The 100 greatest tunes released by Pama Records (90-81)

The Itals – Oh Lord Why Lord
Label: Punch / Year of Release: 1969

On the same rhythm as Rupie Edwards – Uncertain Love (see number 100). Short and sweet – this one clocks in at under a couple of minutes, the lyrics could have been developed too with just the same verse sung twice. But when the harmonies are as good as this all can be forgiven, it’s two minutes of pure quality. A Rupie Edward production issued in Jamaica on his Success label. Errol Dunkley cut a tune called Oh Lord for Randy’s in around ’71 which was adapted from this but with a few more lyrics!

The Tartons (The Tartans) – Solid As A Rock
Label: Unity / Year of Release: 1969

A Caltone/Ken Lack Rocksteady from circa 1968 on it’s first release and tucked away on a B side. Check the percussion which lifts this into something quite memorable. The Tartans were full of talent featuring Cedric Myton, Prince Lincoln Thompson, Devon Russell and Lindburgh Lewis. They recorded around 20 tunes, mainly for Caltone and Merritone, between 1967 and ’68.

The Maytones – Sentimental Reason
Label: Camel / Year of Release: 1969

The Maytones took their name for their hometown of Maypen in Clarendon, they were a duo; Vernon Buckley and Gladstone Grant. They recorded almost exclusively for Alvin “GG” Ranglin from 1968 (their first release was Loving Reggae) through to the early ’80’s. Sentimental Reason is less ‘country’ than their later trademark sound but it’s a prime slice of uptempo early Reggae.

Johny Organ – Don Juan
Label: Camel / Year of Release: 1969

A wonderful horns cut of Man Of My Word by The Techniques. A Winston Riley production, this was released in Jamaica on his Techniques label. The Johny Organ artist credit is a bit of a mystery however it’s not a case of Pama mistitling as the Jamaican credit was the same (though spelled Johnnie), the Techniques All Stars or even Boris Gardiner And The Love People is probably more accurate.

Lloyd Robinson – The Worm
Label: Camel / Year of Release: 1970

A Lloyd Daley productions issued on the Matador label in Jamaica and the second Lloyd Robinson tune is this list. Robinson was already something of a veteran by the time this was released having started recording for Coxsone Dodd as a member of the Mellowlarks at the very start of the 1960’s. There was an adapted version of The Worm with altered lyrics recorded in the UK; Queen Of the World credited to Lloyd And Claudette, I’ve always assumed The Worm came first but don’t know for certain. The B side has a great organ cut of the same rhythm, Afro, by Neville Hinds (spelled Hynes on both Jamaican and UK issues).

Ernest Wilson – It’s A Lie
Label: Crab / Year of Release: 1970

A spectacular vocal effort from ex Clarendonian member Ernest Wilson, It’s A Lie is rarely mentioned when people list Wilson’s best recordings but this is as soulful and heartfelt as you can get; a simply wonderful tune. There doesn’t seem to have been a Jamaican issue of this and the Crab label credits don’t give any indication of who the producer was but Roots Knotty Roots has this down as Bunny Lee.

The Ethiopians – Love Bug
Label: Supreme / Year of Release: 1971

An Alvin Ranglin production this was released in Jamaica on his GG records label, it was also released in the UK by Trojan on their GG subsidiary (and is far more common on this release). The Ethiopians recorded literally dozens of titles for many producers from the late 60’s and in to the 70’s though only around five were for Ranglin. The flip side of Love Bug has a second piece on the same rhythm called Sound Of Our Forefathers.

The Termites – I’ll be Waiting
Label: Camel / Year of Release: 1969

Another example of great harmonies and the first Lee Perry production on this list. After working with Coxsone Dodd and Joe Gibbs Perry struck out on his own in 1968 and almost immediately was making both groundbreaking and commercially successful music. I’ll Be Waiting was issued on a blank only in Jamaica, there was also a second UK release by Trojan on their Upsetter label. Roots Knotty Roots lists this as the Inspirations but other sources all seem to go with the Termites.

Chenley Duffus (actually Shenley) – Standing On The Hill
Label: Pama / Year of Release: 1973

More from Lee Perry and something of a forgotten gem by another veteran artist Shenley Duffus who first recorded in the late 50’s. According to David Katz in his book People Funny Boy, Perry first tried to record this with Roydel Johnson (Congo Ashanti Roy) but when this didn’t work out Shenley Duffus stepped in. Standing On The Hill was released in 1973 and must have been recorded around the same time as the classic To Be A Lover, though unlike that this wasn’t a huge hit.

Marcia Griffiths – Don’t Let Me Down
Label: Escort / Year of Release: 1969

A cover of the Beatles track that was pretty much contemporary with the original as the Beatles released this in the same year. This was recorded for producer Harry J and released in Jamaica on his label of the same name. Griffiths recorded a handful of solo tracks for Harry J but hit the big time with him when she teamed up with Bob Andy for the international hit Young, Gifted And Black.

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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