Rock A Shacka / Drum&Bass Records
7" single
April 30, 2011

Artist & tune

  • The Skatalites - Freedom Sounds / Norma Fraser - Everybody
Overall rating : (1 to 5 stars)   
As part of Rock A Shacka's "45 Studio One reissues" here's another 7" single that's going to make the hearts of vintage music fans skip a beat. The never before on 7" vinyl released Skatalites tune "Freedom Sound" (not to be confused with the Vincent Chin produced "Freedom Ska") is paired with Norma Fraser's "Everybody" aka "Everybody Loves A Lover".

No group of musicians were more central to the Ska age than The Skatalites. The latter, officially formed in June 1964, were responsible for hundreds of 45s released under the band name or that of individual members. The drums of Lloyd Knibbs and the bass of Lloyd Brevett were the high-powered engine of the band. Guitarists Ernest Ranglin, Jah Jerry and Harold McKenzie, together with pianist Jackie Mittoo, built on this foundation, supporting the driving force of saxophonists Roland Alphonso, Tommy McCook and Lester Sterling, along with trumpeter Johnny Moore and trombonist Don Drummond.

The two producers who released to greatest number of 45s were, not surprisingly, Duke Reid and Coxsone Dodd. It's possible that the latter had personal reasons for doing so, but despite the legendary status of the superb "Freedom Sound" among Ska connoisseurs, it has never once seen release on 45. The powerful, stomping "Freedom Sound" lacks the trombone melody of Don Drummond, which suggests that this tune might have been recorded during one of his stints at Bellevue mental asylum, but fully displays the exceptional saxophone play of Tommy McCook. Although recorded some 45 years ago, "Freedom Sound" still sounds good today.

Like so many other Jamaican artists, it all started at Studio One for Norma Fraser, who is probably best known for her hit version of "The First Cut Is The Deepest". She signed for Coxsone Dodd in the early 1960s, and worked with artists and musicians such as Bob & Rita Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Slim Smith, Delroy Wilson, Joe Higgs, Ken Boothe, and the Skatalites. The latter were involved in the recording of Norma Fraser's lovely up tempo Ska tune called "Everybody", which originally appeared on the flipside of her 1965 single "Heartaches", released on the UK Ska Beat label.