Studio One Story
December 27, 2002

Label Soul Jazz Records
Format DVD - Region Two
Languages Patois / English
Subtitles English & French
Length Approx. 240 minutes
Producer/Director Stuart Baker
One and a half years in the making has resulted in the Studio One Story, which happens to be almost the definitive guide to Jamaica's greatest ever record label and its founder Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd. Studio One is the foundation label of Jamaican Reggae. Often described as the Motown of Jamaica, Studio One is where the career of literally hundreds of Reggae artists began Bob Marley and The Wailers, Alton Ellis, The Heptones, Ken Boothe, The Skatalites, Burning Spear and Sugar Minott, to name but a few!

The package includes a 16 track CD or double LP (limited edition) featuring Studio One's greatest releases. Furthermore there's a 90 page booklet featuring rare photos and detailing a lot of the artists who recorded for the label. The core of the package is the DVD which is an amazing four hour documentary that tells the Studio One story filmed in Kingston and London and featuring interviews with Horace Andy, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Sugar Minott, Dennis Alcapone, The Ethiopian aka Leonard Dillon, Sylvan Morris, Johnny 'Dizzy' Moore, Ernest Wilson, Eric 'Rickenbacker' Frater, Earl 'Bagga' Walker, Lone Ranger and the awesome King Stitt. The DVD also includes rare footage of The Skatalites, Jackie Mittoo, Count Ossie, Marcia Griffiths, Ernest Ranglin and others.

The DVD makes clear that Studio used to be a genuine hit factory, where artists gathered to voice over compelling riddims which were recorded by the cream of the crop of Jamaica's musicians. Until the late seventies Coxsone recorded his artists using rather primitive equipment, but the result of his work changed and formed the shape of reggae music. The DVD makes you realise that the Jamaican music scene from the fifties up to the seventies -with sound systems, clashes, exclusive records and rivalry- provide a blueprint for all that is happening nowadays in the hip hop, dance, trance and house scene.

Coxsone Dodd tells most of the story, but the stories of Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Leonard Dillon and Dennis Alcapone provide a fascinating view of the the customary routine at Studio One and the development of the music we love so much, while engineer Sylvan Morris tells about the recording techniques they used during the late sixties and early seventies. There are delicious scenes in which Coxsone and friends return to the Kingston dancehalls (Success Club, P.O.R.A. and Forrester Halls) where they used to hold the dances in the early sixties. You can also have a look at Sugar Minott's 'Youth Promotion' centre, where he 'big ups' Studio One and Coxsone Dodd.

The DVD comes with French and English subtitles, but it's strange why they haven't subtitled the one hour of extra's, because it's really hard to understand most of the Patois/English of the people talking.

Here's a selective listing of the music featured on the DVD :
Sound Dimension-Real Rock, Dawn Penn-No No No, Don Drummond-Man In The Street, Lennie Hibbert-Village Soul, Marcia Griffiths-Feel Like Jumping, Ernest Ranglin-Surfin, Johnny osbourne-Truths And Rights, Jackie Mittoo-Wall Street, The Heptones-Baby, Cedric Brooks-Mundungo and Dun Drummond-Heavenless.

The 16 track CD is a kind of 'Best Of The Best' Studio One compilation, although we really miss a Freddie McGregor tune. Tracklisting of the CD :
  1. Theo Beckford: Easy Snapping
  2. Skatalites: Guns Of Navarone
  3. Delroy Wilson: Dancing Mood
  4. Michigan & Smiley: Nice Up The Dance
  5. Heptones: Baby
  6. Abyssininas: Declarations Of Rights
  7. Alton Ellis: I'm Still In Love With You
  8. Tommy McCook: Tunnel One
  9. Sugar Minott: Jah Jah Children
  10. Skatalites: Man In The Street
  11. Dub Specialist: Banana Walk
  12. Dennis Alcapone: Run Run
  13. Larry Marshall: Nanny Goat
  14. Brentford Road Allstars: Throw Me Corn
  15. Lone Ranger: Love Bump
  16. Jackie Mittoo: Freak Out
Studio One Story provides an extensive insight into the life of Coxsone Dodd, his label an his artists. Although Studio One fanatics will not be provided of information they didn't know about, the package is a staggering piece of musical history which will keep you fascinated for hours.