Various artists album review
Studio One Roots
Soul Jazz Records-Munich
07 - 11 - 2001

Tracking list

  1. The Cyclones & Count Ossie - Meditation
  2. Cornell Campbell - Natty Don't Go
  3. Freddie McGregor - Africa Here I Come (extended mix)
  4. Bunnie & Skitter - Lumumbo
  5. Willie Williams - Addis A Baba
  6. L. Crossdale - Set Me Free
  7. Leroy Wallace - Far Beyond
  8. Lenny Hibbert - More Creation
  9. Alton Ellis - Blackish White
  10. Winston Jarrett - Fear Not
  11. Devon 'Soul' Russell - Drum Song
  12. The Gayladds - Africa
  13. Black Brothers - School Children
  14. Linton Cooper - You'll Get Your Pay
  15. Sound Dimension - Congo Rock
  16. Zoot Simms - African Challenge
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

'Studio One Roots' is the third in the series of Soul Jazz Records' Studio One releases following on from Studio One Soul and Studio One Rockers. Soul Jazz Records is a record company and a shop based in the heart of London, making, releasing and selling music, old and new for the past ten years. They specialise in Dance music covering the last five decades including Jazz, Soul, Funk, Reggae, Latin, Disco and Hip Hop plus a wide range of contemporary music from around the world. In addition to this they also organise their own club nights and live events in and around London as well as performing at night clubs around the world. Their shop, located in London's Soho, is called Sounds of the Universe.
'Studio One Roots' is an important collection of some of the deepest roots music to come out of Studio One, reggae's most important record label ever. This release features many rare and classic tracks that have been unavailable for over thirty years. Although Coxsone Dodd never actually commited to Rasta he was fascinated by how Garveynism and notions of black self-help coincided with the black power movement in the US, and he saw beyond class snobbery to how such a state of mind was needed among the island's dispossessed. It was a mark of his enthusiasm for what Rasta was really all about that led him to sign a young Burning Spear as early as 1969 after an audition featuring a deeply spiritual, chant like reading of "Door Peeper". Here the tracks Far Beyond, You'll Get Your Pay and School Children are all testament to his enthusiasm for Rasta philosophising. In the 1970s Studio one turned out its share of straight roots reggae and the combination of Studio One riddims and great vocalists like Cornell Campbell and Freddie McGregor the results cannot be dissapointing : check out Cornell's masterpiece Natty Don't Go and Freddie's awesome Africa Here I Come, which comes complete with the dub version. Next to rasta drumming influenced tunes such as Lumumbo, the all-time reggae classic More Creation by vibraphonist Lenny Hibbert - actually a beautiful version of Sidewalk Doctor - and the fabulous opening tune (listen to the heavenly organ!) Meditation, you'll find here ska flavored tracks such as the Gayladds with Africa and Willie Williams' Addis A Baba. Devon Russell brings his tune riding Jackie Mittoo's Drum Song. Also well worth mentioning is Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace's killer tune Far Beyond, which happens to be an adaptation of a Mutabaruka poem across a version of "Do Your Thing".
With extensive sleeve notes by Lloyd Bradley - author of "Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King" - this release should be part of any reggae collection.

Teacher & Mr. T.