January 15 - 2005
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4||Production : 4||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
The roots of The Itals go way back to the 1960s when the founder members Keith Porter, Ronnie Davis and Lloyd Ricketts sang in the rocksteady groups The Tennors and the more obscure Westmorelites. Keith Porter, who has been the heart and soul of The Itals for almost thirty years, recorded his first hit single, "Hitey Titey", with the Westmorelites on the Studio One label in 1967. Around 1969, Keith became lead singer for a band named Soul Hermit, and in 1971 he joined a new band called Future Generation. With these two bands he performed at many hotels and nightclubs on the tourist circuit of Jamaica for some six years, singing all styles of music, American and Jamaican. Tiring of the club scene around 1975, Keith ran into Ronnie Davis on Orange Street in Kingston, got a cassette with a riddim, wrote a tune called "Ina Dis Ya Time" in less than a week, and went back to Kingston to record it - together with Ronnie Davis - for Lloyd Campbell's SpiderMan label. At that moment there was no intention of forming a group called The Itals; the record first came out as Keith Porter. When "Ina Dis Ya Time" was on its way to becoming a hit in Jamaica, some promotion was needed and because there was more than one person singing, all of a sudden The Itals was a group. Producer Lloyd Campbell then quickly repressed the record as "The Itals" to meet demand. The success of "Ina Dis Ya Time" saw the group return to the studio with the addition of Lloyd Ricketts singing the third harmony part on a series of superb recordings for the SpiderMan label, which established the Itals among the best of Jamaica's singers and songwriters. 1982 saw the release of the first Itals' album, "Brutal Out Deh" on Nighthawk Records. The group's second album, "Give Me Power," was released to critical acclaim, while their third recording, "Rasta Philosophy", won a Grammy nomination for best reggae album, followed by "Cool And Dread". Their fifth album, "Early Recordings", gathers together all the Itals' early singles and several rare pre-Itals tracks for a collector's feast. Next came the disappointing Rhythm Safari album "Easy to Catch", followed by the "Modern Age" on Ras Records.