Absolutely Rock Steady
The Uniques
Pressure Sounds
September 28, 2010

The Track list
  1. Give Me A Love
  2. You Lied To Me
  3. Let's Get Together
  4. Stand Up And Fight
  5. People Rock Steady
  6. Facts Of Life
  7. This Feeling
  8. Trying Hard To Find A Home
  9. Blinded By Love
  10. You Don't Care (You'll Want Me Back)
  11. I'm Lost
  12. Love & Devotion
  13. Let Me Go Girl
  14. Dawn Penn - I'll Let You Go (Let Me Go Boy)
  15. Where Do I Turn
  16. Have Pity On Me
  17. Build My World
  18. The Beatitude (Version Two)
Rate this album!
Cast your vote below.

Essential -Votes: 3-
Very Good -Votes: 3-
Good -Votes: 1-
Average -Votes: 1-
Disappointing -Votes: 0-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 0-

Total votes : 8
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4
In 1998 Pressure Sounds released the now deleted Uniques compilation "Watch This Sound", which 12 years later gets a worthy follow-up with the release of the 18 track cd "Absolutely Rock Steady". The good thing is that none of the tracks that were featured on that first compilation appear on this one, so there's no overlap at all. However Jamaican music lovers, and in particular Rocksteady aficionados, who throughout the years have collected Rocksteady compilations along with albums such as the 1994 Trojan release "Best Of The Uniques 1967-1969", will probably have all the tunes gathered on "Absolutely Rock Steady", because these were all available on previous releases -- except for "The Beatitude (Version Two)".

The Uniques, one of the most popular and enduring vocal harmony groups of the Rocksteady era, had various line-ups. After he had left The Techniques in 1966, Keith "Slim" Smith formed his own vocal group called The Uniques, with Derrick Morgan and Ken Boothe being the other members. Both sung harmonies on the Uniques' first tune for then up and coming producer Bunny "Striker" Lee, "People Rock Steady". However this first line-up didn't last very long and former Techniques member Franklyn White and Roy Shirley joined Slim Smith to form a new version of The Uniques. Despite a promising start the group soon disbanded. Then Slim Smith formed a next generation Uniques, enlisting the talents of Lloyd Tyrell aka Lloyd Charmers and Jimmy Riley. Towards the end of 1968 the group broke up and all three vocalists continued to make significant contributions to Jamaican popular music. On the night of October 9th 1972 the incomparable singer Slim Smith, who had a great impact on Jamaican music, tragically died. The group name was briefly revived by Jimmy Riley and Cornell Campbell in 1977 for the album "Give Thanks", and again in 1997 with Al Campbell joining Cornell Campbell and Jimmy Riley on the album "The Uniques".

Listening to all those great tunes, hits as well as less well known pieces, that were recorded by The Uniques, it's crystal clear that this vocal trio fully benefitted from Slim Smith's passionate, soulful voice, which had an almost manic edge. So it's not really astonishing that many of The Uniques' best known Rocksteady recordings were reissued as Slim Smith records after his untimely passing. "Absolutely Rock Steady" is a great and very enjoyable compilation of beautiful soulful Rocksteady featuring some of The Uniques' most popular hits such as "Give Me A Love", "People Rock Steady", "Love & Affection", "Build My World" and "Let Me Go Girl", the latter with BB Seaton and Lloyd Charmers doing harmonies. Dawn Penn's nice answer version to that song, "Let Me Go Boy", is included here as well. Also the tunes included here that didn't reach hit status or weren't known to a wide audience, are worthwhile hearing.

Anyone who knows and loves the work of Slim Smith and The Uniques will agree that "Absolutely Rock Steady" is a truly outstanding collection of records from the vaults of producer Bunny "Striker" Lee. Satisfaction guaranteed, so make sure you purchase this album!