Various artists album review
Knock Out Ska

Tracking list

  1. Don Drummond - Knockout Punch
  2. Rico, Roland Alphonso & Dizzy Moore - Magic
  3. Alton Ellis & The Flames - Don't Trouble People
  4. Owen & Leon Silvera - Hold Me Tenderly
  5. Baba Brooks Band & Lynn Taitt - Twilight Zone
  6. The Melodies - My Girl
  7. Lester Sterling & Baba Brooks Band - So Long
  8. Eric 'Monty' Morris & Justin Hinds & The Dominoes - Penny Reel
  9. The Techniques & Slim Smith - You Don't Know
  10. Justin Hinds & The Dominoes - Over The River
  11. Don Drummond - Cool Smoke
  12. The Duke Reid Group - What Makes Honey
  13. Stranger Cole - My Pussy
  14. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics - How Soon
  15. Justin Hinds & The Dominoes - Lion Of Judah
  16. The Melodies - Vacation
  17. Tommy McCook - The Yellow Basket
  18. Hortense & Alton Ellis - Don't Gamble With Love
  19. Don Drummond & Baba Brooks Band - Spider
  20. Stranger Cole, Patsy Todd & Baba Brooks Band - Yea Yea Baby
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 3/4 Sleeve : 4/5

In the late fifties the sound operators on the island started producing their own music using local singers and musicians. Initially, producers relied upon the limited facilities available at the handful of small basis recording studios scattered around Kingston, but in response to the increase in demand, more sophisticated set-ups such as those ate Federal and later W.I.R.L. were soon created. At first records were pressed in limited numbers, but as demand to make them widely available grew producers like Duke Reid, Coxsone Dodd and Prince Buster started selling them directly to the Jamaican public.
The early releases had little to distinguish them from American R&B, but as time went by the off-beat became increasingly accentuated by the rhythm section, eventually creating a shuffle style known as 'Jamaican Boogie' or 'Blues Beat'. Over the ensuing months the trend continued until the music became ska which was to dominate the island's music scene untill the summer of 1966 when ska was finally supplanted by the slower, more lilting style of rocksteady.
Arthur S. 'Duke,' or 'The Trojan' Reid, proprietor of the Duke Reid, Duchess and Treasure Isle labels, is the producer of the 20 ska tunes found on this latest HeartBeat release. Duke Reid seriously took up record production in 1962, scoring ska hits galore with the likes of Stranger Cole, The Techniques, Justin Hinds, Eric 'Monty' Morris, The Skatalites and Don Drummond. Throughout the sixties the hits poured out of Reid's Treasure Isle studio, situated above his Orange Street liquor store.
The tracks found here are rare ska tunes and most of them have never appeared on CD before and many are previously unreleased. It's obvious that Don Drummond was the greatest musician of the Ska era. His life has taken on mythic proportions ever since his untimely death in 1969. He was a foundation musician in Jamaica whose presence graced recordings by all of the top producers. He's featured here with two solo tracks and a tune on which he appears with the Baba Brooks Band. But there's more here, Tommy McCook was another musical giant from that era. He contributes two fine rare tracks : How Soon and The Yellow Basket. The brothers Silvera recorded extensively for Duke Reid and here they deliver a nice rendition of Elvis Presley's 'Love Me Tender', retitled Hold Me Tenderly. Stranger Cole was another artist who cut many sides for Duke Reid. On this album you'll find two of his hits : Yea Yea Baby and My Pussy. Another hit maker for the Duke was Eric 'Monty' Morris who provides the stellar Penny Reel, featuring on harmonies Justin Hinds and The Dominoes. Justin Hinds is a gifted songwriter who became one of the household names of ska, rocksteady and reggae in the sixties and seventies. He contributes two tracks : from 1966 comes the awesome Lion Of Judah and Over The River.
"Knock Out Ska" simply is a great ska compilation set!

Teacher & Mr. T.