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Studio One Lovers (SJRCD 116 - 2005)

Delroy Wilson - I Don't Know Why
Basil Daley - Hold Me Baby
Myrna Hague - Touch Me Baby
John Holt And The Paragons - Darling, I Need Your Loving
The Sharks - How Could I Live
Mad Lads - Ten To One
Jackie Mittoo - Reggae Magic
Larry And Alvin - Your Love
Freddie And Jenny - Too Long Will Be Too Late
Alton Ellis - Let Him Try
Albert Tomlinson - Don't Wait For Me
Horace Andy - Got To Be Sure
Carlton And His Shoes - Never Give Your Heart Away
The Heptones - Ready To Learn
Bob And Marcia - Really Together
Ernest Wilson - Undying Love
Bob Marley & The Wailers - I'm Still Waiting
Doreen Schaeffer - We're All Alone
 
This album features only the finest Lovers Rock from Jamaica's finest ever label. From Blues parties in London, Birmingham, Bristol, etc, Lovers Rock quickly became in the late 70s one of the UK's finest-ever musical movements. Sweet harmonies, soulful reggae, love songs - the key ingredients of Lovers Rock - went hand in hand with the revival of many of the classic Rocksteady and early Reggae harmony groups of the late 60s, such as The Heptones, Carlton And The Shoes, Larry And Alvin, john Holt & The Paragons. At this earlier period in time Clement 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd's Studio One and rival Duke Reid's Treasure Isle were each producing hit after hit by vocal harmony groups as the two studios fought for dominance in the dancehalls of Kingston.

As well as these classic harmony groups, this album also features fine contributions from many of the reggae greats - Horace Andy, Alton Ellis, Bob Marley And The Wailers, Delroy Wilson - all artists who became stars at the legendary Studio One Records, which Chris Blackwell founder of Island Records, describes as "The University Of Reggae". The musicians accompanying the artists during this period were predominantly the Sound Dimension - the in-house band made up of Jackie Mittoo or Richard Ace (keyboards), Leroy Sibbles (bass), Eric frater (guitar), Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, Phil Callender (drums) plus horns from Roland Alphonso, Vin Gordon, Cedric Brooks, Headley Bennett and others. With backing harmonies also provided by resident vocalists of the calibre of Larry Marshall, horace Andy, Leroy Sibbles and Enis Cumberland, this makes for some of the greatest music ever made, period. To cap it all, Sylvan Morris, perhaps the finest ever recording engineer to come out of Jamaica, was also on hand to record it all for the benefit of generations to come.

ALTON ELLIS "LET HIM TRY"
Readers, I cannot find the words to describe how good this record is - it's rock steady and you cannot escape the passion and integrity in Alton's vocals and delivery. When it comes to expressing pain and joy Alton is simply the best - addictive listening slit-throat music. Original version by Rosco Gordon (Recorded 1967).

ALBERT TOMLINSON "DON'T WAIT FOR ME"
Another dynamite smash which didn't actually smash at the time of it's release. With so many releases week to week coming out of Jamaica good records still get lost or overlooked up to this day. Anyway this solo effort from Albert Tomlinson of the Lyrics is yet again a timeless infectious rock steady lovers. Original copies of this release trade for big money - in any currency a priceless tune (Recorded 1968).

HORACE ANDY "GOT TO BE SURE"
From the moment you hear this track open you're hooked on to Jackie Mittoo's organ and Leroy Sibbles or Eric Fraters's bassline you think its roots then Horace Andy comes in and takes it to another level and a different direction with, as you already know, his unique tone of voice. He's not singing the usual 'I love you, I want you, etc' - the dark side of a love warning from Horace matches the mood of the rhythm, the result is an ace in the pack. (Recorded 1970).

ERNEST WILSON "UNDYING LOVE"
After a spell as the Clarendonians with Peter Austin and Freddie McGregor this was one of his first solo songs and a rocking steady beat - you just can't fault this, it's lovers of the highest degree out of the Studio One camp. (Recorded 1968)

DELROY WILSON "I DON'T KNOW WHY"
From the moment this tracks kicks in and Delroy starts to sing it commands attention. Simple lyrics but very effective and to the point - this is again rock steady lovers at its best. (Recorded 1968)

BASIL DALEY "HOLD ME BABY"
Well here is one of the many unknown singers who passed through Brentford Road and made a record there, and what a monster lovers track this is - again another rock steady lovers tune - easy listening, short and sweet., Apart from this recording at Studio One there doesn't seem to be any other recordings at Studio One or anywhere else for that matter by Basil Daley, nevertheless this is a gem. (Recorded 1968)

JOHN HOLT AND THE PARAGONS "DARLING I NEED YOUR LOVING"
This is an early reggae recording from the Paragons with John holt on lead vocals. Tyrone Evans and Howard Barrett on harmonies, real faultless singing from John Holt which is why he is a household name in the reggae world. Quality lovers from the Big S. (Recorded 1969)

THE SHARKS "HOW COULD I LIVE"
released in 1968 in England as a b side, also released in Jamaica, the tune didn't have a big impact at the time but is a unique tune of it's time with some unusual chord changes going on. The song was later covered by Dennis Brown and the record absolutely wrecks the place when dropped, but here we have the blueprint for you. The Sharks were Dwight Pinkney, the guitarist, Lloyd Robinson of 'Cuss Cuss' fame, Alfred Crossley and Danny McFarlane. (Recorded 1968)

MYRNA HAGUE "TOUCH ME BABY"
Jazz singer Myrna Hague performs this Johnny Bristol track and totally dominates the song in her own style. This one is what I would describe as real polished quality reggae lovers without losing the grit of reggae. A jazz singer singing reggae lovers makes this a one off, check it. (Recorded 1976/77)

THE MAD LADS "TEN TO ONE"
'Ten To One' is another adapted track by the Impressions who were mentors to many Jamaican solo artists and groups in Jamaica. This version is by the Mad Lads - lead vocals on this is by George Allison backed up by Delroy Williams who went on to further his career with Horace (Augustus Pablo) Swaby. The song is beautifully covered and has been a long time favourite at blues parties. Originally it was released under the first group name The Highlites, then got re-issued around 1971 under the Mad Lads moniker - another classic lovers. (Recorded 1968)

FREDDIE AND JENNY "TOO LONG WILL BE TOO LATE"
Never issued as a single, the rhythm first came with Sugar Minott on vocals with a song called 'Is It True', then followed by this cut which is no second best. It's a lovely duet with Freddie McGregor and Jennifer Lara expressing undying love for each other, maybe too sweet for some, I love this track. (Recorded 1981/82)

CARLTON AND HIS SHOES "NEVER GIVE YOUR HEART AWAY"
This group of brothers have amazing singing tones, all three members, Carlton takes lead vocal on this song - his voice is so subtle it would melt any steely heart. This is the overdubbed version with a pick guitar playing along with the bassline and a snare drum which uplifts the tempo and feel for Carltons sweet voice.  The original consisted of just bass, kick drum and rhythm. Someone at Studio One realised the rhythm was too raw for Carltons subtle tones and expression so added these overdubs to make it the perfect lovers with angelic harmonies. (Recorded 1975)

THE HEPTONES "READY TO LEARN"
This Barbara Mason song has been covered many times by American and Jamaican artists and strangely enough all are quite good versions but this is the first reggae version and one of the best, from the Heptones. The musicians play so tight (the Sound Dimension) and Leroy doesn't hold back on his vocals - he sounds like he means every word he's saying. This cut is worthy of a single release and it never got one. (recorded 1971)

BOB AND MARCIA "REALLY TOGETHER"
Bob Andy is by far one of Jamaica's best songwriters of the day and although he didn't pen this, this song is in Bob's class. It's a beautiful love song sung with Marcia Griffiths. Up to this day I've not heard a duet male/female out of Jamaica of the perfection of Bob and Marcia. These two went on to bigger success in the national charts with 'Young, Gifted And Black' and 'Pied Piper', but this tune is a masterpiece, a first class duet indeed. (Recorded 1968)

LARRY AND ALVIN "YOUR LOVE"
Your love is one of the earliest Studio One rock steady singles and is most definitely built to last - Larry Marshall and Alvin Leslie works so well together. Although Larry Marshall made more of a name for himself than Alvin, this record wouldn't have the same effect and feel without Alvin. If you check out their first hit tune 'Nanny Goat', there's a version without Alvin and it's instantly noticeable that it's like heat without cool breeze. I've often wondered why the engineer cuts the percussion and drums at the end, but I've grown and lived with it that way and I wouldn't have it any other way. This is the first version with no overdubs - another diamond. (recorded 1967)

JACKIE MITTOO "REGGAE MAGIC"
This fine cut not only features Jackie on his keyboard but he also takes the microphone. The song is kind of cheesy in a nice way - by the time you hear or get to the hook it's irresistible. This version is the second version, recorded around 1979 possibly a little earlier. The original version was recorded in 1972 and is a skeleton of this version. This tune I remember as a big blues dance tune where the real music was always played - a gem. (Recorded 1978/79)

DOREEN SCHAEFFER "WE'RE ALL ALONE"
Doreen is one of the original female singers at Studio One yet she didn't cut many solo titles there, just a handful - she did lots of harmony work and also she recorded a few duets. 'We're All Alone is a Boz Scaggs composition. Check out the Studio One lick, a nice tune for easy listening - slots nicely on the album. (Recorded 1977)

BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS "I'M STILL WAITING"
Savour this beautiful ballad from Bob, an excellent song from the love side. This version is the first of three versions known to the public - the other two version are different musically as well as slightly different lyrically where Bob toys with the words. This record wasn't and still isn't as popular as some of his other titles. Cornell Campbell does a version on this track but Delroy Wilson takes the cake in 1976 with his version for Lloyd Charmers - even so this is a fine hour with Bob. (Recorded 1966)

Oxman

 
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