The 100 greatest tunes released by Pama Records (70-61)

Slim Smith – Everybody Needs Love
Label: Unity / Year of Release: 1968

Produced by Bunny Lee but issued in Jamaica on Sonia Pottinger’s High Note label. Everybody Needs Love was the fourth full release on the Unity label and a big seller in both the Uk and Jamaica, it was popular that Slim’s LP on Pama was given the same title and Bunny Lee well and truly rinsed this rhythm with five or six different cuts (see number 93 for example). Slim Smith stayed faithful to Bunny Lee from 1968 right through to his tragic death in 1973 recording literally dozens of title for the producer.

Lloyd Jones – Rome
Label: Bullet / Year of Release: 1969

Another great Harry Mudie production, issued on his Moodisc label in Jamaica. This lovely plaintive vocal that could be a metaphor for repatriation has been largely eclipsed by the instrumental version of the same rhythm, Jo Jo Bennett’s Leaving Rome (released in the UK on Trojan in 1970). Also look out for the deejay cut by Big Joe – Set Your Face At Ease recorded in the mid 70’s.

Winston Samuels – Here I Come Again
Label: Crab / Year of Release: 1969

Winston Samuels had been singing since the mid 60’s but this fine vocal with unidentified backing singers is as good as anything he cut in the Ska era. One of only two tracks Samuels recorded for producer Lloyd Daley (the other being Give To Get), it was released on a blank only in Jamaica. Yet another tune that is all too frequently overlooked but it’s a classic in this house.

Stranger Cole – Life Can Be Beautiful
Label: Unity / Year of Release: 1969

Production credits are not clear on this one, it’s could be Bunny Lee but it’s most likely Wilburn Theodore “Stranger” Cole himself. Life Can Be Beautiful was released in Jamaica on the Carib-Dis-Co label using UK stampers so it seems likely that the Unity issue came first. There are two different vocal pieces by John Holt on this rhythm; A Little Tear (that was also released on Unity in the UK) and I’ll Be Yours and a couple of obscure instrumental cuts. See the Dancecrasher Unity label discography for more details.

Alton Ellis – Black Man’s Pride (AKA Living In A White Man’s Land/Black Man’s Word)
Label: Bullet / Year of Release: 1971

One of the very greatest of Jamaica’s singers, surprisingly this is only Alton Ellis’s second appearance on this list (see also number 78) but he may be back! This is a stunning vocal that he voiced several times under different titles for different producers. This particular issue credits Sydney Crooks as producer which would mean it was most likely done in the UK, it was released on a Sunshot blank in Jamaica.

The Youth – Fire Fire
Label: Pama / Year of Release: 1971

This double sider, with Jesus Keepeth My Soul on the A side, is actually by UK based roots legend Trevor Sutherland AKA Ijahman Levi and is I assume a UK production. Sutherland had recorded a couple of times before this as The Youth and after this he went on to record the classics I’m A Levi and Jah Heavy Load for Dennis Harris’s Concrete Jungle and Lucky labels and then the great LP Hail I Hymn released on Island records.

Rhythm Rulers (actually Im & David) – Sea Breeze
Label: Gas / Year of Release: 1970

A fabulous horns cut of the vocal Words Of Temptation (AKA Teach Me) which is on the flip side of this release. The vocal is credited to “Pat” and it certainly does sound like Pat Kelly but is actually Earl Lawrence (AKA George Faith). This is a Winston Riley production, the Jamaican issue was on the Tru-Soul label.

Inspirations – Love Oh Love
Label: Camel / Year of Release: 1969

The second release on the Camel label, a Lee Perry production from the duo The Inspirations who were Ransford White (AKA Billy Dyce) and Trevor Shaw (AKA Jimmy London). One of Perry’s biggest hits of the era was by the Inspirations with the classic Tighten Up (credited to The Untouchables on both UK and Jamaican issues). There is no A or B side indicated on the label of this release but the matrix gives Love Oh Love as the B side. This was issued on an Upsetter blank in Jamaica.

The Inspirations – Down In The Park
Label: Camel / Year of Release: 1969

The flip side of Love Oh Love, same artists, same producer. Both sides are superb examples of late 60’s uptempo reggae and neither could be left out of this list. In his book People Funny Boy David Katz says that The Inspirations felt that Perry was not giving them enough attention and they moved to Joe Gibbs, this must have happened in 1969. They appear to have gone their separate ways in 1970 and both Billy Dyce and Jimmy London went on to record as solo artists, Jimmy London doing so with considerable success.

The Emotions – Halleluiah
Label: Supreme / Year of Release: 1970

An almost perfectly formed reggae tune released in 1970 and once again it’s amazing how much the sound had changed in around 12 months (this was apparently recorded on 2nd December 1969) . A Lloyd Daley production issued on a blank in Jamaica. The Emotions at this time were Audley Rollen, Leroy Turner and Milton Henry, they were a continuation of Robbie and Lloyd Shakespeare’s group with Max Romeo that had recorded for Ken Lack in the rocksteady era.

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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