If you’re a fan of Daptone Records, chances are you’ve read or heard the name Victor Axelrod, and even if you haven’t, you’ve heard music from his hand. As a producer, arranger, recording and mixing engineer, and keyboardist, his creativity has extended across more than two decades of the label’s releases, even dating to its prehistory with Desco Records. Featuring previously unreleased tracks by Sugar Minott and Binky Griptite, If You Ask Me To (the first LP under his name for the label) is a collection of singles released between 2007-2023.
The genesis of the project came via an 11th hour request from Daptone for a Sharon Jones remix in 2007 that resulted in the reggae version of “How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?” found here. This opened the door to additional explorations of reggae/soul synergies within the catalog, affirming the musical and cultural link between Daptone’s core soul sound and Axelrod’s passion for Jamaican music. While previous projects like Ticklah Vs. Axelrod and Roots Combination (produced under the alias Ticklah) were inspired by the Jamaica of the 1970s and 80s, this set specifically channels an earlier period in the 1960s when Jamaica was closely and empathetically attuned to Black American music.
With Axelrod at the helm, key musicians from the NYC reggae community, guitarist Tom Brenneck, and more came together to create a cohesive project that will continue to inspire a new generation of reggae and soul enthusiasts. A truly stunning body of work that deserves a place in your collection.