Soul Serenade – The Soul Bros (Coxsone Dodd production)
Soul Serenade was a hit for American Saxophonist King Curtis in the early 60’s. It was a popular tune in Jamaica too, most notably in 1969 when Boris Gardner enjoyed a massive hit with a his reggae version for Byron Lee (this was effectively a double A side with Elizabethan Reggae on the flip).
Before this there were rocksteady versions by both Roland Alphonso’s Soul brothers at Studio One and Tommy McCook’s Supersonics at Treasure Isle. Both of these versions are fine but the 1966 Soul Brothers cut with it’s late Ska drive and sublime horns beats the Supersonics by some distance.
Soul Serenade is not currently available.
Revelation – Alva Lewis (Bunny Lee production)
The second tune from Alva Lewis in this top 100 list and yet again something quite special. To say that this is a heartfelt lyric doesn’t even begin to do it justice. For someone who spent more time as a guitarist than as a singer Alva Lewis has a magical voice, here he is complimented by some powerful harmonies from Glen Adams and Ken Rose.
This was originally released on Lee’s in Jamaica (and on the blank as illustrated) and on Doctor Bird in the UK.
Revalation was reissued on the CD Rocksteady Party At Buckingham Palace on the Dutch Jamaican Gold label (JMC200.248), unfortunately this is deleted.
Red Bum Ball – Lloyd and Devon (Derrick Morgan production)
A supremely infections bass line makes this simple homage to playground games by Lloyd Robinson and Devon Russell a true classic. This was Derrick Morgan’s first production and a significant hit for him. It was originally released in Jamaica on both the Hop and Derrick Morgan labels and on Island in the UK.
Red Bum Ball is currently available on the Pressure Sounds CD: Red Bum Ball:Rare And Unreleased Rocksteady 1966 – 1968 (PSCD40)
Perfidia – Phyllis Dillon (Duke Reid production)
Female vocalists in Jamaica have always been under represented, in the case of Phyllis Dillon this is a crime. Phyllis moved to America in the late 60’s and worked in a bank, whilst she recorded the odd song when returning to her homeland she felt that she wasn’t being fairly compensated by producer Duke Reid and eventually faded from view. Perfidia was released on the Treasure Isle label in Jamaica and it’s UK equivalent. With it’s achingly soulful vocal it was unsurprisingly one of her biggest hits.
Perfidia is currently available on the compilation CD Treasure Isle Time on Heartbeat records (HB196).
The Loser – Derrick Harriott (Derrick Harriott production)
Though Derrick Harriott was having significant success as a producer by 1967 he was also a first rate singer as demonstrated on The Loser. If Phyllis Dillon could sing as well as the best female singers out of Detroit then Harriott was surely a match for their male counterparts.
A classic tale of lost love (see also number 99 for very similar sentiments) with a superb melancholy piano intro that is as good as you’ll hear in any form of music. Harriott returned to the Loser rhythm for Scotty’s DJ cut, Sesame Street and Bells Of Death by Augustus Pablo.
The Loser is available on the Trojan CD; Derrick Harriott’s Rocksteady Party (TJDCD 310).
Tide Is High – The Paragons (Duke Reid Production)
Perhaps one of the best know tunes of the rocksteady era, mainly thanks to the cover versions by Blondie and Atomic Kitten that were both pop hits but the original is easily the best. The Tide Is High finds the Paragons at their creative peak at Treasure Isle. This originally came out on both Treasure Isle and Trojan labels in Jamaica and on Treasure Isle in the UK.
The Tide Is High is currently available on the LP On The Beach on Treasure Isle records.
Lesson Of Love (AKA Can’t Do Without It AKA Story Of Love) – Uniques (Bunny Lee production)
Slim Smith proves once again (in case anyone needed reminding) that he really was one of the greatest singers to pick up a microphone, not only in Jamaica but pretty much anywhere. Lessons Of Love was recorded for Bunny Lee in 1968 and alongside Slim, on harmony duties, are Jimmy Riley, Roy Shirley and Lloyd Charmers.
An unusual rhythm in that it’s largely piano and percussion lead this is nevertheless classic Bunny Lee material. Lesson Of Love was originally released on Lee’s in Jamaica and Island in the UK. It was reissued on the CD Rocksteady Party At Buckingham Palace on the Dutch Jamaican Gold label (see number 59).
I’m A Loving Pauper – Dobby Dobson (Duke Reid Production)
Dobby Dobson, born Highland Ralph Dobson, started his recording career in the duo Chuck (Joseph) and Dobby circa 1960. By the middle of the decade he was already a successful solo artist however it took the advent of rocksteady and a visit to the legendary Treasure Isle studio for him to record this, his biggest tune.
Loving Pauper was issued on Treasure Isle in Jamaica and on both Trojan and Treasure Isle in the UK. It is currently available on the compilation Duke Reid’s Treasure Chest on Heartbeat records (CDHB 95) and on Duke Reid’s Rocksteady on Trojan (TJDDD 363).
That Girl – Lloyd And Glen (Derrick Harriot Production)
This is Glen Brown’s second appearance as a duo in the list, having worked with Hopeton Lewis on Live Like A King (see number 73). This time he teams up with Lloyd Robinson for a fine uptempo tune that was probably produced by Derrick Harriott. Probably, because the matrix on the Jamaican issue is “LG” which would seem to indicate this is a self production – maybe Lloyd and Glen gave the stamper to Derrick Harriott to press and distribute?
That Girl is available on the Trojan CD; Derrick Harriott’s Rocksteady Party (TJDCD 310).
River Jordan – the Basses (Coxsone Dodd Production)
Numbers 60-51 start and end with a Coxsone production. Treasure Isle may have held the sway over Studio One in the rocksteady era but there were still any number of superb tunes coming out of Brentford Road. River Jordan by the Basses would have proabably been a great record where ever it was produced due to the beautifully spiritual harmonies but the rhythm is strong and the intro puts the icing on the cake in true Studio One fashion.
River Jordan came out in 1967, originally on Studio One in Jamaica and Coxsone in the UK. It is currently available on the Heartbeat CD, Mojo Rocksteady (CDHB 134).