Review: Real reggae lovers will long have been attuned to this "Soul Of Jamaica" compilation, which draws together the best of the 60s onto one essential slab of wax. The original is highly sought after so this is a welcome reissue from Music on Vinyl. Twelve small but perfectly formed nuggets from artists like Alton Ellis, Tommy McCook and The Paragons exude that dusty, gauzy authenticity that defined this early era-reggae. Some of the tunes swagger, some of them soar, there are sun kissed uplifters and blue-eyed downbeats, but all of them hit the spot.
Review: This newly expanded reissue of classic Desmond Dekker compilation "Double Dekker" includes six rare bonus cuts next to the rest of the material that helped it make such an international impact. There isn't much cross over with other compilations, either, making it a must for fans of the late vocalist. Interestingly, this release was compiled after Dekker had left Trojan for the newly formed rival Creole, and it went on to become one of their biggest sellers, at the same time as putting his newer recordings into the shadows. So sink in and enjoy one of rocksteady's best.
Tommy McCook & The Supersonics - "Tommy's Rock Steady" (3:01)
The Techniques - "Drink Wine" (2:57)
Tommy McCook & The Supersonics - "Hot Rock" (3:39)
Miller, Williams, Yount - "Release Me" (4:11)
Sam Jones/Tommy McCook & The Supersonics - "Hey Leroy" (3:03)
The Techniques - "Queen Majesty" (3:35)
Tommy McCook & The Supersonics/King Kurtis - "Soul Serenade" (3:13)
The Paragons - "Mercy Mercy" (2:59)
Phyllis Dillon - "Don't Touch Me Tomato" (3:04)
The Melodians - "You Don't Need Me" (3:08)
Tommy McCook & The Supersonics - "Down Bond Street" (3:15)
Review: The Treasure Isle Recording Studio is unparalleled when it comes to some of the biggest rocksteady hits to come out of Jamaica. On this essential reissue, some of its greatest output is explored on tenor sax by Tommy McCook - an original pioneer of the sound and one of Jamaica's most celebrated musicians - and produced by the legendary Duke Reid of the Trojan Sound System. This is music from a golden era, when rocksteady outshone the more upbeat ska, and focus was shifted to song based material, with elements of r&b and blues all reimagined through a decidedly Jamaican lens.
Review: The Pioneers were pivotal during the skinhead reggae period and their 1970 album Battle Of The Giants on the mighty Trojan Records is as fine as they come. At the time it was released, the band was spending lots of time in the UK and taking cues from ska, but always returned to Jamaica to record. It shows in a record that mixes driving reggae grooves with more pop leaning songs and flourishes of soul. Swaggering rhythms like "Samfie Man" sit next to love struck tunes like "Consider Me" and it's not hard to see why this outfit was one of the first to have international reggae hits in the post-rocksteady era.