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Posts Tagged ‘Rocksteady

Way too long no sweet rocksteady at urbanology, here is a killer compilation, a must have.  Bunny Lee, one of the greatest Jamaican producers aka “Striker”, who had one Rock Steady hit after another in the hot Jamaican summers in the late 60s, when rocksteady was the big new thing on the isle. Out of this most productive era the well made compilation presents 25 killer tracks produced by Bunny Lee. You get all the big names: Slim Smith, Alton Ellis, Sensations, Errol Dunkley, Uniques – but also artists like Webber Sisters with their terrific female rocksteady groover “What I´m gonna do”. I bet only rocksteady fanatics knew them before. CD and vinyl are added by good liner notes, one reason more to get this germ.

Right on time.

Jamaican vocal trio the Kingstonians were formed 1966 by Jackie Bernard and his brother Footy, along with mutual friend Lloyd Kerr. First they called themselves “The Apostles”, but soon changed their name to Kingstonians. Their greatest succes they had between 1968 and 1970 with producer Derrick Harriot, in the years before the Kingstonians recorded with producer J.J. Johnson. Harriot helped steer the singles “Singer Man” and “Sufferer” to the top of the Jamaican charts. Both killer tracks are also on the here presented LP, originally released 1970 and the only full length record of the Kingstonians. The album was the absolute career high point for the Trio and and it remains a wonderful example of rocksteady right at the point where it began to tip over into early reggae. Harriott and Kingstonians leader Jackie Bernard co-wrote most of the songs on the album, a fantastic album full of sweet melodies and pumping rocksteady. The album and its key track, “Sufferer,” have had an impact that far outweighs the brief life span of the group.

Easy ride reggae!

Another file which is down, but you find this Kingstonians record also here.

Some of the greatest riddims of all time and a absolutely brilliant voice, the best reggae release for almost a decade. Ok, I really love the rocksteady and early reggae stuff, but believe me: you have to get it!

Bitty McLean is one of the sweetest voices in reggae and had a No.2 hit with british-lovers-song “It Keeps Raining” (Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew) in 1994. Ten years later he teamed up with Duke & Chris Peckings, sons of London’s famous Studio One & Treasure Isle outlet owner George “Peckings” Price and selected a handful of time-honoured tracks from Treasure Isles rocksteady days and rework them, with Bitty providing vocals and the Peckings producing a fatter sound. They have done a wonderful job of bringing these tunes back with the original flavour, the original riddims were recorded by the Treasure Isle house band Tommy McCook & The Supersonics. The opening track “walk away from love”, Alton Ellis’ “Rock Steady” rhythm from 1967 is revisited by Bitty with lyrics from Motowns Temptations´ hit of the same name. Other tunes are first ever vocal recorded versions: “tell me” over the 1971 instrumental “ranglin On Bond Street”, “your heart” is using the “Folk Song” 1966 riddim. Several other songs are provided by Bitty with melodically and lyrically new great lovers vocals, i.e. Joy Landis´ 1968 “Moonlight Lover”, the stomping “I Shall Wear A Crown”-riddim by the Richards Brothers or the Tommy McCook & Lester Sterling 1966 instrumental “Inez”. It’s unbelievably how Bitty McLean really graces the tunes with his soulful lovers lyrics, all my respect to Peckings for bringing back all these classical rocksteady (and some ska) riddims. The vinyl is one of the finest in my collection, gatefold cover, lovely layout, detailed liner notes and background informations, buy it if you like it! At the moment Bitty McLean is back in the studio, with Sly & Robbie!!

Now clap your hands and stamp your feet, this happens to be the Treasure Isle treat.

Queen of Rock Steady – anything else to know?

Ok, Phyllis Dillon was one of the most talented female reggae singers from Jamaica. She recorded several classics and her first song, “don´t stay away” from 1965 (released 1966) already busted the Jamaican charts. This song is also the opener for this compilation. Followed up by “one life to live” – my personal favourite – and completed by a lot of other songs you just have to know and love. You get some wonderful cover versions, “something” from the Beatles or “love the one you´re with” from Stephen Stills and the rest of her own greatest hits, you won’t want to skip a track anywhere in between. Phyllis Dillon also did a couple of duets with Hopeton Lewis, Alton Ellis and Boris Gardiner. On this compilation you only can listen to “righ track” with Hopeton Lewis – but you won´t miss other voices because her is so charming, woah.

Phyllis Dillon started a comeback in the 90ties, but died a few years later in New York, were she lived the last centuries.

Hey don´t you know it´s not sleeping time, just get alive, you rock away to the steady beat – rock steady!


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