Reissue giants SoulJazz Records have once again opened the mighty Studio One music vaults. This time for a second ska compilation.
The first compilation – put out in 2004 – was titled Studio One Ska and featured classic vocal and instrumental tracks from The Skatalites, Bob Marley and The Wailers, Delroy Wilson alongside rare tracks from the likes of Ken Boothe and The Maytals.
Studio One Ska Fever! is a slightly different affair. It still features a mix of vocal cuts and instrumentals, but it collects less classic tracks and a heavier dose of obscurities, for example gems like Jackie Opel’s Old Rocking Chair and the Soul Brothers’ take on The Skatalites’ classic Freedom Sounds.
The tempo and the quality of the songs are of course high throughout the 18 tracks recorded between 1964 and 1967. It’s upbeat and joyous, just listen to the Bob Marley lead Climb the Ladder with its gospel-tinged chorus or The Clarendonians’ Rudie Bam Bam with honking horns and memorable piano. But it is also funky, as in Jackie Mittoo’s organ instrumental Jump For Joy, recorded when he hadn’t turned 20 yet.
Ska Fever! comes with a 24 page booklet containing extensive sleeve-notes from Studio One historian Rob Chapman, with information on musicians, tracks, label scans and more.
This is yet another strong release from SoulJazz and Studio One and it shows the sheer brilliance of the elite musicians that were The Skatalites. For a period of about two years their sounds ruled Jamaica and Ska Fever! shows why.