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Jackie Mittoo - Last Train To Skaville (SJRCD 080 - 2003)

Train To Skaville
James Bond
Voodoo Moon
Ska Shuffle
Take Ten
Chicken And Booze
Honey Pot
Mr Flint
Dr Ding Dong
Got My Boogaloo
From Russia With Love
Ska-Culation
Home Made
Sufferer's Choice
One Stop
Hot And Cold
 
Jackie Mittoo is one of the most important artists in the history of Jamaican music. As founding member of the legendary Skatalites, as in-house arranger and music director at Studio One and as a solo artist in his own right leading groups such as The Soul Brothers, Soul Vendors and Sound Dimension.

The Soul Brothers recorded at Studio One between 1965-1967, the transitionary period between Ska and Rocksteady. Their music was a mixture of Jamaican Funk, Latin and Jazz sometimes with a reminder of Ska and the hint of Rocksteady. The previous era of Ska had been dominated by The Skatalites. The Skatalites were made up of Don Drummond, Roland Alphonso, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore, Lloyd Knibbs, Lloyd Brevett, Tommy McCook, Ernest Ranglin and Lester Sterling. formed in 1963, The Skatalites were the first in-house band at Studio One and created scores of classic hits such as "Guns Of Navarone", "Man In The Street", "El Pussy Cat Ska" and many more. Unfortunately the strong personalities in the group meant that The Skatalites stayed together for less than two years.

In August 1965, barely a week after the demise of the original Skatalites, The Soul Brothers (featuring ex-Skatalites members Jackie Mittoo, Roland Alphonso, Johnny Moore and Lloyd Brevett) were up and running as the new house band at Studio One. Other members in this group included Wallin Cameron (guitar) and Bunny Williams (drums).

This release could just as easily have been called Roland Alphonso and The Soul Brothers or just The Soul Brothers as the group were essentially a collective, releasing material under their own name or under a niminal leader (usually Jackie Mittoo or Roland Alphonso). The group line-up changed over time with Bobby Ellis (trumpet), Bryan Atkinson (bass), Dennis Campbell (sax), Harry Haughton (guitarist) and Joe Isaacs (drummer) replacing various members alongside the ever present Jackie Mittoo.

Clement 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd described The soul Brothers mix of musical styles as Ska, jump-Up and Soul sounds. The opening track "Train To Skaville" signalled the end of the Ska era, as The Soul Brothers started to forge a new sound. One of the main stylistic differences between the earlier Skatalites and The Soul Brothers is the arrival of electric instrumentation such as Jackie's organ and the electric guitar.

In 1967 Clement Dodd sent a group of musicians to tour England. Alongside the singers Alton Ellis and Ken Boothe, he asked Roland Alphonso, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore, Lloyd Brevett, Bunny Williams and Errol Walters. This group would be named The Soul Vendors and signalled the end of the short-lived Soul Brothers. Shortly afterwards Jackie Mittoo recorded his first solo hit "Ram Jam" with his new group The Soul Vendors. The following years would see Mittoo become an even more dominant figure at Studio One.

The recordings included here, however, are all from the short period 1965-1967 when Jackie Mittoo was developing his new style and The Soul Brothers bridged the gap between Ska and Rocksteady.

As Sir Coxsone stated at the time "The Soul Brothers possess a Crystal Clear Sound. Obviously it would be better to Cut the Chatter and Spin the Platter".

 
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