Ebony Sisters Tell Love Hello Review

Ebony Sisters – Tell Love Hello – Review

Sid Buck Records featuring the Ebony Sisters: Tell Love Hello 7” Vinyl Review by Mr Topple for Pauzeradio.com.

The recently launched Sid Buck Records is remastering and reissuing the legendary producer and engineer Sid Bucknor’s work, thanks to his son Byron. So, the Pauzeradio shop is humbled to stock another one of these classic tracks, reimagined.

Bucknor should need no introduction. Over the years, as Sid Buck Records note in a press release, Sid:

“was the most prolific sound engineer and composer of the time. He started his career at Studio 1 with his cousin Coxson Dodd and soon became a sought-after sound engineer; a self-taught man who progressed to composing, producing and having some of his own record labels namely JamCan, Third World, Tropical Records, and more”.

He also contributed to some of the greatest Reggae artists’ work. He recorded and mixed the Bob Marley and the Wailers album Natty Dread, as well as the works of numerous other legends – including Toots and the Maytals, Desmond Dekker, Big Youth, Alton Ellis, and Ken Boothe. Producers he worked with included Duke Reid, Rupie Edwards, Clancy Eccles, Glen Brown, Lloyd Charmers, Joe Gibbs, and Bunny Lee.

So, it is of little wonder that Bryon has launched Sid Buck Records – to reinvigorate, re-release, but also honour and amplify Bucknor’s legacy – and ensure it is never forgotten. Hence, we have a new 7” vinyl in the Pauzeradio shop.

Tell Love Hello (If You See Him), released via Sid Buck Records, was originally a Soul hit for the Mellow Moods in 1971. Bucknor and the Ebony Sisters reworked the track in around 1972, bringing their respective, and distinctive, styles to the track. It not only shows the power of Reggae – lending itself to the reworking of most genres – but also Bucknor’s talents, because the track is a complete reimagining of a Soul standard.

Reggae elements abound throughout the track – not least a quickening of pace. A guitar casually skanks, while keys run a lazy bubble rhythm throughout – which are interestingly less prominent than the guitar. Drums perform a one drop, here, with the kick focusing on the two and four along with the snare, while hi-hats tinker in between. All this serves for a lilting pace – but then the bass interferes with this.

It’s on a syncopated riff, which runs around a melody (instead of the arpeggio chords usually seen in the 70s – showing Bucknor was ahead of the game). Rhythmically, the bass hits every beat of the bar, using semiquavers, quavers, and their dotted counterparts, to create a real feeling of momentum – driving the track forward, but not too much. A second guitar line, just out of earshot, echoes the bass somewhat – with some pleasing wah-wah effect across it.

Then, Bucknor has enhanced the track’s reimagining further with an entirely new horn section.

It is deftly arranged. Across the choruses, they perform almost responses to the main vocal calls – from straight note harmonies that have crescendo laced across them, to glissandos rapidly running up their register. On the verses, they mimic the backing vocals, and then the main ones. And, on those stand-out bridges they do similar. Their inclusion is brilliant and perfectly executed.

Also additional is a lovely, lilting electric guitar – running its own countermelody just out of earshot very effectively. Then, the Ebony Sisters’ vocals are lush and well-performed, filled with light and shade.

However, what Bucknor also did so tastefully and respectfully was to honour some of the original Soul musical devices. For example, the vocals still have those heavily layered harmonies. Then, he’s left in the pointed, Gospel-like, chord-led one-tone breaks where the vocals and instruments go full force. And Bucknor’s additional horn arrangement, and extra electric guitar, also complement the original style perfectly.

Side B features an instrumental – showing Bucknor’s talents for musical composition and arrangement extremely well. Here, we can hear all the detail involved, and it stands as a musical piece of work in its own right – not least because he also pushed the guitar to the fore, having it replayed with the vocal melody as its centrepiece.

Then, Bryon and the team at Sid Buck Records have remastered the track wonderfully – making sure the Ebony Sisters’ vocals are to the fore, while also maintaining the prominence of the Soul elements with just a smattering of background Reggae vibes.

Overall, Tell Love Hello is a gorgeous piece of work – showing not only Bucknor’s skill, but how Reggae can take a track from another genre and sympathetically make it its own – of course, only if you have talents like Bucknor’s and the Ebony Sisters’ onboard.

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Ebony Sisters – Tell Love Hello Review by Mr Topple / Pauzeradio PR Services (4th August 2023).

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