April 9, 2012, at 7:59 pm

100 Greatest Rocksteady Tunes : 100 – 11

It’s taken five years but the final ten of the DanceCrasher 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes will start soon. This series has been really popular which is hugely gratifying and has made all the work involved more than worthwhile, so thanks to everyone who has left comments or spoken to me about this over the years.

I’ve a feeling the last 10 will be a little controversial in places but that’s fine, this was always … continue reading…

March 17, 2012, at 10:38 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #11

The Uniques – Beatitude (Bunny Lee production)

Beatitude is a reasonably faithful adaption of The Beatitudes, part of the Sermon On The Mount from Matthew Chapter 5 of the Bible.

Take a spiritual set of lyrics, put the masterful Slim Smith on lead vocal and it’s hardly surprising that the outcome is something really quite special, you don’t have to be religious to be moved by this. It helps of course that the rhythm … continue reading…

March 13, 2012, at 10:07 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #12

Keith And Tex – Tonight (Derrick Harriott production)

A rocksteady anthem of the first order. Keith And Tex’s other major hit Stop That Train was number 40 on this list, I’ve always preferred Tonight but there’s very little in it if truth be told. Both tunes sound like they were recorded at the same session, if that’s true then what a session that must have been!

The Tonight rhythm has been used for many versions … continue reading…

March 10, 2012, at 10:49 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #13

The Paragons – My Best Girl (Duke Reid production)

The first Treasure Isle tune on this list in a while but this won’t be the last! Another superlative vocal effort from John Holt, alongside Howard Barrett and Tyrone Evans that demonstrates, as if any proof were needed, that they were one of the very greatest rocksteady vocal groups. The organ at the forefront (Winston Wright?) and Lynn Tait’s guitar work make for a tough rhythm … continue reading…

October 17, 2011, at 4:54 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #14

Ken Boothe – Say You (Sonia Pottinger production)

Another wonderful singer, indeed the man who’s debut album for Studio One gave him the not undeserved title of Mr Rocksteady. There could be other contenders for this title but Ken Boothe had something very special and it was never better demonstrated than on Say You.

The guitar licks of Lynn Taitt are a real joy here, Say You is one of those tunes where you can … continue reading…

October 8, 2011, at 6:46 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #15

Slim Smith And The Freedom Singers – Hip Hug (Coxsone Dodd production)

I’ve written about many great singers on this countdown and have changed my mind about who might be the greatest of all more than once. In any list of the very best Slim Smith will always be one of the first names that springs to mind; both as a member of the Uniques and as a solo artist his work is rarely less … continue reading…

October 4, 2011, at 2:04 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #16

Val Bennett – The Russians Are Coming (Bunny Lee production)

The Russians Are Coming started life as the Jazz instrumental hit Take 5 by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, first recorded in 1959. The name change was presumably inspired by the 1966 comedy film The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.

This is perhaps tenor saxophonist Val Bennett’s finest moments and certainly one of the greatest of all rocksteady instrumentals. Definitely one of the occasions … continue reading…

October 2, 2011, at 11:26 am

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #17

The Soul Vendors – Swing Easy (Coxsone Dodd production)

An unlikely tune to turn in to a Jamaica music classic but this one is mighty all the same. Swing Easy was adapted from Tradition, a song from the 1964 Broadway musical Fiddler On The Roof. In 1967 the Soul Vendors picked it up for Coxsone Dodd at Studio One and made one of the finest instrumentals ever, from the bass line that launched dozens of … continue reading…

July 16, 2011, at 10:50 am

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #18

The Melodians – Swing And Dine (Sonia Pottinger production)

The Melodians were Tony Brevett, Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton, they first recorded for Coxsone in 1966 then moved to Treasure Isle and then to Sonia Pottinger. They had two big hits for the latter, Little Nut Tree and, of course, Swing And Dine.

“I can’t believe you want to leave so soon, the parties just begun now don’t go away…swing and dine and dance for … continue reading…

April 28, 2011, at 12:42 am

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #19

The Minstrels – So Weary (Sam Mitchell and Keith Scott production)

Another wonderful tune finance by Lebanese businessman Kenneth L Khouri for his Merritone label. How can anything so brilliant be so obscure? Every one should have a copy!

The similarity of the vocal structure and melody to Ferry Cross The Mersey by Gerry & The Pacemakers is unmistakeable and can’t be a coincidence. Though on this occassion the somewhat unusual source material doesn’t detract … continue reading…