Cherry Oh Baby ~ The Best Of Eric Donaldson
Eric Donaldson
Trojan Records
October 25, 2006

Track list
  1. Cherry Oh Baby (1971 Version)
  2. Ripe Cherry feat. Dennis Alcapone
  3. Love Of The Common People
  4. Just Can't (Happen This Way)
  5. I'm Indebted To You
  6. Miserable Woman
  7. Blue Boot
  8. Festival Wise feat. U Roy
  9. Little Did You Know
  10. Sylvia's Mother
  11. What A Festival
  12. Version Festival feat. I Roy
  13. The Way You Do The Things You Do
  14. Watch What You're Doing To Me
  15. You Must Believe Me
  16. A Weh We A Go Do
  17. Keep On Riding
  18. Ain't Too Proud To Beg
  19. The Price
  20. More Love
  21. Sweet Jamaica
  22. Land Of My Birth
  23. Freedom Street
  24. Stand Up
  25. Cherry Oh Baby (1979 Extended Version)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 5
Eric Donaldson was born on June 11, 1947 in Bog Walk/Kent Village, 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. In 1964 he went to the legendary Studio One at 13 Brentford Road in Kingston to voice his first tracks for producer 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 1969 Donaldson decided to pursue a solo career following the release of "Come A Little Closer", a minor hit credited to the Prunes that was produced by Derrick Harriott. Then Donaldson began working with Dynamic Sounds and producer Alvin Ranglin, for whom he recorded the superb ballad "Lonely Nights". However Eric Donaldson decided he needed more exposure and entered the Jamaican Song Festival competition in 1971 with "Cherry Oh Baby". The rest is, as they say, history.

Thirty-five years after his big Festival hit Trojan Records have released a very enjoyable 'best of' collection of Donaldson's work. This compilation kicks off (and rounds off) in real fine style with the timeless reggae classic "Cherry Oh Baby", which after all these years is still a joy to listen to due to its stuttering riddim and Eric Donaldson's clear throated vocal. From there the listener is treated to a notable amount of tunes worth of hearing including gems such as Donaldson's version of "Love Of The Common People aka Free Food Ticket", the popular "Blue Boot", his cover of the Temptations' "The Way You Do The Things You Do" and Curtis Mayfield's "You Must Believe Me", "The Price", "More Love", next Festival hit "Sweet Jamaica", the assertive "Land Of My Birth", and "Freedom Street" and "Stand Up" -- two prime Black Ark period Lee Perry productions. Also of interest is the inclusion of the deejay versions with Dennis Alcapone ("Ripe Cherry"), U Roy ("Festival Wise") and the late I Roy ("Version Festival").

This latest collection of Eric Donaldson's classic works is truly worthwhile checking out!