Sunrise records return with their third instalment of the entire A and B sides of the Blue Beat label. This release is the second and final edition covering 1961 (they’ve previously issued one volume for 1960 and a first part for 1961). It’s frustrating that these are unlikely to reach the golden years of the mid 60’s due to changes in the law. Still, we shall be grateful for what we’ve got which on this occasion is another musical history lesson that showcases many of the most important tracks in the early days of the Jamaican music industry and from a UK perspective the most important label for Jamaican releases for nearly all of the 1960’s.
Rico Rodriguez & Busters All Stars – Luke Lane Shuffle
As Phil Etgart’s excellent sleeve notes point out; on this issue the dominance of Duke Reid and Coxsone Dodd is now very apparent with the only significant challenger being Prince Buster (Buster was always well represented on Blue Beat and in later years he was the number one producer for the label).
The Mellow Cats & Count Ossie’s Warricka’s – Rock A Man Soul
As you’d expect the sounds here carry on where they left of on the last volume with a mix of jumpy R&B and proto ska shuffle tunes alongside the odd ballad and door wop influenced sounds. The sound quality is a mix too with some tunes sounding really great and others less so, clearly betraying that a clean vinyl source was not always forthcoming, nothing is unlistenable though and given the age of the recordings the lack of pristine audio sources is understandable. It might be hard work to listen to both CD’s without a break but there are plenty of quality tunes here that make a purchase more than worthwhile.
The Drumbago All Stars – Corn Bread & Butter
The Story Of Blue Beat 1961 Part 2 is released on 23 April 2012.