Bongo Red
The Gladiators

Track list
  1. Roots Natty (previously unreleased version)
  2. Watch Out
  3. Bongo Red (previously unreleased extended mix)
  4. A Prayer To Thee
  5. Happy Man
  6. Mr. Sweet
  7. Fling It Gimme
  8. Don't Fool The Young Girls
  9. Pretending
  10. So Fine (previously unreleased)
  11. I Said I Love You (previously unreleased)
  12. Sevens Time To Rise (previously unreleased)
  13. Millionaire Of Love (previously unreleased)
  14. The Kicks
  15. Tribulation
  16. Time
  17. Ungrateful Girl
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3/4
The Gladiators started their career as a band comprising Albert Griffiths, David Webber and Errol Grandison. They topped the Jamaican charts in late 1968 with 'Oh Carol' for producer Coxsone Dodd. Webber and Grandison were replaced by Clinton Fearon and Gallimore Sutherland. Over the following years they recorded a bunch of popular tracks for Coxsone Dodd, sampled on the 1979 set 'Presenting The Gladiators'. The signed up with Virgin Records, and the result was the release of 4 solid albums. In the 80s they split up, both Clinton Fearon and Albert Griffiths concentrating on a solo career.
Heartbeat has collected a some well known Studio One songs and adds them to rare (unreleased) tracks. As bonus tracks they have included two excellent Lee Perry produced sides : Time and Ungrateful Girl. Some of their popular Studio One sides like Bongo Red (here in a remixed extended version), Roots Natty (an alternative mix), and A Prayer To Thee were massive hits both in Jamaica and the UK. The rest of the tracks on this compilation set range from fillers like Don't Fool The Young Girls and So Fine to killers : Watch Out, a superb track warning for 'backbiters and betrayers', Happy Man, a song praising the almighty Jah, and Tribulation. The album would have been faultless if top-notch tunes such as 'Mr. Baldwin, Jah Jah Go Before Us, Hello Carol and On The Other Side' had been included.
The Gladiators (in fact Albert Griffiths) were able to write songs that didn't depend on the strength of the classic Studio One riddims. Whatever the lyric or rhythm, the Gladiators' delivery is solid and expressive, and that's the strength of this album. Check it out !