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KINGSTON SOUNDS

Linval Thompson is one of the great roots vocalists that ruled the dancehalls of Jamaica in the mid 1970’s. His distinctive vocal style and roots lyrics that spoke of the struggles that faced Rastas, hit a chord with the people of Jamaica and provided a string of hits for him in the dancehalls. Thompson was actually raised in Queens, and recorded his first single there, aged 16 ("No Other Woman"). After cutting a few early singles he was noticed by Phil Pratt, who promptly took the emerging singer to Perry's Black Ark studio where he cut "King Fu Man". Thompson’s friendship with fellow singer Johnny Clarke led to a meeting with producer Bunny Lee. His first track cut for Lee was "Don’t cut off your Dreadlocks" (featured here) and it became a big hit in Jamaica. Bunny Lee was the producer of the moment and Linval added a variety of songs to his catalogue (also featured here): "Big Big Girl", "Cool Down Your Temper", "Ride On Dreadlocks" and the title of this compilation "Jah Jah is the Conqueror". Whilst working in and around reggae music for many years after these recordings, including collaborations with Freddie McGregor, Johnny Osbourne, Barry Brown and many more; it is the mid 1970's chapter that Kingston Sounds have decided to focus on for this set - soulful, honest, roots reggae music. Top stuff.

The shuffle rhythm that was born from the American rhythm and blues tunes that hit Jamaica in the 1950s would soon fuse under its Jamaican influence and find an emphasis on the second and fourth bars of the beat. This off-beat would create the ska sound and no fine exponent of this in the sounds early days was Theo Beckford. Theophilus 'Easy Snapping' Beckford (born 1935, Kingston, Jamaica) began his musical career in the mid 50s and had after only two years mastered his instrument of choice the piano. His first hit for Coxonne Dodd's Worldisc label was the classic "Easy Snapping". He had created his own laid back style that simply rolled off his piano and his musical arrangements became the backbone of so many early Ska tunes. His services were soon in demand with not only Coxonne Dodd but all the other top flight producers of the time, Duke Reed, Beverley's, Prince Buster and Clancy Eccles. His session work alongside his playing as part of the big group of the time Clue J and His Blues Blasters, that would eventually morph into the legendary Skatalites, meant that his fingers were truly on the musical pulse of the time. Kingston Sounds have compiled some great early ska cuts for this release that have been touched with the T. Beckford magic. Some of his own classic hits "Flip,Flop And Fly" (aka "Walking Down King Street"), "Mr Downpressor" the fantastic "Don't Have A Ticket Don't Worry". His poignant duo of "Grudgeful People" and "Ungrateful People" and two other timeless tracks "What A Woe" and "Boilerman". Alongside some of his productions for some of the other long – forgotten hero's of the early ska sound: Basil Gabiddon's "Streets of Glory", Frank Cosmo's "On Your Knees", Shenley And Annette's "Now You're Gone" and Daniel Johnson's uplifting "Come On My People".


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