The Story Of Blue Beat: 1960 is real musical history lesson and a thoroughly entertaining one at that. Over two CD’s Sunrise records have collected all of the A and B sides from the first 24 Blue Beat releases dating back to 1960. Coupled with another ten tunes from other labels in the Blue Beat family; Melodisc, Limbo and Duke we get an impressive 58 tunes chronicling the earliest days of Jamaican recorded music in all it’s styles. The subtitle “The Best Of Ska” is taking things a bit far, there may be some early shuffle tunes here alongside the R&B and the ballads but 1960 was a few years away from full blown ska. Still as the Blue Beat label is synonymous with ska this misrepresentation is forgiveable.
Theo Beckford – Easy Snapping
This collection has been made possible as the earliest Blue Beat issues are out of copyright 50 years after their original release, as noted before we are in for exciting times as a flood of similar material hits us year on year from now on.
I’ve never been a huge fan of the music of this period and I’m clearly not the only one as original Blue Beats from the very early 60’s have never been hugely collectable and rarely command the highest prices. That said this compilation holds up remarkably well, there are some mighty tunes here and more than a handful of out and out classics.
Laurel Aitken – More Whisky
The sleeve notes by Phil Etgart are exemplary with only the size of the small print size being an issue. Given the age of the music presented here and the fact that these would all have been sourced from vinyl the sound quality is really impressive, even if you do own the originals you’re unlikely to have them sounding as clean as they do on this release. It’s undoubtedly true that if and when this series reaches the years 1964 and 1965 that these will be amazing releases that eclipse the music here, but for fans of early styles and anyone who has more than a passing interest in the roots of Jamaican music this release comes highly recommended.