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KINGSTON SOUNDS

Various Artists

Skinhead Hits The Town 1968-1969

    The Skinhead sound grew from the music that was coming out of Jamaica around 1968 to 1971 and was adopted by the British Youth.
    The music seemed tailor made for their sharp look and natty dress style, a style that was heavily influenced by the Jamaican Rude Boy look.
    The Skinhead movement started around 1968 and by the following year it became the style fashion of English teenagers.
    The uniform consisted of boots, braces and jeans and the upbeat sound of Reggae seemed to match the style perfectly.
    The tempo of the music seemed to be picking up around 1966 to 1968 the Rocksteady period, which was when the earlier Ska sound slowed down.
    The Sound System dances needed a slower bear to swing the night away to, some say to cater for the extreme heatwave that hit Jamaica around that time.
    We have selected a bunch of tunes that would have provided a sound track to those heady times, so sit back and enjoy some of the tunes the youths were listening to when the Skinheads hit town….



    The Rude Boy moniker has its roots firmly set in the downtown districts of Kingston, Jamaica. Alongside the regular Ska/Rocksteady sounds coming out of the sound systems, there was an undercurrent theme to some songs that spoke of the struggles of the youth, of their confrontation, arrests and run ins with the establishment. Some of these songs praised the Rude Boys for their stance and style while other songs were more in contempt with the Rude Boy’s attitudes, comings ,goings and violent behaviour. For this release we have put together a set of tunes that the Jamaican Rude Boys would have been listening to at the sound systems on the lawns and street corners. Not only the more obvious Rude Boy tunes like ‘Gunmen Coming to Town’ , ‘Dreader than Dread’, ‘Moon Hop’ but also some of the tunes that made the sound systems rock well into the night.


    Horace Andy has always commanded a place high on the list of Reggae singers from Jamaica. His distinctive haunting vocal style stands strong on any rhythm, song or style he chooses to cover.Of the singers on that long list he has managed more so than any other to crossover to a new generation of listeners due to his individual style helped also by his collaborations with the likes of Massive Attack, Horace began his musical career at Coxonne Dodds Studio One,After numerous singles and with two albums worth of material Horace moved on to work with many of the top flight Jamaican producers, among them Keith Hudson, Augustus Pablo and Niney the Observer. But it was his work with producer Bunny Striker Lee in the 70’s that he cut most of his hits for and its from this stable of work we have compiled this set.
    So sit back and enjoy the one and only Horace Andy….


    The Ethiopians are one of the great vocal groups to come out of Jamaica. Singing songs of life and times as they found them, themes that resonated with the people of the Island that made them such a treasured group. Lenard Dillon, the founding member of the Ethiopians, began his singing career at Clement ‘Coxonne’ Dodd’s Studio One. Initially he recorded under the name of Jack Sparrow, and backed by the Wailers, cutting ‘Ice Water’ and ‘Suffering In The Land’. Under The Wailers encouragement, he went on to form his own vocal group. Recruiting singers Stephan Taylor and Aston 'Charlie’ Morris to become The Ethiopians. They cut ‘Live Good’, ‘Why You Gonna Leave Me Now’ and ‘Owe Me No Pay Me’. Although receiving favourable response, Aston Morris decided to leave the band and the remaining pair carried on and cut ‘I’m A Free Man’ and ‘Don Dead Already’ and ‘For You’. On meeting contract builder Leebert Robertson who had recently returned to live in Jamaica, he said he wanted to get into the music business, a session was booked for Treasure Isle Studios. The session produced their seminal ‘Train To Skaville’ track, which became an immediate hit in Jamaica and in the UK, when in 1967 it reached number 40 in the charts. They also cut ‘Engine 54’, which became the title of their debut album.

    Its follow up ‘I Need You / Do It Sweet’, did not fare so well and the band moved over to Sonia Pottinger’s stable, where they cut ‘The Whip / Cool It Amigo’ which revived their fortunes and proved another big hit for the band. Two more hits followed ‘Stay Loose Mama’ and ‘The World Goes Ska’, after which the band decided to return to a trio, adding Melvin ‘Mellow’ Reid to the line up. The band now hit another run of successes with producer JJ Johnson ‘Everything Crash, ’Gun Man’, ‘Hong Kong Flu’ and ‘The Selah’. Many hits followed leading the band to work with a variety of Jamaican producers. Such tracks as ‘I Want To Be a Better Man, ‘ Conquering Lion’, ’Fire A Mus Mus’ Tail’, and the timeless ‘Reggae Hit The Town’ to name a few. Two albums ‘Reggae Power’ (1969) and ’Woman Capture Man’ (1970), pulled a lot of these tunes together. Sadly Taylor was killed in 1975 after been struck by a van in a road accident. Dillon returned to Port Antonio till 1977, when he was persuaded to return to Treasure Isle studios with producer Niney The Observer and cut the Rasta based album ‘Slave Call’. Additional members who joined for this album were Bro Fatty, Bro Ewing, Bro T, Mello and Hychi Dread. An album that showed all the Ethiopians magic had not been lost.

    For this release Kingston Sounds have included the full ‘Slave Call’ set, alongside some of the band's early hits including the original version of ‘Train To Skaville’, ‘Engine 54’, the great and poignant ‘Everything Crash’, ‘Reggae Hit The Town’ and ‘The Selah’. An interesting set to remind us what a great group the Ethiopians really were.

    Maximum iration on this latest compilation from Kingston Sounds, which shines a spotlight on the Rockers Sound (aka Steppas),whic was created during  mid 70’s sessions by The Revolutionaires band at Channel 1.  
    Drummer Sly Dunbar came up with a new ‘Militant’ style double drumming on the snare drum that seemed to add some credence to the political /Rasta based lyrics that were so prominent around this time. For this compilation, Kingston Sounds have pulled together some of the best cuts from this period when producer Bunny Lee was on the top of his game and the sound in town to get on board with was ‘Rockers’... So sit back and enjoy another period in Reggae’s history that still sounds as good as when it was created way back when... EVERYTHING ROCKERS....

    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.

    Vocalists don't come more legendary than Jackie Edwards, and the smooth operator has lent his sweet tones to hundreds of ska, R&B, soul and rocksteady records. He was there at the birth of Island Records and his distinctive soulful voice has rightly given him the moniker of the Original Cool Ruler. A renowned singer from the earliest days of Jamaican recording Jackie Edwards presented future Island Records owner Chris Blackwell with two outstanding tunes in 1959. The first a sentimental ballad “Your eyes are Dreaming” and a Latin beat tune “Tell me Darling”.  His song writing skills were much in so demand and his popularity of such importance that when Chris Blackwell went to London in1962 to set up his record company he took his top Balladeer Jackie with him. This would pay dividends when a UK group Blackwell had signed called The Spencer Davis Group went on to release two of Jackie’s compositions “Keep on Running” and “Somebody Help Me”, which topped the British charts in 1966. Here Kingston Sounds have compiled some of Jackie Edwards finest songs, each covering a different reggae style but all sung to perfection.. Hope you enjoy the set....

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Killer collection of tunes from the 'original cool ruler' here! Plucked from throughout Jackie's long career the set covers R&B, rocksteady, soul and ska, but it's the righteous roots grooves of "Wad-Ada" and "So Jah Say" that are turning me out!

    The Sound of Now...mentioned in ’The Return of Jack Slade’ by Derrick Morgan was the sound of 1969/1970 and that sound was the sound of Jamaican Reggae.The look at the time was the Skinhead fashion borrowed heavily from the Jamaican Rude Boy style. The Skinhead movement started around 1968 and by the following year of 1969 became the style and fashion of many British teenagers.The uniform of the Skinheads consisted of boots,braces and jeans and the upbeat Reggae sound seemed to match the style perfectly. Never before has a music matched a look more perfectly than that of the Skinhead/Rude Boy and Jamaican Reggae sound. So stand up and move your feet one more time to the Skinhead Reggae Sound!!!


    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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