June 30, 2013, at 2:50 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #1

It’s taken a long while but has been a great journey. Many thanks to all the people who have followed this list, to those who have made comments (positive or negative – it’s all good!) and to all those who have encouraged me, either on line or in the real world.

2) The Sensations – Long Time Me No See You Girl 3) Bobby Ellis – Step Softly 4) Slim Smith – Rougher Yet 5) … continue reading…

May 8, 2013, at 9:10 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #2

The Sensations – Long Time Me No See You Girl (Bunny Lee Production)

I first heard Long Time Me No See You Girl around 1989 when it was included on the Trojan album Jumping With Mr Lee, one of the producers series LP’s compiled by Steve Barrow. The first tune on that collection it was breathtaking then and it still sounds every bit as good now.

The Sensations started recording for Duke Reid in … continue reading…

February 14, 2013, at 12:42 am

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #3

Bobby Ellis – Step Softly (Derrick Harriott Production)

Alfred Hitchcock, another Bobby Ellis lead instrumental for Derrick Harriott has already featured in this list at number 28 but Step Softly trumps that, it’s quite simply the ultimate rocksteady instrumental. A great piano led introduction and then the horn drops and it’s game over… wonderful stuff.

Ellis’s carried on recording extensively throughout the 70’s. As well as dozens of recordings as a session musician he … continue reading…

January 25, 2013, at 10:26 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #4

Slim Smith – Rougher Yet (Coxsone Dodd Production)

It would have been all too easy to fill this list with Slim Smith tracks (either solo or as a member of the Uniques) so it took quite a while to decide which ones made the grade and which ones had to be overlooked. Rougher Yet made the cut as it’s the ultimate Slim Smith Rocksteady tune, it ticks all the boxes; a brilliant soulful vocal, superb … continue reading…

January 21, 2013, at 12:20 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #5

Delroy Wilson – Dancing Mood (Coxsone Dodd Production)

That piano introduction is legendary! Dancing Mood was a huge hit for Delroy Wilson from 1966 and a great example of the early Rocksteady sound. Despite being around 18 when he recorded this Delroy was already a bit of a veteran having been releasing records for around 4 years. He had recorded exclusively for Coxsone Dodd up to this point and continued to do so for another … continue reading…

September 27, 2012, at 8:14 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #6

Phil Pratt – Safe Travel (Phil Pratt production)

Hauntingly atmospheric and supremely powerful at the same time. Ace producer Phil Pratt was just as good behind the microphone as the mixing desk and he never had a finer moment than with Safe Travel (though some may argue that Sweet Song For My Baby ran it pretty close).

This tune was stupidly obscure, pretty much only known by rocksteady obsessives, until Pressure Sounds picked it … continue reading…

September 24, 2012, at 9:05 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #7

Unknown – Got To Be At That Party (G. Hargraves production?)

Got To Be At That Party is usually credited to the Tennors but it doesn’t sound much like them and this is probably a case of speculation being repeated until it is widely believed. The matrix number STAR 1002/STAR 1003 and the blank label give few clues as to the artists however STAR 1000/STAR 1001 was by the Hitones so it could be by … continue reading…

July 9, 2012, at 10:29 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #8

The Progressions – Fair Deal (Pat Hardy production)

The Progressions were Rudy Mills, Pat Hardy, Derrick Bucknor and Milton Henry. They only released six tunes, every one was masterpiece in it’s own right but Fair Deal is easily the greatest of them all. For a group with limited recording experience the harmonies on this are quite astounding and make this well deserving of it’s inclusion within the top ten of this list.

Originally released … continue reading…

April 21, 2012, at 9:51 am

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #9

Derrick Harriott – Walk The Streets (Derrick Harriott production)

Derrick Harriott wasn’t the greatest singer of the rocksteady era but he was certainly premier league. He had a remarkable knack for picking a tune and making it his own too, if he’d been in America in the same period he would have been a household name to equal the likes of Marvin Gaye.

Walk The Streets was originally recorded by The Tams as You … continue reading…

April 10, 2012, at 10:55 am

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #10

The Kingstonians – Put Down Your Fire (JJ production)

The Kingstonians are easily recognisable due to the lead vocals of Jackie Bernard. Hugely successful in the late 60’s/early 70’s with producer Derrick Harriot the trio formed at the beginning of the Rocksteady era and managed to record a number of fine tunes with Carl “Sir JJ” Johnson before the style changed. All of these are worth checking out but Put Down Your Fire is easily … continue reading…