Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

An Anthology 1994 - 1996
Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
Music Club
CD
29-12-1998

Track list
  1. Last Night Ska
  2. Watermelon Man Ska
  3. VC10 Calypso
  4. Soul Serenade
  5. Elizabethan Reggae
  6. Psychedelic Train
  7. Theme From Shaft
  8. Reggae Makossa
  9. Green Island (Everything Crash)
  10. Pressure And Slide
  11. Tiny Winey
  12. Mas In Brooklyn
  13. Do Dem Back
  14. Congo Line
  15. Bacchanal Time
  16. Dance Hall Soca
  17. Bacchanal In The City
  18. Soca Macarena
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 5
Byron Lee was born in 1935 of Chinese-Jamaican stock and learned guitar and bass. In 1956 he founded his band The Dragonaires as a 14 piece outfit. They played the finest nightspots on the island, and hotels on the prosperous North Coast, working an audience of American and British tourists and certain members of the of the Jamaican establishment. Calypso, mento, American soul, and ska were the kind of music they played. He was among the first Jamaican acts to record for a major label, cutting the 'Jump Up' set of calypsos for Atlantic in 1966. Three years later Byron Lee bought the WIRL complex of recording studio, label and pressing plant in 1969, changing the studios' name to Dynamic Sounds. He employed Lynford Anderson, the famous Jamaican engineer, to work on board, and let the studio out to other producers too, including Lee Perry and Leslie Kong. Since then Byron Lee kept successful on the reggae, calypso and the soca market.
The album offers a very nice impression of the man's career. The first two tracks are ska versions of well known American tunes : the Mar-keys Last Night and Herbie Hancock's Watermelon man. From 1967 album comes the calypso tune VC10 Calypso. He scored in the UK with Elizabethan Reggae and covered a early dub outing from Derrick Harroitt, Psychedelic Train. In 1973 the Dragonaires' version of Soul Makossa -here retitled Reggae Makossa- filled the dancefloors on the island. Other noteworthy tunes he recorded in the 70's are also included on this album, the well known Theme From Shaft, the soulful classic from King Curtis, Soul Serenade and Pressure And Slide, the latter being a version of The Tennors' massive hit.
In the 80s he concentrated on soca, the disco-fied version of calypso. He scored big in 1985 with one of soca's all-time killers Tiny Winey. Further soca hits include Bacchanal Time, Bacchanal In The City, and Soca Macarena. Byron Lee added ragga toaster Admiral Bailey to the soca mix of Dance Hall Soca, a brilliant move which proved that he still had the ability to mix musical styles with the best of them.