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.
Review: Jamaican ska vocalist Justin Hines was one of the many popular jewels on Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label. He often worked with the Dominoes backing singers and their first album, reissued here by Music On Vinyl, was reportedly a firm favourite of Bob Marley. Pure roots at its finest and straight from the mid-seventies, this is feel good music that brims with warmth and earthy vibes. It's a celebration of dreadlock culture, the beauty of the Jamaican motherland and a fine reflection of the horizontal pace of life out in the Caribbean.
Review: From The Roots was the fourth album by The Maytals and their first after signing to Island Records in 1973. It found them move away from their earlier ska days but not quite settle into the slower tempos the rest of the big players were exploring. As such it's a speedy listen with uptempo vocals that most frequently muse on love. There are plenty of standouts such as "Got To Feel," "Koo Koo" and "Pee Pee Cluck Cluck" that still sound fresh today, especially on a limited edition individually numbered orange vinyl.
Review: Considered something of a rocksteady classic, The Melodians' 1970 debut album "Rivers Of Babylon" has long been tricky to find on vinyl. Surprisingly, this Music on Vinyl reissue marks the first time it has appeared on wax outside of Jamaica and the first pressing of any sort for 50 years. It remains arguably their strongest work: a warm, soul-fired set of loved-up songs co-produced by legendary Chinese Jamaican ska specialist Leslie Kong and his long-time sound engineer Warwick Lyn. The plentiful highlights include upbeat number "Though I'm Through With You", the jaunty "Walking In The Rain", slow jam "It Took A Miracle" and fine opener "Rivers Of Babylon".
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.
Review: Released in 1969 four years after the band split up (a break that resulted in the formation of two of Jamaican music's most storied studio 'house bands', Tommy Cook & The Supersonics and Rolando Alphonso and the Studio One Orchestra), "The Skatalite" gathers together some of the most potent and best known "sides" recorded by The Skatalites with producer Arthur 'Duke' Reid. Here reissued by Music On Vinyl, it's as strong a collection of early/peak-era Ska music as you're likely to find. In it you can hear the influences from rhythm and blues and jazz that went into forming the Ska sound, as well as the progression towards a more "skanking" sound that would lay the foundations of rocksteady and ultimately reggae.
Tommy McCook - "Get Me To The Church On Time" (2:38)
John Holt & Joya Landis - "I'll Be Lonely" (2:08)
Tommy McCook - "Second Fiddle" (2:26)
Tommy McCook - "Soul For Sale" (2:38)
Alton Ellis - "Breaking Up" (3:00)
Tommy McCook - "Mary Poppins" (2:45)
Tommy McCook - "Billy Joe" (3:53)
Joya Landis - "Moonlight Lover" (2:20)
Tommy McCook - "Black Coffee" (2:41)
Review: Duke Reid's Treasure Isle was a behemoth of a label that very much defined the sound of an era almost single-handedly. This particular compilation was first put out in 1970 and was an immediate best seller: it details the transformation of late rocksteady into early reggae and takes in all the essentials from that time, making it a must for fans of the sixties sounds, or those looking to brush up on their knowledge. The orange vinyl features gems from Joya Landis, Tommy McCook, Alton Ellis and Winston Wright.
Earl Lindo - "Wear You To The Ball" (instrumental) (2:32)
Alton Ellis - "Puping In" (2:37)
The Tennors - "Hopeful Village" (2:29)
Hugh Roy - "Rule The Nation" (2:35)
Tommy McCook - "Dynamite" (2:21)
Hugh Roy - "Catty" (2:37)
Alton Ellis - "What Does It Take" (3:16)
Neville Hinds - "Sunday Gravey" (2:37)
Jamaica National Anthem (1:11)
Review: At the tail end of the 1960s, Treasure Isle producer Arthur 'Duke' Reid began to slowly move away from the ska and rocksteady sound with which he'd made his name. Reid embraced the emergent style of reggae, producing a string of local hit singles. 1970 compilation "Gay Jamaica Independence Time" gathered together some of these, adding a handful of previously unheard tracks to help sales. Here the sought-after set gets the reissue treatment courtesy of music on vinyl. There's much to admire amongst the 13 tracks on show, with highlights including the soulful shuffle of Hopeton Lewis's "Boom Sha Ka La", the Ethiopians socially conscious "Condition Bad A Yard", Alton Ellis's rhythm & blues influenced "Puping In" and the seductive "Catty" by Hugh Roy.