The Skatalites
Marston Recording Corporation

Track list
  1. Ska Latte
  2. Sky Rocket
  3. Skaravan
  4. Tanya
  5. Roland Ride Along
  6. Reach For The Sky
  7. Milk Lane Shuffle
  8. Wild Honey
  9. A Song For Don D.
  10. What A Day
  11. I Never Knew
  12. Magic Muffin
  13. Hail Tommy McCook
  14. Oh Baby
  15. Rastamma
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : -/4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4/5
Formed in 1963, the Skatalites were the créme de la créme of Jamaica's musical talent at the time. The personnel fluctuated from time to time, but the most important instrumentalists were : Don Drummond, Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Johnny "Dizzy" Moore, Lester Sterling, Jackie Mittoo, Jah Jerry, Lloyd Brevett and Lloyd Knibbs.The band lasted for two years, a combination of several problems caused them to break up in late 1965.Clement Dodd persuaded Jackie Mittoo and Roland Alphonso to leave the band and form the Soul Brothers as the Studio One house band. Tommy McCook worked mainly for Duke Reid at the Treasure Isle studios, while Don Drummond took his life on May 6, 1969 in the Bellevue Hospital, Kingston. Their music was a powerful synthesis of American R&B, combined with swinging, jazzy "take off" solos, forming in the process something uniquely Jamaican - the first music to come out of the post-war colonial indepence movement of the West Indies. The Skatalites backed every singer of note in the island's studios and cut hundreds of instrumentals under various names, thus laying the foundation for today's Jamaican music.
'Bashaka' is the latest release from The Skatalites and is a celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Skatalites formation. The members of the band now include the original riddim twins Lloyd Knibb (drums) and Lloyd Brevett (bass), Lester Sterling on flute and saxophone, Cedric (Im) Brooks on saxophone, Devon James (guitar), Ken Stewart on piano, Mark Berney (trumpet) and Will Clarke (trombone). Although the Skatalites are primarity an instrumental group, the album contains two fine vocal tracks by Doreen Shaffer - Reach For The Sky and Oh Baby -, who sang with the band from beginning, and one by guest artist Ken Boothe, I Never Knew. The music found here is smooth, swinging and vibrant. Producer Stamma Haughton has a first hand feel for the music of the original Skatalites and the combination of solid tunes, musical craftmanship, digital recording at a big studio makes this an album every ska fan should check out.