Tag Archives: Studio One

Classics and obscurities on Studio One Rocksteady 2

unnamedWith a sturdy 19 tracks there’s not a dull moment on Soul Jazz’ second installment of Studio One Rocksteady, although some of the tracks have previously been featured on countless of other albums. I’m talking about well-known songs like Alton Ellis’ I’m Still In Love With You, Slim Smit’s Born To Love and The Heptones’ I Shall Be Released.

The title is however slightly misleading since the album draws both Studio One’s deep rocksteady and early reggae vaults. And it offers a sweet mix of staples and obscure singles. Best of the bunch is The Termites’ pulsating Rub Up Push Up, Carlton & The Shoes’ melancholic Never Let Go, Cannon & The Soul Vendors’ bouncy instrumental Bad Treatment and The Actions’ up-tempo Giddy Up.

Studio One Rocksteady 2 includes a number of cuts that helped to shape reggae to an international phenomenon.

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Precious gems on Money Maker

MoneyMaker_COVER (1)The latest release in the new Studio One reissue program is a rare album from the early 70s. Money Maker was pressed in scarce quantities at the time and wasn’t reissued until 2002 when a limited edition – with bonus cuts – appeared. Both fetch large sums these days.

This new reissue is the original album with ten tracks and comes with the original “cash” artwork as well. It collects primarily instrumentals played by Studio One in-house bands The Sound Dimension, The Soul Brothers and The Soul Vendors joined by Im & Dave, Ernest Ranglin, Jackie Mittoo, Lloyd Williams and The Boss himself, Clement “Coxsone” Dodd.

Many riddims are familiar from vocal cuts by the likes of The Wailing Souls and The Heptones and have been versioned countless of times. The versions on Money Marker are stunning. Just listen to the ultra-funky Mixing with Jackie Mittoo putting his organ on fire or the Im & Dave’s marvellous version of John Holt’s A Love I Can Feel.

It has been remastered from the original session tapes and the sound quality is way beyond expectation. Unfortunately it’s a North America release only.

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A musical dub feast on Dub Fire Special

unnamedOn Soul Jazz Records’ third installment of Studio One dubs the crew have culled cuts from a number of different sources, mainly from Studio One dub albums released in the 70s, but also from 45s released during the same period.

As usual with the warm and organic recordings coming from Studio One the riddims are immaculate and the musicianship superb with several well-known riddims, including Every Tongue Shall Tell and Darker Shade of Black.

However, Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s mixing style is rather simple and non-imaginative and most cuts are rather instrumentals than dub versions. But the sheer quality of the music makes this a very worthwhile compilation, and more melancholic tracks are the strongest.

Dub Creation – a version of Dennis Brown’s monumental Created by the Father – puts forward the haunting organ and a lingering guitar, while Libra Dub makes excellent use of the clavinet. Dakar is a spellbinding version of the melancholic Gates of Zion riddim, where Clement Dodd lifts the simple and hypnotic bass line ot higher heights.

Clement Dodd wasn’t as adventorous as King Tubby or Scientist behind the mixing desk, but he always had an ace up his sleeve – the riddims created at Studio One in the 60s.

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Boiling ska and romatic ballads on The Wailers’ debut album

WailingWailers_COVERIf you have been into reggae for a while you’ll probably know about producer Clement “Coxsone” Dodd and his studio and label Studio One. If you are collecting reggae records you’ll probably also know that Studio One records are highly sought after. You’ll need to have an abyssal wallet to buy the originals, which you often need, because several Studio One records haven’t been properly reissued for many years. Some have never been reissued.

But now things might change since Studio One has started a reissue program together with U.S. based Yep Roc Music Group. The first release is The Wailers’ debut album The Wailing Wailers, a set originally released in 1965. The album comes with the original cover art and track listing and is sourced from the Jamaican master tapes.

The Wailers recorded about 100 songs at Studio One and The Wailing Wailers collects twelve of those. It’s a collection of dance scorchers and pleading love songs heavily influenced by vintage R&B and doo wop backed by some of Jamaica’s greatest musicians ever – The Skatalites.

Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, aka The Wailers, would later – together as well as solo artists – re-record several of the songs featured on this album. Put It On and One Love are stone-cold classics classics, but usually not the versions here. Tracks like those – along with Simmer Down and Rude Boy – show a glimpse of what was to come from one of the most important groups in music history.

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Rare Studio One albums scheduled for reissue

utre_WailingWailersCOVER_1Reissues of albums and singles from legendary Jamaican studio and label Studio One have surfaced over the years on labels such as Soul Jazz and Heartbeat. And now another label joins the reissue game.

Many of the label’s essential albums have been out of print for decades and now Studio One, in conjunction with the Yep Roc Music Group, will re-release titles from its catalog in their original formats, with track listings and album artwork intact, as well as new additions to the catalogue.

“We are excited for the opportunity to re-launch the Studio One brand and thankful for the trust that Carol Dodd and her team has afforded us. Through reissues of classic titles as well as new collections, we want our releases to reflect the history and legacy of Jamaica’s most iconic label. Here’s to the next 60 years!,” says Billy Maupin, GM of Yep Roc Music Group, in a press release.

The release schedule kicks off on May 27 with The Wailers’ debut album The Wailing Wailers. The reissue includes the original 1965 Jamaican masters and cover. The original LP version of the album has been out of print for decades, fetching huge sums from collectors, and the album has never before been released on CD with the original track listing and artwork.

The next release is a reissue of a compilation titled Money Maker, which has also been remastered from the original session tapes. It features a selection of cuts from acts like The Heptones, Burning Spear, The Wailing Souls and John Holt. The album is set for release on August 5.

Future 2016 releases from Studio One include the Studio One Radio Show taken from two 1970’s shows featuring the legendary host Winston “The Whip” Williams and a Don Drummond collection compiled by Clement Dodd himself before his passing in 2004 along with a box set to celebrate the label’s over 60 years of existence.

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Soul Jazz showcases Studio One in the 70s

Layout 1Last year UK reissue label Soul Jazz released the three disc album Coxsone’s Music, a 46 track compilation covering a lesser known side of pioneering Jamaican producer Clement “Coxsone” Dodd. It focused on his early days in the late 50s and early 60s.

Now the same label has turned to a significantly better known part of this music giant’s career – the 70s, a time when Coxsone Dodd started to reinvent his recordings and reversion classics from the 60s.

Coxsone Dodd and his main rival Duke Reid ruled the Jamaican music scene in the days of ska and rocksteady, but when new technology arrived and reggae took the island by storm in the late 60s both producers were challenged by eager and youthful producers like Joe Gibbs, Lee Perry and Bunny Lee. It was a challenging time for Coxsone Dodd and after the success with artists like Bob Marley & The Wailers, The Skatalites, Burning Spear and The Heptones his career was starting to decline.

But challenges and increased competition drive creativeness. And this was the case with Coxsone Dodd. He refused to be beat down and embraced changes. When the new players started to relick, or maybe copy is more accurate, many of the timeless riddims recorded at Studio One in the 60s, Coxsone Dodd answered and reinvented his own riddims in a contemporary style and fashion.

Studio One Showcase brings together a mighty fine selection of tracks from this period – the 70s and early 80s. A great number of Jamaica’s premier singers, harmony groups, instrumentalists and deejays show their skills. We’re talking Horace Andy, Freddie McGregor, Johnny Osbourne, Lone Ranger, Sugar Minott, Jennifer Lara, Cedric Brooks, The Gladiators, The Heptones and Wailing Souls along with a few more.

Several of these recorded at Studio One already in the 60s, but came back when Coxsone Dodd called. Others were rising stars keen to work with the man and the myth himself. Together they reinvigorated the label. They stripped the riddims and reshaped them and explored new musical horizons. This manifested a new era in reggae and marked the dawn of dancehall.

The story is well-put in the thorough liner-notes provided by Soul Jazz head honcho Stuart Baker, who also provides a track-by-track run-down. Excellent stuff.

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Soul Jazz portrays the birth of a sound on Studio One Jump-Up

unnamedThe latest Studio One compilation from UK reissue giant Soul Jazz adds something new to their huge catalogue. It’s the first time they issue a compilation focusing on the bona-fide roots of reggae and the earliest sounds coming from Studio One and Clement “Coxsone” Dodd.

Studio One Jump-Up – The Birth of a Sound: Jump-Up Jamaican R&B, Jazz and Early Ska serves up a total of 20 tunes in many styles; from shuffle and R&B to ska and jazz.

This compilation starts from the beginning in the formative era. In the mid to late 50s Jamaicans were exposed to lots of U.S. R&B and producers like Clement Dodd merged these shuffling sounds with his own musical strains; calypso from Trinidad & Tobago and mento, a form of Jamaican folk music.

On this album you’ll find the roots of Studio One and a early R&B aficionado will probably recognize influences from aces like Louis Jordan and Fats Domino. But included is also cuts that adds something new, that adds something fresh to the rocking sounds. Count Ossie’s Another Moses is such a track, Don Drummond & Roland Alphonso’s Heaven and Earth is another. These two cuts are haunting and conscious and provided the foundation for what was about to come many years later – roots reggae.

This compilation is however mostly about party-starters and frenetic tempos. If you have a bad heart you might want to skip the joyous ska excitement of Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Go Jimmy Go or the volcanic horns on Roland Alphonso’s Bongo Tango.

Studio One Jump-Up portrays a side of reggae that is sometimes overlooked – even though labels like Fantastic Voyage and Sunrise Records have done their fair share of reissues in this genre. “You have to know the past to understand the present” is an expression coined by U.S. astronomer Carl Sagan and it’s something Jamaican musicians might want to focus on now that they aim to reclaim global dominance in reggae.

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SoulJazz nice up the dance with new Studio One compilation

401060SoulJazz – a premier reissue label from the UK – have for the past ten years or so put out about 30 albums focusing on one of Jamaica’s most well-known and influential producers – Clement “Coxsone” Dodd and his various labels.

The latest instalment – Studio One Dancehall – Sir Coxsone in the Dance: The Foundation Sound – is SoulJazz’ first reissue from the mighty vaults of Coxsone Dodd to focus solely on dancehall.

When dancehall started to emerge at the dawn of the 70s Coxsone Dodd noticed that several of the young and upcoming producers had their artists performing over re-played classic Studio One riddims. Naturally he also wanted a piece of the pie and brought forward emerging artists to record over his own riddims. The success was instant with acclaimed albums and singles from Freddie McGregor, Johnny Osbourne, Lone Ranger and Sugar Minott, just to name a few.

And this new compilation focuses on that period, a period when Coxsone had singers and deejays riding classic Studio One riddims originally recorded in the 60s. It explores dancehall from a Studio One perspective, which is something rather different from, say, Junjo Lawes slick and polished productions.

Studio One Dancehall has the usual full, warm and organic sound, and it’s far from polished. It’s rough and raw, but at the same time innovative and creative. Lots of rare cuts, some in their extended version, are included – Green Tea & Chassy’s Getto Girl, Field Marshall Haye’s Roots and Herb Style, DJ Dawn & The Ranking Queens’ Peace Truce Thing and Brentford Disco Set’s Rebel Disco, are a few that at least I haven’t come across before.

This is yet another successful release from the SoulJazz camp and it comes as CD, digital download and triple LP.

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Pure quality on new Studio One compilation

Layout 1The latest Studio One compilation on one of the world’s premier reissue labels – Soul Jazz Records – is all about pure quality and as usual with these compilations an an all-star selection of artists is featured – Ken Boothe, Marcia Griffiths, John Holt, Dennis Brown and more. Sure, a number of these lovely tunes have been reissued plenty of times before, for example The Eternals’ Stars, The Heptones’ Party Time and The Gaylads’ Joy in the Morning.

The title – Studio One Rocksteady – doesn’t tell the whole truth though. It surely includes lots of rocksteady, but also early reggae, like Alton Ellis’ Hurting Me, Jackie Mittoo’s Our Thing and Duke Morgan’s Lick it Back.

The sounds are gorgeous, bouncy and optimistic, but also moody and melancholic as in Cecile Campbell’s Whisper to Me and Ken Boothe’s When I Fall in Love.

Studio One may not have been a rival to Duke Reid’s Tresure Isle when it comes to putting out beautiful rocksteady, but Coxsone Dodd had two aces up his sleeve – master organist Jackie Mittoo and bass virtuoso Leroy Sibbles. Together this trio created countless of classics, and several of these are collected on this essential album, an album with excellent sleevenotes by Lloyd Bradley, author of the classic book Bass Culture – When Reggae Was King.

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Pure quality on new Studio One compilation

95d501d1210767b4cbd33cde61b2c34e.image.250x235Japanese label Rock A Shacka/Drum & Bass Records is a reliable source for quality reissues, and their latest compilation is no exception.

Sugar & Spice – 14 Studio 1 Rock Steady Sure Shots collects several hard to find sweet rock steady gems from groups such as The Kingstonians, The Viceroys, The Invaders, The Termites, The Wrigglers and The Octaves as well as artists like organ maestro Jackie Mittoo and melodica player Joe White.

These soulful cuts were recorded in the late 60s and includes the original versions of Freddie McGregor’s Bandulo and Need More Love in the Ghetto.

It’s a mix of instrumentals and vocal versions and it’s definitely not a hit and miss affair. All 14 tracks are killers. No fillers accepted.

British revive label Soul Jazz has reigned the Studio One reissue business for years, even though there have been a number of quality releases from Japan, mostly on 7”. So this high quality album is a very welcome addition.

Sugar & Spice is only released on vinyl and comes complete with interesting sleeve notes – track by track – by Chris Lane.

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