The World of Reggae Music: Two-Tone Ska

The World of Reggae Music

Two-Tone Ska

The Jam-Tex selector presents a new chapter in the Wolrd of Reggae Music Collection on the second wave of Ska Music called “Two-Tone Ska” or “2-Tone.”

The Jam-Tex selector has been working on a study and organization of the essential tracks of reggae music called The World of Reggae Music Collection.” The selector invites others to comment on the selected tracks and to join in on the conversation about the history of reggae music.  This collection of singles began with the greatest roots reggae hits in categories entitled: “Reggae’s Superstars: The Lions of Jah” and “Reggae’s Superstars: The Lion Youth.”

Now the selector moves back in time to the roots of reggae, exploring the greatest singles from the ska tradition. Please feel free to suggest your favorite singles. The examination of the ska genre included a focused study on the founders of ska music from the late 1950s to the 1960s called: “The Ska Originals.” This posts explores the Two-Tone Skamovement of the 1970s and 1980s often called the second wave of ska music. A future post will focus on Third Wave Ska music that fused ska and elements of punk rock music.

Two-Tone (2-Tone) ska music emerged  out of Great Britian during the 1970s and 1980s. English lads played Jamaican music, including ska, rocksteady, and early reggae music, often immitating, adapting, and appropiating the music of the Caribbean islands. It reminds me of the ways in which Southern white Americans (Elvis “The King” Presley, Jerry Lee “The Killer” Lewis, Johnny “The Man in Black” Cash, etc.) and even British bands (The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc.) immitated and transformed the rhythm and blues of African-American musicians. In a similiar fashion the working-class kids of England found something compelling about Afro-Caribbean musical forms, especially ska and reggae music. I personally think they found something honest and soulful in the music. But most importantly it moved them in new and interesting ways.

The Specials stick out as the prime example of this Second Wave musical movement. Some Jamaican artists crossed over into this genre riding both the original and first wave, and also the second wave in England. Desmond Dekker, one of the orignators of ska music, found himself participating in the second wave touring throughout the UK. The Untouchables, the Bad MannersBig Five, the Toasters, King HammondSelecter, and Mark Foggo’s Skasters are all representative  artists of the second wave. Some big U.K. pop stars participated in this second wave ska movement including the Beat, Madness, and even the legendary Elvis Costello cut a few 2-tone ska tracks.

The Jam-Tex selector proudly presents…

The World of Reggae Music Collection

Two-Tone Ska

The Specials – Rudi, A Message To You

Maroon Town – Average Man

Madness – Our House

The English Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom

Riffs – These Things

Selector – On My Radio

The Loafers – Everyday

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Watching the Detectives

Rico – Sea Cruise

Madness – One Step Beyond

Big 5 – Live Injection

Maroon Town – City Riot

King Hammond – King Hammond Shuffle

Madness – The Prince

Judge Dread – Reggae and Ska

Selector – James Bond

The Specials – Ghost Town

Madness – Madness

Ska Boys – Norwegian Wood Disco

Selector – Train to Skaville

Rico – Carolina

The English Beat – Ranking Full Stop

Madness – Bed and Breakfast Man

Bad Manners – Wooly Bully

King Hammond – Skaville UK

The English Beat – The Tears of a Clown

Judge Dread –  Big 8

Laurel Aitken & Potato 5 – Blue Beat Suit

Madness – Night Boat to Cairo

Special Beat – Rough Rider

Big 5 – Skinhead Love Affair

The Specials – Monkey Man

Madness – Rockin’ In A Flat

Elvis Costello – I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down

The English Beat – Save It For Later

Mark Foggos Skasters – Hello

Judge Dread – Big 9

Madness – Swan Lake

International Beat – Magical Feeling

Potato 5 – Do The Jerk

The Loafers – Laughing Loafer

Madness – Grey Day

Riffs – One Egg (Nevilles Breakfast)

The Specials – Too Hot

The Toasters – Flight of the Bumble Bee

Bad Manners – Lip Up Fatty 

Madness – House of Fun

Mark Foggos Skasters – Skadansk

International Beat – Hands Off She’s Mine

Madness – My Girl

Bad Manners – Can Can (Live)

International Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom (Version 2)

Madness – It Must Be Love

Special Beat – Ranking Full Stop (Live)

Madness – Cardiac Arrest

NEED

  1. The Specials Maggie’s Farm
  2. Rico – Jungle Music
  3. BodysnatchersPeople Do Rock Steady
  4. Swinging Cats – Montavoni
  5. Apollinaires – Envy the Love
  6. SelectorThe Whisper
  7. UntouchablesFBI (I Spy For The)
  8. Bad Manners My Girl Lollipop
  9. Desmond Dekker & the Specials Take It Easy
  10. LoafersIt’s So Easy
  11. Selector – Too Much Pressure
  12. The Riffs Blind Date
  13. The UntouchablesBe Alright
  14. Judge Dread – Big Seven
  15. Mark Foggos Skasters – Captain Skarlet
  16. Coventry Automatics – Concrete Jungle
The World of Reggae Music: Two-Tone Ska

World of Reggae Music Collection: The Ska Originals

The World of Reggae Music

The Ska Originals

The Jam-Tex selector presents a new chapter in the “Wolrd of Reggae Music Collection” called The Ska Originals.

The Jam-Tex selector has been working on a study and organization of the essential tracks of reggae music called “The World of Reggae Music Collection.” The selector invites others to comment on the selected tracks and to join in on the conversation about the history of reggae music.  This collection of singles began with the greatest roots reggae hits in categories entitled “Reggae’s Superstars: The Lions of Jah” and “Reggae’s Superstars: The Lion Youth.”

Now the selector moves back in time to the roots of reggae, exploring the greatest singles from the early ska era. Please feel free to suggest your favorite singles. The primary examination of the “Ska Originals” genre focuses on the founders of ska music from the late 1950s to the 1960s. Later posts will explore forms of ska music of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s:  Two-Tone Ska and Third Wave Ska

Some of the same Jamaican singers, musicians, and producers of the original ska music movement later became the fathers and mothers of rocksteady and reggae.  A young Robert Nesta Marley recorded some ska tunes and so did Bob Marley‘s vocal group the Wailin’ Wailers, which later became the Wailers. Alton Ellis, Jimmy Cliff, Toots & The Maytals, Desmond Dekker, John Holt, Ken Boothe, Derrick Morgan, Clancy Eccles, Cornell Campbell, and Lee “Scratch” Perry all played ska as young lads. These Jamaican superstars all make this collection of ska singles.

The classic ska bands and vocal groups of the era appear on this collection, including the famed The Skatalites, The Ethiopians, The Pioneers, The Soulettes, The Paragons, The Heptones, The Ethiopians, The Techniques, The Upsetters, The Baba Brooks Band, The Gaylads, and The Versatiles. Many of the great ska musicians have singles that made this chart, like Don Drummond, Roland Alphonso, Lyn Taitt, and Tommy McCook.

Ska music is fun and fast, yet a very easy-going music that sends you skanking around the room. I love this music. There are some wonderful characters that came out of this musical genre, performers like Prince Buster, Sir Lord Comic, Lord Kitchener, Stranger Cole, Lord Creator, and the Folkes Brothers. Plus the dynamite sounds of Byron Lee and the Dragonaires make for some of the most classic ska tracks. The Jam-Tex selector invites you to comment on the list and make suggestions.

The Jam-Tex selector proudly presents…

World of Reggae Music Collection

The Ska Originals

The Skatalites Guns of Navarone

Don Drummond Don De Lion

Bob Marley & the Wailers Simmer Down

The EthopiansTrain To Skaville

Prince Buster – Hard Man Fe Dead

Jimmy Cliff Miss Jamaica

Toots & the MaytalsSweet & Dandy

John Holt & the Paragons The Tide Is High

Don Drummond – Eastern Standard Time

Jackie Opel – Push Wood

Tommy McCook – Alley Cat Ska

Byron Lee and the Dragonaires Jamaica Ska

Folkes Brothers – Oh Carolina

The Heptones – Gunman Coming To Town

Lord TanamoI’m In The Mood For Ska

Laurel Aitken & the Skatalites – Rude Boy Dreams

Desmond Dekker King Of Ska

Freddie Note & the Rudies Montego Bay

The Maytals Broadway Jungle

Prince Buster – Madness

Derrick MorganMoon Hop

Lee “Scratch” Perry & The SoulettesDoctor Dick

Don Drummond & the SkatalitesChinatown

Desmond DekkerRudy Got Soul

Gregory IsaacsMy Time

Tommy McCook & the Supersonics Ska Jam

Bob Marley Judge Not

The MaytalsSix And Seven Books Of Moses

Jimmy Cliff – Hurricane Hattie

Don Drummond – (Music Is My) Occupation

Roland Alphonso – James Bond

The Gaylads – Stop Making Love

Alton Ellis & Eddie Parker My Heaven

The Pioneers Jackpot

Prince Buster – Al Capone

Justin Hinds and the DominoesThe Ark

Ken BootheUno Dos Tres

Amos Clarke Chatty Chatty Woman

Val Bennett – Atlas

Lee “Scratch” Perry Give Me Justice

Alton EllisMouth A Massy

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Jailhouse

Jimmy Cliff – King of Kings

Desmond Dekker – Honour Your Mother and Father

Eric Monty Morris – Enna Bella

Millie Small & Roy Panton – We’ll Meet

Blues Blenders – The Girl Next Door

Alton Ellis & the FlamesBlessings Of Love

Bob Marley & the WailersDuppy Conqueror

Symarip – Skinhead Moonstomp

Roy Shirley & Ken Boothe Calling

Lee “Scratch” PerryWhat A Good Wood Man

Derrick MorganBlazing Fire

Roland Alphonso Phoenix City

Baba BrooksDuck Soup

Stranger Cole & Lester SterlingBangarang

The SkatalitesLatin Goes Ska

Alton Ellis Dance Crasher

Desmond Dekker – Get Up Edina

Derrick MorganFat Man

Ken Boothe & Stranger Cole – Arte Bella

Owen Gray – Darling Patricia

Baba Brooks – Girls Town Ska

Lord CreatorHurry Up

The MaytalsLet’s Jump

Derrick Harriott – Monkey Ska

Dave and Ansel CollinsMonkey Spanner

The EthiopiansFree Man

Lord Tanamo – You Belong to My Heart

Owen Grey Jezebel

Lee “Scratch” Perry Rub & Squeeze

Justin Hinds and the DominoesOver The River

Don Drummond – Man in the Street

Tommy McCook & the Supersonics – Out of Space

Roland AlphonsoOn The Move

Ewan McDermott Candy Ska

Desmond Dekker – Mount Zion

Granville Williams OrchestraHonky Tonk Ska

Desmond Dekker Pickney Gal

Tommy McCook & the Skatalites Silver Dollar

Duke Reid’s Group – Let George Do It

The Paragons Happy Go Lucky Girl

Chuck Joseph, Dobby Dobson, and Aubrey Adams – Du Du Wap

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Go Jimmy Go

Desmond Dekker & the Aces – Sabotage

Roland Alphonso – Old Fowl Ska

Eric ‘Monty’ Morris – Penny Reel

Rita Marley Anderson & the Wailers – A De Pon Dem

Jimmy Cliff – One-Eyed Jacks

The Versatiles – Push It In 

Derrick Morgan – The Hop 

Lord Tanamo – Mattie Rag (aka Ol’ Matilda)

Jackie Opel – Sit Down Servant

The Sounds – Shufflin’

Cornell Campbell – Under the Old Oak Tree

The Baba Brooks Band – Guns Fever

Frank Anderson – Musical Storeroom

Clive and Naomi – You Are Mine

Alton Ellis & the Flames – The Preacher

Desmond Dekker – Unity

Delroy Wilson & Slim Smith – Look Who I Back Again

Bob Marley & the Wailers – How Many Times (Do You Remember)

Don Drummond & The City Slickers – Don Cosmic

Roland Alphonso & The Skatalites – Nimble Foot Ska

The Baba Brooks Band – Teenage Ska

Toots & the Maytals – Shining Light

Clancy Eccles with Hersang & The City Slickers – River Jordan

The Riots – Yeah Yeah

Lee “Scratch” Perry – Sugar Bag

Lyn Taitt – Independence Ska

Lord Tanamo – If You Were Mine

Frank Cosmo – My Days Are Lonely

Cecil Lloyd & Roland Alphonso – Oceans 11

Laurel Aitken – Hey Bartender 

Derrick Harriott – Derrick!

Winston Samuels – My Bride to Be

Andy Capp – The Law 

Roland Alphonso – Yard Broom 

Tommy McCook – Cotton Tree

Don Drummond – Lucky Seven 

Lloyd Robinson – Too Late 

Ossie & The Upsetters – Turn Me On 

The Skatalites – Streets of Gold 

Lloyd Brivett – Wayward Ska 

Lynn Taitt – Tender Loving Care 

Jackie Estick – Daisy I Love You 

Cornell Campbell – Don’t Want Your Loving 

Derrick Morgan – Hold Your Jack 

Stranger & Gladdy – How Your Pantie Get Wet 

Bunny & Skitter – When The Well Runs Dry 

The Charmers – Jeanie Girl

The Dreamletts – Really Now 

Clue J & His Blues Brothers – Beeston Street Riff

Derrick Harriott – Answer Me My Darling

Frank Anderson & Tommy McCook – Wheel and Turn

Lascelles Perkins with Clue J and His Blues Brothers – Lonely Moments

Lester Sterling, Johnnie Moore, & Tommy McCook – Settle Down

Jackie Estick – The Ska

Horrell DawkinsButterfly

The SilvertonesTrue Confessions

Ewan McDermottSinners Got A Moanin…

Raymond HarperDiscipline

The Baba Brooks Band Special Event

The Skatalites Good News

Don Drummond – Cool Smoke

Roland AlphonsoCorner Store

Tommy McCook – Twelve Minutes to Go 

The Duke Reid Group – Strolling In

Don Drummond – Stampede

Derrick Morgan – Don’ Call Me Daddy 

Baba Brooks – Boat Ride 

The Skatalites – Black Sunday 

Ewan McDermott – Don’t Bring Me Your Dreams 

Lloyd Brevett – One More Time 

Raymond Harper – Yours 

Tommy McCooke – Apanga 

Clue J & His Blues BlastersSalt Lane Shuffle

Frank Anderson, Tommy McCook, & The Skatalites Always on Sunday

Roland Alphonso – Sucu Sucu

Don Drummond – University Goes Ska

Derrick Morgan – Look Before You Leap 

Roland Alphonso – Bongo Tango 

The Skatalites – Dragon Weapon 

Baba Brooks – Musical Communion 

Don Drummond – Spider 

The Skatalites – Street Corner 

Derrick Morgan – Seven Letters 

Roland Alphonso – Back Beat 

Don Drummond – Doctor Decker

Baba Brooks & His Band – Blues 

Don Drummond – Mesoptamia

Baba Brooks – Dreadnaught 

Roland Alphonso – 20.75

Don Drummond & Roland Alphonso – Heaven And Earth 

Roland Alphonso & Carroll McLaughlin – Set Back 

Don Drummond – Garden of Love 

Roland Alphonso & Studio One Orchestra – Spread Satin 

The Baba Brooks Band – Vitamin A 

Don Drummond – Around the World 

Roland Alphonso – Nuclear Weapon 

Don Drummond – Burning Torch 

Roland Alphonso – Alipang

Don Drummond – Thorougfare

Roland Alphonso – Feeling Fine

Don Drummond – Melody Jamboree

Roland Alphonso – Sandy Gulley

Don Drummond – Silver Dollar 

NEED

Carl Dawkins – Baby I Love You

The Maytals – Someone’s Going to Bawl

Sir Lord Comic and His Cowboys – Ska-ing West

Don Drummond – Dew Drops

Eric Morris – Put on Your Best Dress

Roland Alphonso, King Sporty, & Justin Yap – El Cid

Byron Lee & the Dragonaires – Watermelon Man

Prince Buster – Run Man Run

Tommy McCook & the Supersonics – Train to Ska-Thedral

Lord Tanamo – Night Food Ska

Derrick Morgan – No Raise, No Praise

Stranger Cole – Rough and Tough

Lord Kitchener – The Road

Chuck & Dobby – I Don’t Need Your Love

Derrick Morgan – National Dance

Eric Morris – Strongman Sampson

Drumbago’s Orchestra – Duck Soup

The Rulers – Wrong’em Boyo

Baba Brooks – Musical Workshop

Derrick Morgan – Be Still

The Tartans – What Can I Say

Lord Tanamo – Come Down

The Techniques – I’m In Love

The Spanishstonians – Rudie Gets Plenty

The Techniques – Little Did You Know

Winston & George – Denham Town

Roland Alphonso – Blackberry Brandy

Basil Gabbidon – Ena Meni

Derrick Morgan and Patsy – Let Me Go

Eric Morris – Solomon Gundie

Granville Williams Orchestra – The Third Man Theme

Clive & Naomi – Open The Door

Stranger Cole & the Conquerors – Drop the Ratchet

Andy Cap – Pop A Top

The Maytals – Just Got To Be

Dandy Livingstone – Reggae in Your Jeggae

Roland Alphonso – Shot in the Dark

Baba Brooks – One Eyed Giant

Byron Lee & the Dragonaires – Soul Limbo

Bongo Herman & Les – Dr. Who

The Skatalites – Ghost Town

Tommy McCook & the Skatalites – Doctor Zhivago

Baba Brooks – Watermelon Man

Lord Comic & the Skatalites – Lon Cheney

The Rulers – Copasetic

Carlos Malcom – Bonanza Ska

The Skatalites – Ringo

Lloyd Robinson – When You Walk

Tommy McCook – Riverton City

The Skatalites – Ska Boo Da Baa

Baba Brooks – Shenk I Shek

Roland Alphonso – Cleo’s Back

Cornell Campbell – Make Hay

Don Drummond – Away From It All

The Skatalites – China Clipper 

Lord Tanamo – Iron Bar

King Stitt & the Dynamites – The Ugly One (AKA Lee Van Cleef)

Owen Gray – She’s Going to Napoli

Roy Shirley – Get on the Ball

Vinley Gayle – Go On

Justin Hinds – Try Me

Ferdy Nelson – Ska Down Jamaica Way

The Valentines – Blam Blam Fever

Joanne Gordon & Roland Alphonso – Blow Roland Blow

Johnny Moore – South China Sea

Roy Richards – Lost My Girl

Bobby Aitken – Jericho

Senior Pablo – Senorita

Jackie Opel – Turn to the Almighty

Delroy Blyfield – Yagga Yagga

Ruddy  & Sketto – I Love You

Winston Grennan – Turn on the Light

Larry Marshall – Snake in the Grass

Basil Gabbidon – Back to Jamaica

The Royals – Save Mama

Harry Johnson and the All Stars – The Dog

Clancy Eccles – Sammy No Dead

The Skatalites – Kingston 11

Ken Boothe, Stranger Cole, & the Skatalites –World’s Fair

Owen & Leon Silveras – Next Door Neighbour

Stranger & Patsy – When I Call Your Name

World of Reggae Music Collection: The Ska Originals

The World of Reggae Music Collection: Reggae’s Superstars – The Lions of Jah (125 Songs from Reggae’s Finest)

The Jam-Tex selector will post a study and organization of the essential tracks of reggae music. The selector invites others to join in on the organization of these tracks.  Thus Jam-Tex presents The World of Reggae Music Collection.” This collection of singles begins with the greatest roots reggae hits in a category  entitled “Reggae’s Superstars – The Lions of Jah.”

The Reggae Superstars category includes the section: “The Lions of Jah.” The Lions of Jah section includes the pillars of reggae music, such as Bob Marley & the Wailers, Burning Spear, Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff, Toots & the Maytals, Jacob Miller, Peter Tosh, Max Romeo, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Bunny Wailer, Desmond Dekker, Freddie McGregor, Horace Andy, Barrington Levy, Beres Hammond, and features supergroups like  Third WorldBlack UhuruSteel Pulse, and Culture. The grouping of songs includes classic vocal groups like the Mighty Diamonds, Wailing Souls, and the Itals, and early deejay and singjay sensations like Big Youth, Tenor Saw, and Trinity.  Yet overall this category relies on the heavy hitters of reggae music like  John Holt, Gregory Isaacs, Lucky Dube, Johnny Osbourne, and Cornell Campbell.

Please feel free to comment. The selector is open to suggestions and changes. Feel free to comment on the selections, categories, genre headings, and section headings. The selector will consider track additions and removals and even the renaming of categories, sections, and genres. Without further ado…

The Jam-Tex Selector presents…The World of Reggae Music Collection

Reggae’s Superstars: The Lions of Jah

Ini Kamoze – World-A-Music

Bob Marley & the WailersGet Up, Stand Up

Desmond Dekker – 007 (Shanty Town)

Toots & the Maytals54-46 That’s My Number

Peter ToshSteppin’ Razor

Jimmy CliffThe Harder They Come

Burning Spear – Marcus Garvey

Burning Spear – The Ghost

Delroy Wilson – Better Must Come

Third World Reggae Ambassador

Black Uhuru & the RevolutionariesGuess Who’s Coming to Dinner

CultureTwo Sevens Clash

Barrington Levy Too Experienced

Lee “Scratch” Perry Chase The Devil

Lee “Scratch” Perry – Disco Devil

Steel PulseHandsworth Revolution

Steel Pulse – Revolution Dub

Gregory Isaacs & Roots RadicsNight Nurse

Gregory Isaacs – Night Nurse Dub

Dennis Brown – Wolves and Leopards

The Wailing Souls Shark Attack

The Mighty DiamondsRight Time

Johnny Ousborne – Truths and Rights

Chalice – Good to Be There

Jacob Miller & Inner CircleWestbound Train

Horace AndySkylarking

Freddie McGregor Big Ship

Max Romeo & the UpsettersWar Ina Babylon

Israel Vibration – Get Up and Go

John Holt – Strange Things

Lucky Dube – We Love It

Toots & the MaytalsFunky Kingston

Jacob Miller & Inner Circle We A Rockers

Bob Marley & the WailersRebel Music (Three O’Clock Roadblock)

Burning Spear Columbus

Jimmy CliffYou Can Get It If You Really Want

Barrington Levy Saw Red

Peter ToshWhatcha Gonna Do

Steel Pulse Uncle George

Dennis Brown – Here I Come

The Heptones Book of Rules

Cornell Campbell The Gorgon

Mighty DiamondsIdentity

Beres Hammond & Zap PowLast War

Toots & the Maytals Time Tough

CultureIron Sharpening Iron

Dennis Brown Stop the Fussing & Fighting

Steel Pulse Ravers

Half Pint Level The Vibes

Beres Hammond They Gonna Talk

John Holt & the Aggravators You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine/Version

Jacob Miller & U-BrownKeep On Knocking

Bunny Wailer Blackheart Man

The HeptonesParty Time

Bob Andy – I’ve Got To Go Back Home

Burning Spear The Invasion

Burning Spear – Black Wa Da Da

The ItalsIn A Dis Ya Time/ Harbour View Rock

Bob Marley & the WailersIs This Love

Johnny Osbourne & the SensationsCome Back Darling

The Pioneers Long Shot (Kick the Bucket)

Toots & the Maytals Pressure Drop

Black Uhuru Party Next Door

Gregory IsaacsSad To Know (You’re Leaving)

Peter ToshWanted Dread And Alive

Beres Hammond – I Feel Good

Cornell Campbell Queen Of The Minstrel

Big Youth – Livin’

Burning SpearRise Up

Tenor SawLots of Sign

Tenor Saw – Lots of Dub

Black UhuruBlack Uhuru Anthem

Jacob Miller Mixed Up Moods

Steel PulseBlues Dance Raid

Barrington Levy, Kojak & LizaMy Woman/ Ten Thousand Woman

Bob Marley & the WailersRat Race

Jimmy Cliff Struggling Man

The HeptonesFattie Fattie

Horace Andy Nice And Easy

Horace Andy – Nice and Easy Dub

Mighty Diamonds Have Mercy

TrinityAll Gone

Gregory Isaacs – Cream of the Crop

Black Uhuru Rent Man

Sammy Dread My Princess

Beres Hammond – Rockaway

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Soul Rebel

U-Roy – Natty Rebel

Culture & Shorty the President See Them A Come/ Natty Pass Him G.C.E.

Cornell CampbellBoxing Around

Glen WashingtonRockers (Nuh Crackers)

Dennis BrownWhat About The Half

Jimmy Riley Love And Devotion

Ronnie Davis – Writing on the Wall

Burning SpearJordan River

Third WorldRoots With Quality

The ItalsBrutal Out Deh

Peter Tosh Why Must I Cry

CultureLion Rock

Barrington LevyMy Time (Rights of Man)

Steel Pulse Back To My Roots / Dub To My Roots

Gregory IsaacsStranger In Town

Dennis BrownGhetto Girl

The Wailing SoulsWar Deh Round A John Shop

Jacob MillerChapter A Day

Beres HammondWhat One Dance Can Do

Max Romeo One Step Forward

Lucky Dube Prisoner

Israel Vibration Back Staba

Lee “Scratch” Perry & the Heptones – Why Must I (Version)

Ed Robinson – Rude Awakening

Aswad – Love Fire

Aswad – Dub Fire

Jimmy Cliff – One More

Gregory Isaacs – Innocent People Cry

Delroy Wilson – It’s A Shame

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Pimper’s Paradise

The Wailing Souls – Bredda Gravalicious

Peter Tosh – Pick Myself Up

The Viceroys – Brethren and Sistren

Freddie McGregor – A House Is Not A Home

Lucky Dube – Julie! Julie!

Beres Hammond – Pull Up

The Wailing Souls – Stop Red Eye

Israel Vibration – Reggae on the River

Jimmy Cliff – Treat The Youths Right

 

The World of Reggae Music Collection: Reggae’s Superstars – The Lions of Jah (125 Songs from Reggae’s Finest)

Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae

I was lucky enough to be in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to see the opening of the film Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae by Swiss director Stascha Bader. What a wonderful film. Just amazing. The film narrated by Stranger Cole captures rocktsteady legends reuniting to cut an album of legendary hits and perform a reunion concert. The impressive lineup included Stranger Cole, U-Roy, Hopeton LewisSly Dunbar, Ernest Ranglin, Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, Rita Marley, Dawn Penn, Ken Boothe, Derrick Morgan, Leroy Sibbles, the Tamlins, Gladstone Anderson, Hux Brown, Bongo Herman, and Scully Simms. Moss “Mossman” Raxlen, the Montreal based reggae producer recorded the reunion session at Tuff Gong Studios in Kingston, Jamaica.

The king of the toasters U-Roy performs “Stop that Train.” This version is amazing and steeped in deep meaning. For historical context one must know about the trains in Jamaica and the boom and bust of economic development in newly independent Jamaica (Jamaica won independence from the United Kingdom in 1963). The film does a brilliant job of contextualizing the songs. We know exactly where U-Roy is coming from when he toasts over this classic tune. After the bust the trains stopped, the jobs ran out, the rude boys started to roam the streets, and many Jamaicans sought jobs overseas. When U-Roy toasts over “Stop That Train” he talks about the trains stopping and the people leaving. There is so much soul and history and culture wrapped into one song.

The vocal-group trio the Tamlins are in tip top form and the band leader/guitarist Ernest Ranglin has still got the goods. The drummer Sly Dunbar forms the backbone of the band as he has for decades and the rest of the legendary studio musicians perform magnificently recapturing the fire of the past.

There are some real gems in this film. Hopeton Lewis lays down the rocksteady anthem “Take It Easy” and later sings an excellent rocksteady version of “Rivers of Babylon.” Dawn Penn records her bread and butter track “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)” and she talks about the endurance and popularity of the song. Derrick Morgan’s “Tougher Than Tough,” Ken Boothe’s Freedom Street,” Leroy Sibbles’s “Equal Rights,” and Judy Mowatt’s “Silent River Runs Deep” all appear, as well as a great rendition of Desmond Dekker’s classic “007 (Shanty Town)” by Ken Boothe. Marcia Griffiths performs “The Tide Is High” and reminiscences with Judy Mowatt about their time with the producer Coxsone Dodd, the legendary vocal group the I-Threes and with Bob Marley and the Wailers. A guest appearance by Rita Marley follows the widow through Trenchtown where she elaborates on the conditions of the ghetto and recalls her time with Bob in the yard.

I don’t want to give too much away about the film, but it will make you smile, laugh, and tap your toes. For people interested in music and culture, I highly recommend seeing this film. The album will release on the heels of the movie. The Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae album, which releases in August 2009, promises to be a big hit too. Many critics are comparing it to the Buena Vista Social Club, but I think it will be even bigger than Ry Cooder’s classic documentary about Cuban jazzmasters. Rocksteady will be an instant classic!

Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae