Rocksteady 'The Roots of Reggae'
Label: Moll-Selekta / Rhythmethod
Release Date: Coming Soon!
Recorded in April 2008 at Tuff Gong Studio, Kingston, Jamaica in connection with the wonderful documentary film “Rocksteady – The Roots Of Reggae”
For more information visit: www.rocksteadyrootsofreggae.com OR www.moll-selekta.com
In the style of Wim Wenders' Buena Vista Social Club, Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae reunites some of the old-timers behind those great records to revisit their hits in the studio and, ultimately, to perform a live show. It's a fascinating look at the times, but what keeps one coming back to this film, and its excellent soundtrack, is the music…
Check out the trailer for the film here
Rocksteady the album shares its title with the wonderful film, a heartwarming homage to the golden age of rocksteady. It 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. Excerpts from an all star reunion concert staged in Kingston and older archive material complete the picture. Never before in the history of Jamaica, which already occupies a unique place on the world map of song, its sound embraced by western popular music, 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, but also on the jazz scene, mixed by legendary engineer Errol Brown – in Duke Reid’s employ at the 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. Lynn Taitt – alongside Ernest Ranglin the most famous guitarist and bandleader in 1960s Jamaica, was actually penciled in to direct proceedings, but had to withdraw for health reasons.
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 its emphasis on bass, more intricate melodies and by bringing singers and vocal trios to the fore. Between 1966 -1968, an unprecedented, and unrepeated, proliferation of marvellous songs moved many fans to call this the golden age.
Perhaps the show will take to the road, following in the footsteps of the Buena Vista Social Club, whose renaissance and the accompanying resurgence of interest in Cuban music owed much to a cinematic portrait by Wim Wenders. This wonderful musical style from Jamaica and the great personalities behind it would certainly be deserving of similar belated recognition.
A historical and essential work in every respect, guaranteed to sweeten the summer for reggae fans everywhere and hopefully opening a door onto Jamaican musical history for a whole host of other listeners.
The CD come in a special 8-page digipack with 15 new recordings of old classics many photos of all the artists and a 16 page booklet containing extensive liner notes by the American music journalist Chuck Foster, who takes a closer look at the rocksteady years. Detailed background on each song and its performers rounds off the package.
LEROY SIBBLES: People Rocksteady
HOPETOWN LEWIS: Sounds & Pressure
JUDY MOWATT: Silent River Runs Deep
U-ROY: Stop That Train
KEN BOOTHE: Freedom Street
DERRICK MORGAN: Tougher Than Tough
DAWN PENN: You Don’t Love Me (No No No)
STRANGER COLE FEAT. GLADSTONE ANDERSON: Love Me Today
HOPETOWN LEWIS: Rivers Of Babylon
KEN BOOTHE: Shanty Town (007)
MARCIA GRIFFITHS: Tide Is High
LEROY SIBBLES: Equal Rights
DERRICK MORGAN: Conquering Ruler
HOPETOWN LEWIS: Take It Easy
LYNN TAITT: Bog Walk