Ska Bonanza - The Studio One Ska Years
2 CD
July 9, 2006

Track list
Disc 1

  1. Nimble Foot Ska - Roland Alphonso & The Skatalites
  2. Spread Satin - Roland Alphonso & The Studio One Orchestra
  3. Arte Bella aka Artibella - Stranger (Cole) & Ken (Boothe)
  4. Streets of Gold - The Skatalites
  5. A De Pon Dem - Rita Marley Anderson & the Wailers
  6. Black Sunday - The Skatalites
  7. Don't Want Your Loving - Cornell Campbell
  8. Old Fowl Ska - Roland Alphonso
  9. Enna Bella (aka Lena Belle) - Eric Monty Morris
  10. Jezebel - Owen (Grey) & Millie (Small) with Clue J & His Blues Blasters
  11. Always on Sunday (aka Always on a Sunday) - Frank Anderson & Tommy McCook with the Skatalites
  12. Sugar Bag - Lee King Perry
  13. Settle Down - Lester Sterling, Johnnie Moore, & Tommy McCook
  14. Turn Me On - Ossie & The Upsetters (aka The Checkmates)
  15. When the Well Runs Dry - Bunny (aka Bonnie) & Skitter
  16. Wheel and Turn - Frank Anderson & Tommy McCook
  17. Oceans 11 - Cecil Lloyd, Roland Alphonso & the City Slickers
  18. Over the River (aka I'll Be Here When He Come) - The Jiving Juniors
  19. My Heaven - Alton Ellis & Eddie Parkins with Aubrey Adams & the Dewdroppers
  20. Set Back (aka Just Cool) - Roland Alphonso & Carroll McLaughlin
  21. Du Du Wap - Chuck (Josephs) & Dobby (Dobson) with Aubrey Adams
  22. Don Cosmic - Don Drummond & The City Slickers
Disc 2

  1. Man in the Street - Don Drummond
  2. Simmer Down - Bob Marley & the Wailers
  3. Shining Light - Toots & the Maytals
  4. Push Wood (aka More Wood) - Jackie Opel
  5. Wonder No More - Andy & Joey
  6. Bongo Tango (aka Down Beat Alley) - Roland Alphonso
  7. Answer Me My Darling (aka Answer Me) - Derrick Harriott
  8. River Jordan - Clancy Eccles with Hersang & the City Slickers
  9. Salt Lane Shuffle - Clue J & His Blues Blasters
  10. Jeanie Girl - The Charmers
  11. Lonely Moments - Lascelles Perkins with Clue J & His Blues Blasters
  12. Central Kingston - Roland Alphonso & the Alley Cats
  13. Sucu Sucu - Roland Alphonso
  14. 20.75 - Roland Alphonso
  15. Stop Making Love - The Gaylads
  16. How Many Times (Do You Remember) - Bob Marley & the Wailers
  17. Heaven and Earth - Don Drummond & Roland Alphonso
  18. Sit Down Servant - Jackie Opel
  19. Go Jimmy Go - Bob Marley & the Wailers
  20. Stew Peas and Cornflakes - Aubrey Adams & Rico Rodriguez
  21. Under the Old Oak Tree - Cornell Campbell
  22. We'll Meet - Roy (Panton) & Millie (Small)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 5
Throughout the 50s by far the most popular music among Jamaican audiences was the hard hitting New Orleans style of R & B, as performed by artists such as Smiley Lewis, Roy Brown and Fats Domino. As a result of a number of events - the popularity of the jukebox, the switch to more polished sounds, and direct import of singles from the US - the soundsystems started creating the music themselves. Ace producers Duke Reid and Coxsone Dodd turned their hands to producing home-grown talent, emphasizing the back beat. The music evolved from Jamaican Boogie (or Blues Beat) into Ska. Until the blistering spring of 1966 the Island rocked to the driving riddims of Ska. During that summer the tempo of ska decreased and the music transmutated into an entirely new genre called Rocksteady.

'Ska Bonanza' is a comprehensive double-volume ska compilation, drawn from Coxsone Dodd's Studio One archives. It is a re-issue of the double album Heartbeat Records put out in 1991. They have added three bonus tracks and all tunes are remastered either from the original masters or from improved sources for improved sound quality. The forty-four Ska tunes found on this collection are not only pivotal parts of the Studio One story, they are ingredients in the musical legacy of Jamaica. In no other country is music so identified with a national popular culture as it is in Jamaica.

The recordings on this set cover the period Coxsone spent at Federal and the early days of Studio One on Brentford Road. A lot of tunes were released on the albums 'This Is Jamaica Ska' and 'All Star Top Hits'. The sound quality of some tracks are below modern standards, but what can one expect? Anyway... it's ska time galore... from immensely popular tunes like The Wailers' Simmer Down and Stranger Cole & Ken Boothe's Arte Bella to previously unreleased gems like Wheel And Turn by Frank Anderson & Tommy McCook... Get up and dance!

This release comes with a nice booklet which offers extensive liner notes and rare photos.