Various artists album review
Studio One Showcase Volume 1

Tracking list

  1. The Heptones - Baby
  2. The Heptones - There Ain't Nobody Else
  3. Ernest Wilson - Undying Love
  4. Alton Ellis - Almost Anything
  5. The Heptones - I Love You
  6. The Bassies - I Don't Mind
  7. The Heptones - Hard To Confess
  8. The Tonettes - I'll Give It To You
  9. Cornell Campbell - Ten To One
  10. Johnny Osbourne - All I Have Is Love
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

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 three "Showcase" albums.
Now the Cambridge, Massachusetts U.S.A. based Heartbeat Records has issued the "Showcase Volume 1" album on compact disc including three bonus tracks of rare mixes. The Heptones - one of the top vocal groups that recorded for Studio One during the late sixties/early seventies - added classic recordings to the studio's catalogue. Why the vocal trio, consisting of Leroy Sibbles, Barry Llewellyn and Earl Morgan, were loved for their sublime voices and their appealing songs, can be witnessed when listening to their four contributions on this album. "Undying Love" is probably one of the best songs former Clarendonian Ernest Wilson has ever recorded during his solo career. Alton Ellis is truly one of the living legends in Jamaican music who has been making great tunes for nearly four decades. He recorded extensively for Coxsone Dodd in the sixties and seventies and became one of the hitmakers through his songwriting abilities and wonderful voice. "Almost Anything" is a great song with Alton Ellis at his best supported by wonderful harmony vocals. The Bassies was a harmony outfit who occasionally made a record of note. Their truly sublime "River Jordan" and the here included "I Don't Mind" belong to that category. Little is known of the Tonettes but their "I'll Give It To You" is a nice vocal delivery. Falsetto-voiced Cornell Campbell - former member of the Eternals and The Uniques - brings a beautiful version of the Curtis Mayfield song "Ten To One" and Johnny Osbourne impresses with an excellent vocal performance.
"Studio One Showcase Volume 1" features timeless songs, top riddims, beautiful musicianship, great vocal deliveries and fine harmonies from top singers and vocal groups. Ten tracks of quality music make this album a must-have !

Teacher & Mr. T.