Various artists album review
Nice Up The Dance
20 - 03 - 2001

Tracking list

  1. Cornell Campbell And The Eternals - Queen Of The Minstrel
  2. Ken Parker - My Whole World Is Falling Down
  3. Freddie McKay - Love Is A Treasure
  4. Horace Andy - Mr. Bassie
  5. Delroy Wilson - Give Love A Try
  6. Michigan And Smiley - Nice Up The Dance (Previously Unreleased Version)
  7. Alton Ellis - Can I Change My Mind
  8. The Viceroys With Tommy Mccook And The Discosonics - Slogan On The Wall (Previously Unreleased Version)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Producer from as far back as 1959 Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd can be regarded as the founder of Reggae music and his "Studio One" imprint as the most legendary record label in the history of Reggae. In search of a cultural dance beat for Jamaica his studio musicians created Ska. When the beat slowed down it became Rocksteady, then evolving into militant rock called Reggae. Excellent musicians like the late great Jackie Mittoo (who can be credited for providing a complete legacy of "riddims" still going strong today and enjoyed by many Reggae lovers all over the world), Don Drummond, Count Ossie, Leroy Sibbles, Roland Alphonso and Ernest Ranglin laid riddims for singers and vocal groups like The Wailing Wailers, Delroy Wilson, The Viceroys, Wailing Souls, Sugar Minott, Horace Andy, Freddie McGregor, Dennis Brown, Burning Spear, to name but a few. During the seventies in Jamaica the 12" mix of popular songs became the vogue. The vocals and dubs were mated for a musical extravaganza. As a result of the popularity of these 12" singles Coxsone Dodd compiled and released some "Showcase" albums.
Now the Cambridge, Massachusetts U.S.A. based Heartbeat Records has issued "Nice Up The Dance", which is a decent follow up to the previous releases 'Showcase Volume 1 & 2". Many of the songs on the album were originally released in the late sixties and re-released in their extended version ten years later.
The album opens with classic late sixties lovers tune Queen Of the Minstrell from Cornell Campbell and The Eternals. He recorded many sides for Coxsone, starting in the late fifties, before teaming up with producer Bunny Lee. In the seventies his output was prolific and he still is recording quality sides for a variety of producers, such as the New York based Don One. Ken Parker comes next with his rendition of William Bells' My Whole World Is Falling Down. Ken's version topped the Jamaican charts in 1969. One of Jamaica's most underrated vocalists is the late Freddie McKay. Love Is Treasure remains his best remembered tune, the Studio One album 'Picture On The Wall' is a classic set.
An often versioned riddim is Horace Andy's Mr. Bassie. It's a dancehall staple, and any producer looking for a dancehall hit will consider versioning it. Great names like Beres Hammond, Garnet Silk, Frankie Paul, Dean Fraser and Robert Ffrench have scored hits riding this riddim. The late great Delroy Wilson is one of Studio One's legends. He started out at the age of twelve, voicing popular ska sides for Coxsone Dodd. His tune Give Love A Try is one of the highlights found here.
The Sound Dimension's 'Real Rock' riddim probably is reggae's most versioned riddim. Although Willie Williams' version 'Armagideon Time' is a very popular cut of the riddim, Michigan and Smiley offering Nice Up the Dance is a noteworthy track. This tune is followed by the killer tune of the album, Alton Ellis' Can I Change My Mind. This brilliant retelling of Tyrone Davis' 1968 hit tune proved Alton's most popular tune. He has recorded a few tunes over the years and his outings still remain popular with the reggae massive. The album closes with a previously unreleased tune by The Viceroys. For this release the original vocal cut Slogan On The Wall was mixed together with Tommy McCook's instrumental cut 'Tenor On The Call'.
What can we say...brilliant stuff from the vaults of Studio One !

Teacher & Mr. T.