This peek back into trip-hop production duo Smith & Mighty’s career is not only a vibrant span of their hits but a celebration of the Bristol sound. While Ronald Reagan was failing America in his first and second terms, Rob Smith and Ray Mighty had already established themselves as the Three Stripe Sound System, bringing crates of funk, hip-hop, reggae and dub to the masses in their coastal U.K. town. They capitalized on their reputation and churned out a soulful, quivering version of Bacharach’s “Anyone (Who Had a Heart)” in the late ’80s under the name Smith & Mighty.
An edit of the intricate reworking, complete with its persistent bass, scratching and drum changeups, appears on Retrospective, which includes A-sides, B-sides and rarities. The Jackie Jackson-assisted cover trails closely behind Dusty Springfield’s more famous version of the track, but it flows nicely over the ever-developing backdrop. Fortunately, the pair makes use of that hot break that underscores “Rebel Without a Pause” for Fresh 4’s cover of Rose Royce’s “Wishing On a Star.” Hard to believe that some of this stuff is as old as it is.