Studio One Roots Vol. 3
Soul Jazz Records-Munich
October 28, 2007

Track list
  1. Freddie McKay - (I'm) A Free Man
  2. Jennifer Lara - A Change Is Gonna Come
  3. Alton & Zoot - Oppression
  4. Winston Flames - In A Armagideon
  5. Dillinger - Babylon Fever
  6. The Gladiators - Re Arrange
  7. Vin Gordon - Fullness
  8. Larry Marshall - Better Must Come
  9. Cliff Stewart - Burn Collie
  10. Im And Count Ossie - So Long Rastafari Calling
  11. The Nightingales - What A Situation
  12. Clifton Gibbs & The Selected Few - Brimstone & Fire
  13. Dub Specialist - Musical Science
  14. Prince Jazzbo - Creation Skank
  15. Errol Dunkley - Way Down Low
  16. Lloyd Forest - Where It's At
  17. The Dynamic Four - Let's Make Love
  18. Judah Eskender Tafari - Jah Light
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Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 4
The association of London-based Soul Jazz Records with the legendary Jamaican reggae label Studio One has led to the release of a notable amount of worthwhile compilation sets (and albums from Sugar Minott, Burning Spear and Jackie Mittoo), which made that the Studio One aficionado could hear a growing number of his cherished tunes in digital clarity. Now here's the third volume of "Studio One Roots", another great dip into the rootsier material from the extensive Studio One catalog.

The term 'Roots' was first widely used in the mid-1970s to describe the work of artists such as Burning Spear, The Abyssinians, Wailing Souls, Junior Byles, The Royals, Big Youth, and of course The Wailers. The music they (and countless others) made was largely concerned with Rastafarianism, Black consciousness and self-determinization. Roots music became the major musical development of Reggae in the 1970s, and the riddims that underpinned the cultural material had certain musical motifs such as nyahbinghi drumming and/or minor-key horn chords.

Coxsone Dodd and Studio One's connection to Rastafarianism had begun long before the arrival of 'roots music' as a distinct genre that arrived at the very tail end of the 1960s. By the start of the 1960s Coxsone Dodd was making his way to Count Ossie's Wareika Hills Rastafarian compound to hear Rastafarian drummers play whilst the Skatalites' front-line horns Tommy McCook, Don Drummond, Johnny Moore would jam alongside. Similarly, Count Ossie would appear during Sir Coxsone's dancehall sessions, performing live at the height of the evening.

On this third installment in the series of Rastafarian inspired music from Studio One, you'll find classic foundation artists alongside some seriously rare tracks from the label. Freddie McKay's original version of "(I'm) A Freeman" -- the tune he recut successfully a couple of years later for Leonard 'Santic' Chin -- is a great album opener and certainly a worthy kick off of what happens to be a blazing set in Soul Jazz Records' "Studio One Roots" series. It's got loads of awesome tunes including "Oppression" by Alton Ellis & Zoot Simms, Cliff Stewart's "Burn Collie", The Nightingales "What A Situation", Clifton Gibbs & The Selected Few's "Brimstone & Fire", Errol Dunkley's truly beautiful "Way Down Low" (the first cut to his later "Down Below"), Lloyd Forrest's "Where It's At", and Judah Eskender Tafari's outrageous "Jah Light". But there's so much more good music to enjoy like e.g. Jennifer Lara's "A Change Is Gonna Come", Winston 'Flames' Jarrett's "In A Armagideon" and Larry Marshall's version of Delroy Wilson's "Better Must Come".

We're no nitpickers, but when you're compiling sets on a thematic basis, tracks such as the deejay pieces of Prince Jazzbo and Dillinger, or Dub Specialist's "Musical Science" (a version to the classic binghi "Money Generator"), and Vin Gordon's "Fullness" (the previously unavailable trombone cut to the Wailing Souls' "Don't Fight It"), shouldn't be featured here. It has nothing to do with the quality of these tracks, but it makes more sense to include them on other compilations in the series like "Studio One DJ's" and "Studio One Instrumentals". Apart from this slight criticism this is a very enjoyable and entertaining collection of tunes from the seemingly bottomless Studio One musical barrel. Do check it out!!