Reunion "It's Only A History Lesson"
Soul Vendors
Soul Vendors-Black Rose Records
February 28, 2006

Track list
  1. Come On Over - A2O
  2. Memories - A2O & Nathalia
  3. Gun Man - Dudley Sibley & Special Guest
  4. You Can't Be Happy - Clarendonians
  5. Vendors Return - Soul Vendors (Instrumental)
  6. Interview - Ital K & Joe Isaacs
  7. Conversation - Calisia
  8. Get Along Without You - A2O
  9. You Won't See Me - Clarendonians
  10. Life And Time - Nathalia
  11. Star - Soul Vendors (Instrumental)
  12. Vendors Touch - Soul Vendors (Instrumental)
  13. Respect Your Mother & Father - Soul Vendors (Vocal)
  14. Interview - Ital K & Joe Isaacs
  15. Respect Your Elders
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3
The Soul Vendors were first as the Soul Brothers, and later as the Soul Vendors the successors of the original Skatalites as Coxsone Dodd's new houseband at Studio One, consisting of Brian Atkinson on bass, Joe Isaacs on drums, the legendary Jackie Mittoo on keyboards, Harry Haughton and later Hux Brown on guitars and Bobby Ellis on trumpet and Dennis 'Ska' Campbell on tenor sax. Brian Atkinson and Joe Isaacs have revived the Soul Vendors, drafting former Chalice members Winston 'Bo-Pee' Bowen on guitars and Ervin 'Alla' Lloyd into the group, inspired by the urge to set the record straight, so everyone involved (presently alive or deceased) can have their due, seeking to establish some semblance of normalcy and rightness. Accretion in truth, picking up the pieces, the legacy, through the eyes of the beholder, rebuilding my fathers mansion, shedding the shackles of despair, hopelessness, breaking free from ignorance and bondage, helplessness and anguish. As a result they have released this fine album, that opens with their (and singer Jack Radics') protégés, the singing group A2O, comprising Angel Smith, Rayon Obie, Dennis 'Wess' Rose and Kenneth 'Junior' Lorney, who deliver their "Come On Over" and a take on Freddy McKay's seminal 1971 Studio One hit "Picture On The Wall" alongside another Jack Radics discovery Charlene 'Nathalia' Wilson as "Memories", both in fine old style Jamaican close harmony tradition as opposed to the current US R&B influenced boygroups. Studio One veteran Dudley Sibley returns to his excellent 1966 Studio One tune "Gun Man" with the help of Bunny Wailer (!) before The Clarendonians, Peter Austin & Ernest Wilson, who were back in the days joined by a 7 year old Freddie McGregor, deliver their beautiful "You Can't Be Happy" recorded first time around in 1966 for Studio One, before the Soul Vendors themselves shine on Jackie Mittoo's 1967 "Ram Jam" recorded as "Vendors Return". A very short first "Interview" snippet with Joe Isaacs interviewed at WLRN 91.3 by Ital K is followed by a Calisia's great take on Slim Smith & the Uniques' in 1968 for Bunny Lee recorded "Conversation" and A2O relicking the Melodians 1967 Treasure Isle tune "Get Along Without You" in great style. The Clarendonians second tune is a take on another in 1966 for Coxsone Dodd recorded tune, their fine "You Won't See Me". Nathalia's solo tune "Life And Time" sounds less rooted in the days of rocksteady because of its more 70s reggae backing and her UK lovers rock singing, but no less great. The Soul Vendors then take mainstage themselves again for the instrumental "Star", their take on the riddim of Cornell Campbell & The Eternals' 1969 Studio One tune "Stars" with their horn section of Kevin Bonfield on sax, Andrew Christian on trombone and Andre Palmer on trumpet bringing back memories of the great Jamaican hornsmen of the sixties, followed by another instrumental "Vendors Touch" where the horns as melody instrument share the lead with Ervin 'Alla' Lloyd's keys. "Respect Your Mother & Father" is a fine vocal Soul Vendors' effort (or is it Alton Ellis?) followed by a little longer "Interview" snippet where Joe Isaacs pays tribute to Jackie Mittoo and tells about bringing back everything that was done before upfront again and that is what the Soul Vendors have succeeded in with this 'History Lesson' that is brought to a close with the instrumental version of "Respect Your Mother & Father" called "Respect Your Elders". Highly recommended for all Studio One and rocksteady aficionados.