Cherry Oh Baby ~20 Reggae Classics
Eric Donaldson
Smith & Co. Sound & Vision
November 28 - 2003

Track list
  1. Cherry Oh Baby - 12" Mix
  2. The Way You Do The Things You Do
  3. Norma Jean
  4. Land Of My Birth
  5. Sweet Jamaica
  6. Thinking Of Him
  7. What You're Doing To Me
  8. I Think I Love You
  9. Follow Me
  10. Look What You Have Done
  11. More Love
  12. The Price
  13. Keep On Riding
  14. Night Soul
  15. Come Away
  16. Right On Time
  17. Let Go Yourself (Greetings)
  18. More Money (Spender)
  19. Mystery Babylon
  20. Spanish Town Road
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 5
The Dutch Reggae Goldmine ( a division of Smith & Co Sound & Vision) is a label which will be dedicated to releasing classic reggae material from as many sources as possible both in the form of single artist and multi-artist compilation CD's and 12 inch vinyl singles.
This Eric Donaldson compilation album, entitled Cherry Oh Baby contains 20 songs, all of them selected by reggae fanatic Michael "Mikey B" Bakker.
One of the most distinctive falsetto voices in Jamaican music is the one of Eric Donaldson. He will be forever associated with the Jamaican Festival Song competition and with his biggest hit to date, Cherry Oh Baby, which happened to be the winning entry to the Festival Song competition in 1971. The song is featured here in an excellent 12 inch mix.
Eric Donaldson was born on June 11, 1947 in Jamaica. He attended school in Spanish Town, the former capital of Jamaica, before he took up a job as a interior decorator whilst singing in his spare time. Many other Jamaican artists started their career this way. In 1964 he went to the legendary Studio One at 13 Brentford Road in Kingston to voice his first tracks for producer Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd. Unfortunately, Coxsone never released these recordings, but this did not discourage Donaldson to continue his music career, because some time later he formed the vocal group the West Indians together with Leslie Burke and Hector Brooks. The West Indians recorded a number of songs for producer 'Sir' J.J. Johnson of which Right On Time became a hit in 1968. The group went on to record the track Oh Lord for the legendary producer Lee 'Scratch' Perry, who just set up his Upsetter label, but this collaboration remained unsuccessful. A name-change to the Kilowatts and another string of recordings for J.J. Johnson and the Matador label of producer Lloyd Daley never meant the big break-through the group was hoping for. The Kilowatts split up, but Donaldson still was determined to continue his way in the Jamaican music business.
In 1970, Donaldson voiced some tracks for the GG label of producer Alvin Ranglin, but again he did not manage to score a hit. Then in 1971, the success arrived at last. As a final attempt, he entered the Festival Song Competition with the song Cherry Oh Baby and won the competition. The track will forever be associated with Donaldson's name. By the day of the festival he engaged the sly Tommy Cowan as manager. Cowan himself won the Festival in 1967 as a member of the Jamaicans with the Arthur 'Duke' Reid produced Ba Ba Boom. Cherry Oh Baby was produced by Edward 'Bunny' Lee, one of the new and successful producers who entered the Jamaican music business in the late 60s, early 70s. The track eventually sold more than 50,000 copies on Dynamic Records, which was a phenomenal amount at that time. Cherry Oh Baby was covered by the Rolling Stones and also by UB40 on their hit album Labour Of Love. In the early nineties the riddim of Cherry Oh Baby was brought to life again by Jamaican producers such as Bobby 'Digital' Dixon (Digital B) and Donovan Germain (Penthouse) and proved to be still very successful with versions by Jamaican dancehall artists like Mad Cobra, Pinchers, Buju Banton, Garnett Silk and Tony Rebel.
Along the way Donaldson experienced personally that life as an artist is not a bed of roses and that the music business can be very unsteady. After the success of Cherry Oh Baby, Donaldson has been successful by fits and starts. He released a handful of albums and recorded a string of songs which never brought him any cross-over success like his Jamaican colleagues such as Ken Boothe and John Holt. However, Donaldson still loves the Festival, because besides winning in 1971 with Cherry Oh Baby, he won the competition in 1977, 1978, 1984 and 1993. The last thing known about Donaldson is that he runs the Cherry Oh Baby Go-Go Bar in his hometown Kent Village on the Jamaican country side.
This album brings you a nice collection of known and lesser known tunes. The period covered stretches from the 70s to the eighties. Not every track here is a winner, but there are enough good tunes, like Land Of My Birth, Thinking Of Him, Look What You Have Done, the latter coming to you inna extended mix, and Keep On Riding.