Various artists album review
Ska All Mighty
18 - 03 - 2002

Tracking list

  1. Don Drummond - Don De Lion
  2. Owen And Leon Silvera - Running Around
  3. The Upsetters - Mama Let Her Out
  4. Tommy McCook & Lynn Tait - Spanish Eyes
  5. Derrick Morgan & Naomi - Time Marches On
  6. Dottie & Bunny - Foul Play
  7. Don Drummond & Baba Brooks Band - Melody Jamboree
  8. The Skatalites - Sailing Along
  9. The Duke Reid Group - Man May Go Man May Come
  10. The Miracles - What Have I Done
  11. Roland Alphonso - Feeling Fine
  12. The Slickers - Man Is Going To Eat Man
  13. Justin Hinds & The Dominoes - Why Should I Worry
  14. The Skatalites - Strolling In
  15. Owen & Leon Silvera And The Skatalites - Skill And Craft
  16. Stranger Cole, Owen & Leon Silvera - Koo Koo Do
  17. Justin Hinds & The Dominoes - Corner Stone
  18. Lynn Tait & The Baba Brooks Band - Independence Ska
  19. Hayward Brice & The Baba Brooks Band - Red Gal Ring
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 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. Duke Reid was one of the most important and influential producer of the ska era, an ex-policeman and former soundsystem owner who ruled his musical imperium out of his famous Treasure Isle studio, situated above his Orange Street liquor store. 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.
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 the slogan "If you're ready, come do rocksteady" became the slogan of the years 1966-68.
This compilation set is filled with classic hits (and a rocksteady tune) interspersed with rare and previously unreleased songs. Produced by the aforementioned Duke Reid, these Treasure Isle tracks feature driving horn instrumentals starring Don Drummond, Tommy McCook and Roland Alphonso. Also included are top ska vocalists like Justin Hinds, Derrick Morgan and Owen and Leon Silvera. The late great Don Drummond was one of 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 one awesome solo track -Don De Lion- and a tune -Melody Jamboree- on which he appears with the Baba Brooks Band. The brothers Silvera recorded extensively for Duke Reid and here they deliver two nice tunes. Justin Hinds is a gifted songwriter who became one of the household names of ska, rocksteady and reggae in the sixties and seventies. Together with his Dominoes contributes two tracks : Corner Stone and Why Should I Worry. Tommy McCook and Lynn Tait are present here with an ultra-sweet rendition of the evergreen Spanish Eyes.
Very enjoyable compilation set !

Teacher & Mr. T.