A rockin’ Randy’s box set

VP Records follow-up on their Channel One 7” box set released earlier this year with a set dedicated to another legendary Jamaican studio and label – Randy’s, probably the most important studio of the early 70’s. It was for example here Augustus Pablo recorded several of his early masterpieces.

Roots Rock Randy’s collects seven rootsy 7” from the Randy’s catalogue produced by Clive Chin with engineering wizard Errol “ET” Thompson – later of the Mighty Two with Joe Gibbs – at the controls in Randy’s Recording Studio, located above Randy’s Record Mart on 17 North Parade in Kingston.

The music included is classic roots – vocals, instrumentals and dubs. Some of the tracks have previously been reissued on 7”, whereas others haven’t been on wax since their original released almost 40 years ago. A bunch of the tracks are also available on compilations such as 17 North Parade on Pressure Sounds, including The Gladiators’ The Race, The African Brothers’ Hold Tight and Broadway’s funky harmonica-lead Guns in the Ghetto, on the 7″ it’s the flipside to Hortense Ellis’ version of Marlena Shaw’s Woman of the Ghetto.

The most worthwhile 7”s are probably Ansel Collins’ haunting instrumental Spanish Town Road with its sparse dub version S-Corner Dub and Augustus Pablo’s Java Passion, his next cut to the original Java. Its flipside Woodpecker is just as tasty.

If the 7” format and quality roots music is your thing, then this rockin’ box set is well-worth investigating further.

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