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SoundStudio One Sound (SJRCD 256 - 2012)

Slim Smith - Hip Hug
Ras Michael And The Sons Of Negus - Good People
Lord Tanamo - Keep On Moving
Wailing Souls - Trouble Maker
Rita Marley - Call To Me
Johnny Osbourne - All I Have Is Love
The Martinis - I Second That Emotion
Irvin Brown - Run Come
The Heptones - Give Give Love
Anthony 'Rocky' Ellis - Trouble Minded Man
Jackie Opel - The Lord Is With Us
Dub Specialist - Happy Feelings
Prince Lincoln - Live Up To Your Name
Ken Boothe - I Am A Fool
Reuben Alexander - Happy Valley
Larry Marshall -There's A Fire
Roland Alphonso - Rolando Special
Freddie McGregor - Homeward Bound
 
In 1963 Clement Seymour Dodd, Kingston's leading Sound System operator (under the name Sir Coxsone the Downbeat) opened his own studio at 13 Brentford Road. In the beginning Studio One operated with one-track facilities - the instrumental track would be recorded first, often using a single microphone, and then the vocal track and horns would be added later. The studio was converted to two-track in 1965, and later extended to eight-track. Around 250 individual albums have been recorded at Studio One, and more than six thousand titles have been released as singles in Jamaica alone. Styles of music encompassed in the Studio One catalogue include Calypso, Mento, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, Soul, Funk, Soca, Steel Band, Gospel and Dub.

Enthusiasts claim that they can recognise the distinctive sound of a Studio One recording. There are no doubt specific sonic characteristics that are unique to Brentford Road, but the Studio One sound is to a greater extent dependent on the combined talents of numerous individuals: the writers, the arrangers, the session musicians, the recording engineers, and the hundreds and hundreds of artists who passed through the studio. however, the one common denominator in all the classic recordings released by Studio One is Clement Seymour 'Coxsone' Dodd. Here is just a small sample of the Studio One sound.

1. Slim Smith -Hip Hug (1967)
Keith 'Slim' Smith was born in Kingston in 1948. In 1962, together with Winston Riley, Franklyn White and Frederick Waite, he was a founding member and lead singer of The Techniques, a vocal group who scored several big hits for Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label. He left the group in 1966 to pursue a solo career at Studio One (later forming The Uniques with Roy Shirley and Franklyn White). Slim Smith died tragically in a domestic accident in 1973, at just 25 years of age. 'Hip Hug' (also known as 'Hip Hug Girl') was originally released on the rare Uptown label in Jamaica, and on the Coxsone label in the UK.

2. Ras Michael And The Sons Of Negus - Good People (1979)
Ras Michael (born Michael George Henry in 1943) grew up in Kingston in the Rastafarian communities of Salt Lane, Trenchtown and Back-A-Wall, where he learned the African tradition of hand drumming. In the early 1960s he formed The Sons Of Negus, a group of Nyabhinghi drummers and singers. Ras Michael and Count Ossie were among the first to bring the sound of the Nyabhinghi drums into the recording studio, and Ras Michael became an occasional session musician at Coxsone Dodd's Brentford Road studio. 'Good People' is the only Studio One production to be released by the group.

3. Lord Tanamo - Keep On Moving (1970)
Lord Tanamo (real name Joseph Abraham Gordon) was born in Kingston in 1934. Although best known as a Ska performer, Tanamo originally established his reputation as a Mento singer, recording popular 78s for Stanley Motta and Ken Khouri in the 1950s. When the Skatalites formed in 1964 Lord Tanamo acted as their MC and sang lead vocal on their classic hit 'In The Mood For Ska': he has continued to perform with the Skatalites since they reformed in 1983. Lord Tanamo's soulful vocal is recorded over a Jackie Mittoo instrumental titled 'Totaly Together'. 'Keep On Moving' (also known as 'Moving In And Out') was originally released on a Studio One label in Jamaica and on the Banana label in the UK.

4. Wailing Souls - Trouble Maker (1971)
Winston 'Pipe' Matthews and Lloyd 'Bread' McDonald (formerly members of the Renegades vocal trio with George 'Buddy' Haye) joined up with Oswald Downer and Norman Davis in 1968 to form The Wailing Souls (although the first few singles recorded at Studio One, such as 'Back Out With It' and 'Mr Fire Coal Man', were initially credited to The Classics). By 1973 the quartet had left Studio One to work for other producers, and Coxsone Dodd released two retrospective compilations - 'The Wailing Souls' in 1974 and 'Soul & Power' in 1983. 'Trouble Maker' was originally on the 'Soul & Power' album.

5. Rita Marley - Call To Me (1966)
Rita Marley (born Alpharita Constantia Anderson in 1946) began recording at Studio One in 1964 as a member of the Soulettes vocal group (together with Marlene 'Precious' Gifford and Constantine 'Vision' Walker). She also sang duets with Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and Bob Marley, (who she married in 1966), as well as recording several solo singles under her married name. 'Call To Me' was originally released in Jamaica on a Studio One blank label, and on both the Island and Coxsone labels in the UK. (On the Island label the title is given as 'Come To Me', and while the Coxsone label identifies the title correctly it wrongly credits the track to Marcia Griffiths).

6. Johnny Osbourne & The Wild Cats - All I Have Is Love (1969)
Johnny Osbourne was born Errol Osbourne in Jones Town, Kingston in 1947. In 1967 he made his first recordings for producer Winston Riley as lead singer with The Wildcats (which included Earl 'Bagga' Walker on bass guitar). When these failed to make an impact the Wildcats manager financed a session at Studio One at which 'All I Have Is Love' was recorded. Shortly afterwards Johnny Osbourne emigrated to Canada, where he worked with several soul and reggae groups. Johnny returned to Jamaica around 1979, and began recording extensively at Studio One, culminating in the release of the seminal 'Truth And Rights' album later that year.

7. The Martinis - I Second That Emotion (1968)
Emile Straker is best known as the lead vocalist of The Merrymen, a calypso band from Barbados whose numerous recordings were popular throughout the Caribbean, Canada and Europe. What is less well known is that Emile straker recorded three tracks at Studio One in the 1960s under the name of The Martinis - 'I Second That Emotion' (a cover of the Smokey Robinson classic), 'Come Back to Me' and 'Grandfather's Clock'. 'I Second That Emotion' was originally released in Jamaica on a Studio One label, and on the Coxsone label in the UK.

8. Irvin Brown - Run Come (1971)
Four tracks credited to Irvin Brown (whose first name is sometimes spelled Irving) were released on the Bamboo label in the UK - 'Today', 'I'm Still Around', 'Run Come' and 'Let's Make It Up' (which is a miscredit, and is actually by Larry Marshall). Irvin Brown tracks also appear on two Bamboo compilation albums: 'Dying Love' on Natural Reggae Vol.2 and 'Your Love Gets Sweeter' on Freedom Sounds. 'Run Come was originally released on a Studio One label in Jamaica and is notable for being the foundation rhythm for Johnny Osbourne's 'Eternal Peace' from the Truths And Rights LP.

9. The Heptones - Give Give Love (1971)
The Heptones (Leroy Sibbles, Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn) began their career at Studio One in 1965, and over the next five years established themselves as the premier vocal trio in Jamaica. As well as singing lead for the group, Leroy Sibbles also played bass guitar and acted as studio arranger for numerous recording sessions. 'Give Give Love' was one of the last tracks the Heptones recorded at the Brentford Road studio before Leroy Sibbles emigrated to Canada in 1973. 'Give Give Love' was originally released on the Heptones' Freedom Line LP. Sugar Minott would later re-use the rhythm as the basis for 'Give A Hand' on his Live Loving album.

10. Anthony (Rocky) Ellis - Double Minded Man (1977)
Anthony Ellis recorded four tracks for Studio One in 1966 as King Rocky - 'Have Faith', 'You Were Wrong', 'I Know Your Sweetness' and 'The King Is Back'. In 1968 he linked up with the Heptones to record 'Falling In Love' and 'Love Me Girl', credited to Leroy & Rocky. As Anthony (Rocky) Ellis he recorded 'I Am The Ruler' (also in 1968) and 'Double Minded Man'.

11. Jackie Opel - The Lord Is With Me (1964)
Jackie Opel was born Dalton Sinclair Bishop in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1938. In 1960 he was spotted by Byron Lee performing in one of the major hotels and took up the offer of returning to Jamaica as a member of The Dragonaires, although it would seem that he never recorded with them. Instead, in 1964, he joined the fledgling Skatalites as one of their lead singers (and also played bass when Lloyd Brevett wasn't available). As well as being a powerful singer with a six-octave range, he was also a prolific songwriter and arranger. Jackie's style included Ska, R&B, Soul, Gospel and Calypso, and he is credited with inventing spouge music, a fusion of Calypso and Ska with Rhythm & Blues. 'The Lord Is With Me' was originally issued on a Rolando & Powie label in Jamaica, and on their Ska Beat label in the UK.

12. Dub Specialist - Happy Feelings (1972)
Studio One released twelve dub albums between 1972 and 1980. Originally issued in fairly limited quantities, and often crudely screen printed sleeves, the dub series exemplified the fundamental roots of the Studio One sound. Most of the album tracks were classic and timeless rhythms stripped back to their bare essentials, but occasionally an unreleased instrumental would be added to the selection. 'Happy Feelings' sounds like a Jackie Mittoo musical sketch that never made it beyond the studio until Mr Dodd, the Dub Specialist, retrieved it from the tape vault. 'Happy Feelings' was originally released on the Ital Sounds & System Dub LP.

13. Prince Lincoln - Live Up To Your Name - (1972)
Prince Lincoln Thompson was born in Jonestown, Kingston in 1949 and began his singing career as a member of The Tartans (with Cedric Myton, Devon Russell and Linbergh Lewis). They achieved several hits in the late 1960s with releases on the Merritone and Caltone labels. The group split up in 1969 and prince Lincoln moved to Studio One where he recorded three singles - 'Daughters Of Zion', 'True Experience' and 'Live Up To Your Name'. Prince Lincoln is perhaps best known as the lead singer with The Royal Rasses, who recorded several popular albums in the 1980s. 'Live Up To Your Name' was originally released in Jamaica on the Bongo Man label.

14. Ken Boothe - I Am A Fool (1966)
Ken Boothe was born in Kingston in 1948 and began singing while still at school. After achieving some success in the 1960s with Stranger Cole (as duo Stranger & Ken), Ken Boothe scored his first solo hits with 'Come Running Back', 'You're No Good', 'Lonely Teardrops' and 'The Train Is Coming' (with backing vocals by The Wailers). Ken left Studio One in 1970 and continued to pursue a distinguished career that saw him achieve international recognition. In acknowledgment of his outstanding contribution to Jamaican music the Jamaican government awarded Ken Boothe the Order of Distinction in 2003. 'I Am A Fool' was originally issued as a single in Jamaica on the Supreme label. The scorching saxophone solo at the end of the track is provided by Roland Alphonso.

15. Rheuben Alexander - Happy Valley (C.1973)
Rheuben Alexander played saxophone as a session musician at Studio One as a member of the Brentford All Stars band, but he also recorded several titles under his own name (more usually spelled Reuben Alexander), including 'Un Poquito' (with Sugar Belly), 'Love Desire', 'Meditation', 'Pressure Rock' and 'What A Fire': the latter two both issued as 12" discomixes. 'Happy Valley', released in Jamaica on a Studio One label, is an instrumental version of the 'He Prayed' rhythm, originally recorded by Burning Spear.

16. Larry Marshall - There's A Fire(C.1970)
Larry Marshall was born Fitzroy Marshall in Saint Ann Parish (on the north coast of Jamaica) in 1941. He moved to Kingston in 1957 and recorded for several producers before joining Studio One in the late 1960s. He scored several hits with Alvin Leslie as Larry & Alvin, most notably with 'Nanny Goat' in 1968 - generally regarded as the key transitional link between rocksteady and reggae. In the early 1070s Larry was employed at Brentford Road as assistant studio engineer to Sylvan Morris, as well as working as a songwriter and session arranger. 'There's A Fire' was originally included on the Reggaematic Sounds LP (released on the Bamboo label in the UK in 1970) credited to the Freedom Singers (the catch-all name for whichever vocalist happened to be in the studio when the session was being recorded).

17. Roland Alphonso - Rolando Special (1967)
Roland Alphonso was born in Havana, Cuba in 1931. When he was fifteen years old his mother bought him a saxophone - and just two years later he was playing with the renowned Eric Dean's Orchestra. After passing through several other bands on the Jamaican hotel circuit, he made his first recording as a member of Stanley Motta's group in 1952. By 1956 Roland was working as a session musician and arranger at Studio One and was a founder member of The Skatalites, The Soul Brothers and The Soul Vendors bands. Roland played on more Studio One recordings than anyone else (with the exception of Jackie Mittoo). 'Rolando Special' was originally released on later pressings of the Soul Vendors On Tour LP, where it was wrongly listed as 'Just A Bit O' Soul'.

18. Freddie McGregor - Homeward Bound (1979)
Freddie McGregor made his first recording at Studio One in 1966 at the age on ten, when he joined Fitzroy 'Ernest' Wilson and Peter Austin in The Clarendonians (with Freddie having to stand on a crate to reach the microphone). When The Clarendonians disbanded later the same year he continued to record as a duo with Ernest Wilson as Fitzy & Freddie, as well as solo as Little Freddie. Throughout the 1970s Freddie worked at Brentford Road as a session drummer and harmony singer, meanwhile continuing to develop his craft as a singer, songwriter and arranger. After converting to Rastafarianism in 1975 Freddie recorded a series of classic roots singles, including 'Africa Here I Come', 'Bobby Bobylon', 'Rastaman Camp', 'I Man A Rasta' and 'Homeward Bound' (which was released as a single in Jamaica on a Studio One label).
 
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