Rocksteady: The Roots Of Reggae


Originally released on CD in 2009. Now available on vinyl for the first time. The sixteenth release on the Moll-Selekta label shares its title with a wonderful film, a heartwarming homage to the golden age of rocksteady. Rocksteady: The Roots Of Reggae documents the recordings being made for this very album at the Tuff Gong studios, Kingston, Jamaica in April 2008, telling the story of the original vocalists and musicians involved. Included are excerpts from an all-star reunion concert staged in Kingston alongside older archive material. Never before in the history of Jamaica, which already occupies a unique place on the world map of song, has such an illustrious collection of singers and players been assembled. The album showcases 15 rocksteady classics in sparkling, deeply inspired new versions, recorded in the studio which also played host to album sessions of a certain Bob Marley. Under the musical direction of Ernest Ranglin, a guitarist of considerable renown not only on the reggae circuit, and mixed by legendary engineer Errol Brown -- employ at Duke Reid's Treasure Isle studio in the sixties -- and freshly arranged by Lynn Taitt, each of the new versions was recorded using authentic instruments to capture the true rocksteady style. In the context of Jamaican musical history, rocksteady enjoyed a relatively brief, two to three year spell in the limelight, taking over from the faster-paced, predominantly instrumental ska sound of the early part of the decade and laying the foundation for reggae to come with an emphasis on bass, more intricate melodies, and bringing singers and vocal trios to the fore. Between 1966-1968, an unprecedented, and unrepeated, proliferation of marvelous songs moved many fans to call this the golden age. Hopeton Lewis, one of the creators of rocksteady, the great DJ U-Roy, an international pioneer of toasting, Stranger Cole, Derrick Morgan, and Leroy Sibbles are just a few of the legendary figures taking part, some having met to play together for the first time in forty years. This wonderful musical style from Jamaica and the great personalities behind it would certainly be deserving of similar belated recognition. A historical work in every respect. Features: Leroy Sibbles, Hopeton Lewis, Judy Mowatt, U-Roy, Ken Boothe, Derrick Morgan, Dawn Penn, Stranger Cole, Gladstone Anderson, Marcia Griffith, and Lynn Taitt. Includes a 16-page booklet containing extensive liner notes by the American music journalist Chuck Foster. CD version comes in a digipack.