)

Another Jean Grae collaboration, this time from the terrific “Take London” long player, also well worth checking out is “Lord Lord”. This track, (only featuring as a bonus cut on the special editions of the album) is a face-blast of crisp horns and even sharper rhymes:

Clap Your Hands (featuring Jessica Darling) (2008)

The quality kept on coming with “Same As It Never Was”, in particular the title track, and the jumping “Gadget Funk”. “Clap Your Hands” is a stone cold soul stomper, and this live version showcases the band in full effect:

Some Things (featuring Rodney P & Tiece) (2018)

“Bring Out The Sound” marks a return after a 6 year gap since 2012’s “There Were Seven”. The new record finds the band in excellent form, with horns, tight rhythms and a host of collaborations, including Stac and Just Jack. This track stands out in particular, featuring Rodney P, (who is overdue his own 5 of the best), and leaves no doubt that The Herbaliser still have the juice:

Always room for another,….Something Wicked (featuring Seaming To) (2002)

Could have thrown in at least 6 more tracks, but this one from 2002, is even more apposite than ever in these troubling times. Also worth checking out is the Roots Manuva Dub, but this track (in the full album version), stands proud 16 years later:

We’d recommend checking out the new record and/or a tour show and if you can’t make it, do check out this full live show video from a few years ago.

  • Chris Tomlin

    Outstanding selection – I’m off to dig around in there back catalogue after these recommendations