Six The Hard Way
December 27, 2006

Larry Marshall - Six the Hard Way Track list
  1. Slim Smith - Born to Love
  2. Slim & the Gaylads - You Don't Care
  3. Slim Smith - Rougher Yet
  4. The Termites - Have Mercy Mr. Percy
  5. The Termites - Do the Rock Steady
  6. The Termites - It Takes Two to Make Love
  7. The Cables - No New Love
  8. The Cables - Love Is a Pleasure
  9. The Cables - Cheer Up
  10. Larry Marshall - Nanny Goat
  11. Larry Marshall - Thelma
  12. Larry Marshall - How Can I Go On
  13. The Viceroys - Love and Unity
  14. The Viceroys - Slogan on the Wall
  15. The Viceroys - Ya Ho
  16. Willie Williams - Armagideon Time
  17. Willie Williams - Master Plan
  18. Willie Williams - See You When I Get There
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4
Heartbeat Records reactivated their Studio One reissue program earlier this year. After the sensational reissues from Freddie McGregor's "Bobby Bobylon", the wonderful Delroy Wilson "Best Of", the dreader than dread "Version Dread" and all others (3 best of Studio One compilations and a Alton Ellis CD) Heartbeat Records hits hard with this wonderful release.

The CD starts with 3 tunes from one of the greatest singers ever, Slim Smith, who - unfortunately for all music lovers - passed away far too early. Slim Smith was a member of the vocal group Techniques and moved as a solo artist to Studio One, where he recorded some famous and successful singles. Born To Love, You Don't Care and Rougher Yet are a true testament to Slim Smith's greatness, both as a singer and a songwriter.

The Termites were one of the greatest Rock Steady vocal duos scoring big hits on the Jamaican scene at their time. The members were Wentworth Vernal and Lloyd Parks, maybe better known as bass player and leader of the "We The People Band", long associated with Dennis Emanuel Brown. The Termites album "Do The Rock Steady" was one of the landmarks of the Rock Steady era.

Vocal groups have always been extremely popular and have played an important role in Reggae Music. The Cables, like the Heptones, the Paragons and the Wailers, were successful in the trio vocal style that has become particularly Jamaican over the years but traces its origins to American vocal groups of the fifties. No New Love, Love Is A pleasure and Cheer Up are great examples from the Rock Steady era, backed by the legendary Soul Vendors.

Larry Marshall, a voice sometimes overlooked, ruled the dancehalls in the late sixties and early seventies. Nanny Goat was one of his famous tunes and one of the first reggae tunes out of Studio One. Along with Thelma and How Can I Go these are some of Larry Marshall's most inspired sounds, both vocally and in the strength of songwriting.

Another vocal trio started recording at Studio One are the Viceroys, formed in 1968. Maybe not so popular as The Cables, they give the world with Ya Ho one of the greatest Reggae anthems.

In 1979, when the Clash released their version of Armagideon Time, people outside the Reggae community heard about Willie Williams. Willie started recording at Studio One in 1967, he moved to Canada in the mid seventies and began collaborating with Jackie Mittoo. The other two tunes Master Plan and See You When I Get There showcase the singers influences, both Jamaican and American.

The remastering was done fine, you can hear this tunes like you never heard them before. All in all this CD is just another fine example showing which great, great music was recorded at Studio One. A must have!

One final word to Heartbeat, Soul Jazz and Studio One: the reviewer really would like to see the release of something like "The (almost) Complete Studio One Recordings". Looking at "The Complete Stax/Vault Singles" and more actually "The Complete Motown Singles" such a project should be possible and successful.