Ska, rocksteady and reggae have since their earliest days been heavily influenced by U.S. R&B, jazz, soul and funk, which has been showcased on several albums and compilations over the years.
And a fresh set from Japan’s Dub Store Records spotlights these influences again. On Reggae, Funk & Soul 1969-1975 20 gems produced by singer-turned-producer Derrick Harriott are highlighted. It’s a tasty mix of originals and cover versions, both instrumental and vocal cuts played and sung by some of Jamaica’s finest talents, including I Roy, Karl Bryan, Junior Murvin as well as Derrick Harriott himself along with his house band The Crystalites.
Derrick Harriott interprets both the music of American black consciousness as well as romance and affairs of the hearts. There’s also room for a few novelty tunes inspired by spaghetti westerns and composers like Sergio Leone.
It’s a diverse and sophisticated collection with superb cuts like Chosen Few’s version of Billy Paul’s Am I Black Enough For You, Bongo Herman’s Hail I, Crystal Generation’s funky, and slightly psychedelic, Hell Below, and The Kingstonians’ beautiful Right From Wrong, the only cut that’s previously unreleased.
File next to superb compilations like Darker Than Blue: Soul From Jamdown 1973-1980 and Studio One Soul 1 & 2.
After reissuing the epic Derrick Harriott’s Rocksteady Party Japan’s Dub Store Records returns with a compilation collecting both stone-cold classics and rare collector’s items from Derrick Harriott’s vaults.
Derrick Harriott Rocksteady 1966-1969 showcases masterpieces such as Derrick Harriott’s own Do I Worry, Keith & Tex’ Stop That Train and Tonight alongside beautiful instrumentals like Ike Bennett & The Crystalites’ Illya Kuryankin and Bobby Ellis’ Step Softly. The selection also features three obscure cuts from Junior Soul, who would later score a hit with Police & Thieves as Junior Murvin.
Derrick Harriott is one of the forerunners in Jamaican music and started his career as a singer in the late 50s and would soon find fame as part of the Jiving Juniors. Later he turned to production and his recordings have always been crisp and elegant.
This stellar compilation collects timeless, melodious and stylish rocksteady produced by one of Jamaica’s many musical giants.
When I started listening to reggae some 20 years ago my first love was rock steady and one of the many holy grails I wanted in my music collection was Derrick Harriott’s Rock Steady Party, a twelve track various artists compilation from around 1967. Unfortunately a copy has always been way too expensive for my finances. Up until now.
Because the stars over at Dub Store Records has reissued this sublime collection of hits in its original version. It’s a faultless set and every cut is a certified gem. Derrick Harriott has produced the album and also sings on five tracks, including the beautiful and melancholic album opener Walk the Streets.
This is rock steady at its very finest. Close harmonies, sweet melodies and smooth grooves. It’s all there and expertly crafted by legendary musicians like ace guitarist Lynn Taitt and trumpet maestro Bobby Ellis.