The Greatest – William Samuels (Coxsone Dodd production)
The Greatest is surprisingly seldom heard, quite odd since this is a great clash type tune and top notch Studio One Rocksteady to boot.
Winston Samuels emerged as a solo artist in the early 60’s and recorded extensively for Sonia Pottinger in the Rocksteady era but this Brentford Road tune is perhaps his finest moment.
The Greatest was released on a blank in Jamaica and on Island in the UK, it is not currently available.
Rock And Shake – Prince Buster (Prince Buster production)
Prince Buster takes the rhythm from his cut of Dark End Of The Street and turns it into something quite special.
The use of echo/reverb (?) makes this well ahead of it’s time and arguably another missing link in the development of Dub.
Originally issued on a blank in Jamaica and gold UK FAB, Rock And Shake is not currently available (come on Buster sort it out!).
Suicide AKA Hang My Head And Cry – Alva Lewis (Caltone production)
Alva Lewis went on to work as a session guitarist in the Kingston studio’s (most notably as a member of the Upsetters) however he started out in the Rocksteady era as a singer.
It’s hard not to think that a tune where the singer threatens suicide is a bit morbid, but the slow beat of Rocksteady leant itself to downbeat vocals and this is certainly one of the best of them.
Originally issued on the Jontom label in Jamaica and slightly inappropriately on the Jolly label in the UK, Suicide is currently available on Safe Travel – Phill Pratt & Friends (Pressure Sounds PSCD 47).
Got A New Girl AKA First Time I Met You Girl – Larry Marshall (Prince Buster production)
Whilst Busters finest moments were in the Ska era with a whole series of scorching instrumentals he easily held his own in the Rocksteady era as the number of his productions making this top 100 shows.
Larry Marshall recorded extensively with Prince Buster before moving over to Coxsone Dodd with the dawn of Reggae where as well as some classic solo sides he scored massive hits alongside Alvin Leslie with Nanny Goat and Throw Me Corn.
Got A New Girl was issued on an Olive Blossom pre in Jamaica and on Fab in the UK, it has not been re-issued.
Shocking Love AKA You Better Call On Me – The Federals (David Scott production)
The Federals were Valman Smykle, David Scott and Franklyn Spence. This tune, produced by David Scott is one of their strongest with a sublime lead vocal (from Scott himself?) and superb harmonies.
The Federals were around for only a few years in the late 60’s with David Scott and Franklyn Spence joining the Chosen Few when the group broke up. Scott also achieved considerable success as the deejay Scotty, working mainly for Derrick Harriot.
Shocking Love was issued on a blank in Jamaica and on Island in the UK, It was re-issued , a year or so later, by Pama on the Camel label. It is available on the Trojan Rocksteady CD Box Set.
Cool Cool Collie – Hopeton Lewis (Sam Mitchell and Keith Scott production)
Cool Collie is the second Hopeton Lewis tune produced by Scott and Mitchell to be featured (see also number 74). This one is as cool as it’s title suggests with some great piano in the intro and unusual percussion.
Rocksteady would not have been the same without Hopeton Lewis working for Merritone with Keith Scott and Sam Mitchell.
Cool Collie was issued on the Merritone label in Jamaica and on Island in the UK. It is currently available on the CD Take It Easy on K&K records.
Let My People Go – The Rulers (JJ production)
Possibly one of the rarest tunes that will feature on this list and definitely one of the deepest… so much so in fact that it is a bit of an acquired taste.
Let My People Go was covered by Keith Wilson for Studio One as God I God I Say which is a roots masterpiece in it’s own right, but the original has a haunting quality that makes it totally unique.
Let My People Go by the Rulers was only ever released on a Jamaican blank and needless to say hasn’t been re-issued. Surprisingly given Heartbeat and Soul Jazz’s ongoing association with Studio One the Keith Wilson version has not been re-issued either.
Somebody’s Baby – Pat Kelly (Bunny Lee production)
Pat Kelly is undoubtedly one of the greatest singers to have ever come out of Jamaica, not bad for someone who was more keen on being in the engineers chair when in the studio.
Somebody’s Baby was one of Kelly’s first solo sides after taking a break from the Techniques, it was issued in 1968 and produced by Bunny Lee. Originally it came out on the Lee’s label in Jamaica and on Island in the UK.
Somebody’s Baby is available on the Trojan Rocksteady Box Set.
Let’s Get Together – Johnny & The Attractions (Sonia Pottinger production)
Best known for the roots versions by Tetrack recorded for Augustus Pablo in the 70’s, Let’s Get Together was first recorded by Johnny & The Attractions for Sonia Pottinger circa 1968. The Rocksteady version is every bit as good as the later cut.
This was re-released on 7″ single in 2008 by Rock-A-Shacka in Japan and is available on CD on Trojan’s Rebel Music Volume 2.
Won’t You Come Home – Delroy Wilson (Coxsone Dodd production)
A superb Studio One tune that was also cut by the Conquerors for Sonia Pottinger (see the comments section below).
Delroy Wilson was a child prodigy who first started recording for Studio One in the early 60’s. By the time Rocksteady came round he had matured as a singer and was on top of his game. He maintained his position as one of the best solo artists on the island for over ten years.
Issued on the Studio One label in Jamaica and it’s equivalent in the UK (though the UK version managed to miscredit the track to the Gaylads), Won’t You Come Home is currently available on the Soul Jazz CD/double vinyl, Studio One Kings.