The 100 greatest tunes released by Pama Records (50-41)

The Soul Cats – Keep It Moving
Label: Camel / Year of Release: 1969

Ewan McDermott had produced and sung on a few ska tunes in the mid 60’s but he really got going around 1967 with his Jolly label. He was associated with Caltone around this time so he worked with Ken Lack and Phil Pratt among others but most frequently he recorded himself, either as a solo singer or as a duo/in a group. Keep It Moving is certainly one of his best recordings with its wonderful gospel tinged vocals and a nice uptempo rhythm that doesn’t run away with itself.

Glen Miller (actually Winston Shan) – Dungeon
Label: Punch / Year of Release: 1972

This is a tune with a story if ever there was one. Originally released by Pama as by Glen Miller then released around four years later on the Mafiatone label (a UK release made to look like a Jamaican one) as by the Wailing Soul. There were two counterfeit issues released circa 2007, one says the artist is Wailing Soul and one Glenn Miller. This is apparently by Winston Shan and is (as the Punch label amazingly gets right) a Ranny Williams production.

Slim Smith – Keep that Light Shining
Label: Unity / Year of Release: 1969

Though the rhythm is best know for Slim Smith’s Ain’t Too Proud To Beg this second cut demonstrates that Slim really did have one of the best voices in the business. Slim had originally recorded this at Studio One in 1966 in a late Ska style but this cut for Bunny Lee is the best remembered. Johnny Osbourne covered this at Studio One around 1980 and good though his version is good it’s a brave man who takes on a Slim Smith classic…

Junior Byles – Got The Tip
Label: Punch / Year of Release: 1971

Junior Byles had been a member of the Versatiles and had recorded with Perry when he worked for Joe Gibbs. By 1970 he was working solo for Perry and in 1971 he hit with Beat Down Babylon. Got The Tip from the same year doesn’t have the same cultural concerns it’s actually a sorry tale about a bad horse racing tip… “you told me a so when you know a no so” but is still a wonderful tune. Beat Down Babylon was issued on both Bullet and Trojan’s Upsetter imprint in the UK but only Pama picked up Got The Tip. Issued on an Upsetter pre-release in Jamaica, this apparently has the Wailers on harmonies.

Tony Brevett – Don’t Get Weary
Label: Supreme / Year of Release: 1971

A classic solo vocal from Tony Brevett taking time out from the Melodians. This was a self production released on the Links label in Jamaica and was Brevett’s biggest and best solo effort (fellow Melodian Brent Dowe was a lot more successful as a solo artist). There are a number of versions of the rhythm, the best being the superb Don’t Get Weary Joe Frazier by I Roy.

The Federals – Call On Me (actually Shocking Love)
Label: Camel / Year of Release: 1970

A reissue of a wonderful Rocksteady track originally issued on Scotty in Jamaica and Island in the UK circa 1968. The Federals were David Scott (AKA Scotty), Valman Smykle and Franklin Spence (AKA A. J. Franklin) when Smykle left in 1969 Scott and Spence joined with Noel “Bunny” Brown and Richard McDonald to form the Chosen Few. This made number 66 on the DanceCrasher Rocksteady list.

The Tartans (actually The Clarendonians) – Lonely Heartaches
Label: Crab / Year of Release: 1969

Another that was on the 100 Greatest Rocksteady Tunes list. Lonely Heartaches made number 41 then and now it’s at number 44. I still love the tune as much as ever but it is a little overplayed these days. Absolutely marvelous Rocksteady from the Clarendonians on it’s first UK issue, this was recorded in 1968 for Ken Lack and issued in Jamaica on the Shockin’ label.

The Versatiles – Children Get Ready
Label: Crab / Year of Release: 1968

The first release on Crab records, released in Jamaica on Enid Barnett’s Deltone label. Lee Perry was working for Enid Barnett/Deltone at the time and apparently produced this along with the other Versatiles records released on Deltone (Action Line, Teardrops Falling and Somebody To Love). The Versatiles were Junior Byles (see also number 47), Ben Davis and Dudley Earl.

Clancy Eccles – What Will Your Mama Say
Label: Punch / Year of Release: 1967

A lovely rocksteady with a superb and instantly recognisable intro. Clancy Eccles had been recording as a singer since the start of the 60’s starting off with a handful of releases for Coxsone Dodd. What Will Your Mama Say from 1967 would have been one of his first recordings when he took the producers seat as well. Eccles wasn’t the greatest vocalist to come out of Jamaica but with the right tune he sounds just great… and this is definitely the right tune!

Slim Smith (actually by The Uniques)- Build My Whole World Around You
Label: Unity / Year of Release: 1969

Tucked away on the flip side of Keep That Light Shining On Me (number 48 on this list) is another rocksetady gem. Build My Whole World Around You is a reissue as this had originally come out on Island in the UK in 1968, it is actually by The Uniques with Slim Smith on lead and not him as a solo artist, the sole credit is presumably because he was scoring hit’s on his own by 1969 and Pama were keen to exploit that with another double sider. This is a cover of Tammi Terrell & Marvin Gaye’s Motown hit from late ’67 and is a Bunny Lee production. A tough late rocksteady rhythm with great lead vocals from one of Jamaica’s finest.

The 100 Greatest Tunes released By Pama Records:
Introduction & Credits > 100-91 > 90-81 > 80-71 > 70-61 > 60-51 > 50-41 > 40-31

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