Various artists album review
Studio One Disco Mix
Soul Jazz Records
December 8, 2004

Tracking list

  1. Push Pull - Lloyd and Devon
  2. Rastafari Tell You - Judah Eskender Tafari
  3. Ain't Gonna My Mind - Doreen Schaefer
  4. Kamapala - Dub Specialist
  5. Be Wise Brethren - George Allen
  6. A Night In Ethiopia - Jackie Mittoo
  7. Gates Of Zion - George Dudley
  8. Come Forward - The Silvertones
  9. Muddy Water - The Ethiopian
  10. Armagideon Time - Willie Williams & Brentford Disco Set
  11. Armagideon Time (Version) - Willie Williams & Brentford Disco Set
  12. I Want Your Love - Norma White & Brentford Disco Set
  13. I Want Your Love (Version) - Norma White & Brentford Disco Set
  14. You Make Me So Happy - Alton Ellis
  15. Love And Understanding - Sugar Minott
  16. Going To Zion - Winston Francis, Jackie Mittoo & Brentford Rockers<
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 2

"Studio One Disco Mix" is yet another great selection of Studio One music coming from the London based Soul Jazz Records crew, paying tribute to the legacy of the late Sir Clement Coxsone Dodd and his Studio One, often described as both the 'University of Reggae' and the 'Motown of Jamaica'. This album features the experimenting with new studio technology, re-versioning classic riddims and tunes, overdubbing, syndrums brought because of the 12" Disco Mix introduction. Opening this album are Devon 'Cultural Roots' Russell and Lloyd Robinson - his "Cuss Cuss" is one of those immortal Studio One riddims spawning an unbelievable number of versions - with their 1978 tune "Push Push". For some incomprehensable reason not all years of release have been stated on the sleeve, even for easily trackable tunes like this, which is not the high standard one might expect from Soul Jazz Records. Hearing the riddim immediately has you thinking of another Soul Jazz release, their "Hustle! Reggae Disco" album, and if that was of any interest to you, "Studio One Disco Mix" will receive an even warmer welcome. Next is one of the rare tracks by Judah Eskender Tafari "Rastafari Tell You" to be released by Coxsone, one of six in fact of the about sixteen to eighteen that Judah Eskender Tafari claims - (check the Small Axe site here for an interview with him - to have recorded between 1978 and 1980, with this conscious tune over a disco-fied riddim being released (again not stated on the sleeve) in 1979. The great Doreen Schaffer (yes, there must be 30 ways to spell her name) - whose "Adorable You" was the last album to be released before Coxsone Dodd deceased earlier this year - is featured next with her brilliant 1979 (and not as indicated on the sleeve 1977) answer-version "Ain't Gonna Change My Mind" to Alton Ellis' classic 1969 original (and 1977 re-released) "Baby Can I Change My Mind", of which "Kampala" the version mixed by Dub Specialist is the next track: thus breaking away from the 'Disco Mix'-format. Conscious tunes galore on this album, as by another seldom heard Studio One graduate the mysterious George Allen whose 1978 (and not as stated 1972) "Be Wise Brethren" just grabs you. Legendary keyboard-wizard Jackie Mittoo's brilliant take "Ethiopia" on the Abyssinians "Satta Amassa Gana" is a 7-plus minutes aural trip worth takin, followed by George Dudley's (with writing credited to George Allen, so he might in fact be the same singer, judging by the vocals as well) excellent 1979 (not 1972) 12" "Gates Of Zion". The Silvertones have been anthologized on the superb Studio One release "Young At Heart", but this 1979 (not 1974) recording of "Come Forward" over Ken Boothe's 'Come Running Back'-riddim is a gem not featured on that album. Leonard Dillon a.k.a. The Ethiopian rides another all-time foundation classic, 1970's Larry Marshall & Alvin Leslie's 'Throw Me Corn'-riddim for the 1985 sufferer's tune "Muddy Water". Can one come up with an even more classic riddim than 'Throw Me Corn' if there's a need for, yes indeed, and the next two tracks feature the 1979 (and not 1980) re-recording by Willie Williams of his seminal 'Real Rock'-riddim anthem "Armagideon Time" and the "Armagideon Time (Version)". The next two 1980 tracks are absolute killers, and probably should have been on the earlier mentioned "Hustle ! Reggae Disco" album, because Norma White does a brilliant cover of a song by one of the best disco bands and production teams ever, the Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers written, played and produced 1978 Chic classic "I Want Your Love". One of the greatest singers ever to record in Jamaica, Mr. Soul of Jamaica, the Godfather of Rocksteady, Alton Ellis is featured here with his 1980 re-recording of the 1969 Blood Sweat & Tears song "You Make Me so Very Happy", and another legendary Studio One vocalist, Lincoln 'Sugar' Minott has a take on the 1970 'Big-Car'-riddim Jackie Mittoo (with a reference to the lyrics) based on William De Vaughn's often used in Jamaican music classic soul song "Be Thankful For What You've Got" for his "Love And Understanding". The last song on this absolutely stunning filled with rare gems collection is by Winston 'Mr. Fix It' Francis alongside Jackie Mittoo and the Brentford Rockers who excel once more on "Going To Zion". Despite some errors and omissions in the sleeve notes this is an absolute excellent album, with disco-fied seminal Studio One riddims and matching superb vocal performances.