Wednesday, May 11, 2005

strikin' rocksteady

After first wave Jamaican ska (early 60s) but before roots reggae took over (early 70s), rocksteady was the place to be! It was the late 60s and shit was crazy in American music, but in Jamaica everything was cooler and calmer. During the hot summers on the island, people got too tired too quickly dancing to the fast rhythms of ska. Thus, rocksteady came to be. Highly influenced by American soul and R&B of the time, rocksteady was half the speed, with less horn and more bass (and piano). This is where producers (along with his engineer King Tubby) first starting give the music the space for vocal harmonies and applying the heavy rhythm that would eventually become dub. Reinterpreted hits by the likes of the Supremes, Impressions, Curtis Mayfield, Lamont Dozier and more were all given the Jamaican treatment by producers such as Clement "Coxsone" Dodd and Bunny "Striker" Lee. Moll-Selekta is about to issue an amazing collection of some of Striker's greatest productions from the golden era of rocksteady, circa 1967-1969.

Edward O'Sullivan Lee was born in Jamaica on August 23, 1941; he entered the music industry in 1962 via his brother-in-law, the great reggae singer Derrick Morgan, landing a job as a record plugger for Duke Reid's famed Treasure Isle label. By the mid-1960s, Lee was working with Ken Lack's Caltone imprint, producing his first record, Lloyd Jackson and the Groovers' "Listen to the Beat," in 1967. His first significiant hit, Roy Shirley's "Music Field," followed later that year on WIRL, and upon founding his own Lee's label, he reeled off a series of well-received sides including Morgan's "Hold You Jack," Slim Smith's "My Conversation" and Pat Kelly's "Little Boy Blue." This compilation is a valuable slice of history for Reggae and Soul fans alike, for lovers of great voices, for those who do not confuse “cool“ with cold and appreciate a good love song when it comes from the heart.

The Sensations - Lonely Lover
The Uniques - My Conversation
Glen Adams - Hey There Lonely Girl


At 10:59 PM, Blogger guanoboy said...

Beautiful. Thanks.


Post a Comment

<< Home