Numbers 10-1

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 the best.

Put Down Your Fire was originally issued on Doctor Bird in the UK and supposedly on a Jamaican pre-release though this never turns up. It was reissued on a seven inch single on the JJ label in 2011 and should still be fairly easy to pick up.

Derrick Harriott - Walk The StreetsDerrick 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 Might As Well Forget Him, it’s a classic tale of heartbreak that works perfectly as rocksteady:

Whoa, darling, you might as well forget him
For he’s gone, he’s said his last goodbye”

Great stuff and hugely underrated.

Walk The Streets was originally issued on a Crystal 7″ in Jamaica and on Island in the UK. It is currently available on a Crystal 7″ from Dub Store.

The Progressions - Fair DealThe Progressions – Fair Deal (Pat Hardy production)

The Progressions were Rudy Mills, Pat Hardy, Derrick Bucknor and Milton Henry. They only released six tunes and every one was masterpiece in it’s own right but Fair Deal is 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 in Jamaica on the very small Kismet label this tune, along with the rest of the Progressions work, became better known when released on the compilation of Kismet material Reggae To The UK With Love by Pama in 1970 (by which time some of the material must have sounded quite dated).

Fair Deal is available on the Trojan compilation Rebel Music Volume 2 from 2007 and was also released on a Kismet label 7″ in 2012.

Got To Be At That PartyUnknown – 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 almost certainly 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 them.

What is for certain is this is a wonderful piece of rocksteady that proves, if proof were needed, that the rare and the obscure can be every bit as good as the major hits.

Got To Be At The Party was re-issued on the Trojan CD Gaz’s Rockin Blues and has been bootlegged on a 7″ single.

Phil Pratt - Fair DealPhil 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 up in 2005. They chose it as the title track for their compilation of Phil Pratt’s 60’s productions: Safe Travel – The Rare Side Of Rocksteady and it finally got the recognition it so richly deserved.

Safe Travel was originally issued on 7″ single on the UK Caltone label and on a Jamaican Wiggle Spoon blank.

Delroy Wilson - Dancing MoodDelroy 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 couple of years.

The original Jamaican issue of Dancing Mood was on a revived All Stars label, this imprint had originally been used from around 1960 to 1963 by Coxsone, the revival was short lived. Dancing Mood was also issued on Island in the UK.

Dancing Mood is currently available on the Studio One CD: Delroy Wilson – Dancing Mood.

Slim Smith - Rougher YetSlim 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 was an easy choice as it’s the ultimate Slim Smith Rocksteady tune, it ticks all the boxes; a brilliant soulful vocal, superb backing harmonies and a killer bass line that launched a thousand versions (well, several hundred anyway).

Smith tragically lost his life in 1972 while still in his mid twenties. With his passing Jamaican music lost one of the most talented vocalists it ever produced, the music would never be the same again.

Rougher Yet is currently available on the Soul Jazz CD, Studio One Classics.

Bobby Ellis - Step SoftlyBobby 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.

Bobby Ellis carried on recording extensively throughout the 70’s, as well as dozens of recordings as a session musician he continued to take the lead and have records, including major hits such as Shan Kai Shek and Stormy Weather credited directly to him.

Step Softly is currently available of a 7″ single reissue through Dub Store Records.

The Sensations - Long Time Me No See You GirlThe 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 1966 and by the time they had linked up with Bunny Lee in 1967 they were already at the top of their game. Though the line up changed several times they remained one of the best Jamaican vocal groups throughout the remainder of the 60’s.

Long Time… is a simple enough song with only a few lines that are repeated but it’s the performance that matters, the beautiful harmonies tell a story all of their own, aided by a superb rhythm that features one of the greatest horn lines of the rocksteady era.

Long Time Me No See You Girl has appeared on many compilations over the years but seems to be unavailable at the present time.

The Techniques - Queen MajestyThe Techniques – Queen Majesty (Duke Reid Production)

And finally we reach number one. It could never really be anything but Treasure Isle, the label that defined the genre under producer Duke Reid.

It’s also fitting that the number one should be a cover of an Impressions tune, the group who, with Curtis Mayfield on lead, were one of the greatest influences on Jamaican music in the golden years of rocksteady. The Impressions version was named Minstrel and Queen and released in 1962, the Techniques cut from five years later is classic rocksteady in every sense of the word. Many may argue over which is the greatest rocksteady tune but few would disagree that this tune is up there with the very best of them. A Curtis Mayfield composition, a marvelous intro, a great sticky bass line and truly great harmonies – can it really get any better than this?

Queen Majesty should still be available on the CD; The Techniques – Run Come Celebrate released on Heartbeat records.

53 comments to Numbers 10-1

  • Walk The Streets was originally recorded by Tommy Roe as You Might As Well Forget Him on US ABC (UK HMV) in 1964. He also composed the song. Enjoyed the top 100 by the way.

  • Julio Niño

    I think Jimmy Hughes recorded the original version of “You Might As Well Forget Him”: Fame 1002/1963.

  • Cool Tim, when “Fair Deal” is #8, “Are You Ready” has to be in the top 3 then 😉


  • admin

    That would depend on if i like Are You Ready more or not Marc – have to wait and see 😉

  • Al Kaatz

    Great job tim — looking over the last 40 entries I would have chosen most of them myself, can’t argue with that!

  • romain

    What a great selection !
    I can’t wait for the top 5 !!
    (don’t rock my boat rocksteady’s version ? the girl i left behind ?)
    When do you think you’ll add more tunes ?


  • Afterdeath

    Safe Travel with Lynn Taitt better be a Lyn Taitt special at No. 1

  • Phil Pratt – Safe Travel – sounds like Heptones – Crying over you (Ken Lack production). I’am wrong ?

  • Steve the Hat

    I can confirm that Put Down Your Fire comes as a JA pre. Same combination as the Doctor Bird. Looking forward to the top five Tim! Top clash all the way.

  • Steve the Hat

    Top class that is!

  • aperson

    Very very interesting selection of rocksteady songs. I learned a lot – many I had never heard before.

    HOWEVER, someone’s gotta keep it real, and I guess that someone’s gonna have to be me.

    While I love rocksteady — my favorite genre of music, from any country in any era — and I’m always a champion of the obscure and the overlooked…well, to be completely frank, this really isn’t a list of the “The 100 greatest rocksteady tunes” (or 95 greatest so far, at the time of this comment).

    If you had titled it “The 100 greatest OBSCURE rocksteady tunes,” you wouldn’t get any argument from me. Or maybe “100 nice rocksteady tunes you’re probably unfamiliar with.” But the title over-reaches, because by your own admission in several entries you are intentionally excluding many well-known songs to make room for lesser-known (or in some cases completely unknown) tracks. And while I confess I liked some of your selections, do they really stand up against some of the all-time “classics”? I think most people would answer “No” — even if some of those classics are overplayed.

    Sure, musical taste is completely subjective, so there’s no “right answer” for what song is better or worse than another, but seriously, how could any of the following tracks NOT have made it to your list (or any top 100 list), especially since many of the ultra-obscure releases taking their place here really do pale by comparison:

    Melodians – You Have Caught Me Babe
    Justin Hines and the Dominoes – Save a Bread
    Prince Buster – Whine and Grine
    Glen Adams and the Upsetters – X-Ray Vision
    Bob Marley and the Wailers – Them Have Fi Get a Beatin
    Dynamites – Dulcimena
    Velma & Clancy – Let Us Be Lovers
    Desmond Dekker — 007 (Shanty Town)
    Dandy Livingstone – Rudy, A Message to You
    Tony Tribe – Red Red Wine
    Melodians – I Will Get Along Without You
    Sensations – Long Time Me No See You Girl
    Termites – Have Mercy Mr. Percy
    Johnny Nash – Hold Me Tight
    Prince Buster – Rough Rider
    Melodians – Hey Girl
    Delroy Wilson – Feel the Spirit
    Maytones – Loving Reggae
    Swingers – Simpleton
    Justin Hinds and The Dominoes – Here I Stand

    Seriously, listen to these masterpieces with a fresh ear, and try to compare them purely objectively to many of the obscurities you listed in their stead — and wow, there really is no comparison. I mean, I appreciate hearing many of the lesser-known tracks you included, but the songs listed above (and those are just 20 off the top of my head — I could name plenty more) are just flawless.

    (And I didn’t bother to research the release dates of all of these, so apologies if some of them fall outside the rocksteady era [1966-ish to 1969-ish, presumably], or if some particular track technically might count as “late ska” or “early reggae” despite being released during the rocksteady epoch. Overall, you get my point.)

    We’re all on the same side here, and love the same kind of music, and each person is entitled to his or her own personal preferences, but I just didn’t want a “newbie” to the rocksteady scene to read this “top 100” post and come away somewhat disappointed that rocksteady itself maybe isn’t all it’s rumored to be, since many of the tracks listed here are interesting perhaps but not classics that will echo in your head forever (as many of the more well-known rocksteady tracks like the ones I listed do).

    I’m all for celebrating and rescuing long-forgotten obscurities — and in a few cases those obscurities really are super-great shoulda-been classics — but those cases are rare, and we shouldn’t let our enthusiasm for rarity blot out the worthy hits, many of which earned their legendary status simply by being “the best.”

    • Prizefighter

      Make your own Top 100 Rocksteady list, and then maybe you’d have a valid argument. This Dancecrasher list is the work of a Rocksteady scholar, and while the selections are subjective to taste, the list is culled from knowledge of nearly every known rocksteady tune, and that’s pretty impressive. Some of this top 100 would not make my own list, but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all the info for each record as it gives insight as to why the author included it on this list. A lot of these tunes I would not consider to be obscure (by rocksteady standards), and the ones that are obscure blow most of the “classics” out of the water (again, subjectively). I would MUCH rather have “Bus Dem Shut” echo in my head forever than “Hold Me Tight”!

    • “Aperson”, what the compiler of this list doesn’t know about rock steady isn’t worth knowing.

      Your post says what is wrong with a lot of music fans, they only stick with what they know and dare not take chances with anything not familiar to them. If you like Northern Soul music too then I bet you stick with the top oldies that are played at every night all over the world week in and week out.

      Your own list proves that you simply do not have a clue as six of the songs that you list are early fast reggae and not even rock steady at all!

    • Al Kaatz

      Llghten up guys, “aperson” has good point, & it is a pet peeve of mine as well. Don’t get me wrong — Tim has made a terrific list, no one is slamming him — but there are many cases of the best music rising to the top and becoming well-known hits rather than languishing in obscurity, jealously guarded by collectors. Yet if a tune is “common” it somehow seems to often disqualify it musically as being “the best”.

      Much of record collecting in any genre is influenced as much (or more) by rarity as by musical quality, and certain titles and sounds become very trendy. Currently it seems to be any rocksteady in a minor key that sold poorly or was pressed in small quantities. People give short shrift to the more well known tunes, very unfairly in my opinion. Records such as the Rulers “Let My People Go” are fawned over, even though the riddim is nothing, and the vocals are sour and out of harmony — there’s a good reason JJ pressed so few copies! Then you have popular masterpieces such as the Alton & the Flames “Cry Tough”, Desmond Dekker’s “Young Generation”, The Paragons’ “The Same Song” and the like, all of which from a strictly musical standard, completely bury “Let My People Go”. I guess unfortunately, they were good enough to actually sell a lot of copies. I dunno, maybe because I’m a musician myself, I just don’t get it. In fairness, there are also plenty of great records that for one reason or another are very hard to find, because of poor promotion, lack of funding, poor business opportunites, etc. Thankfully, much of the greatest Jamaican music is not hard to come by these days.

    • Tee

      Hello, Aperson– I’m curious….obviously you and the person who compiled the 1-100 list are more knowledgeable than I am in these matters, but I was a but surprised that none of my favorite tunes showed up on either list. For a few examples, where would you place Alton Ellis “Hey World”, Delroy Wilson “Any Heart can be Broken”, The Heptones “Ting a Ling” and Irvin Brown “Run Come” along the Rocksteady/Lovers’ Rock/Reggae continuum? I’d be interested to see what you think.

  • The Hitones – Got To Be At The Party ???

  • Robin D Rich

    I’m right there with you Prizefighter. Of course a list is going to be subjective. This happens to be one man’s list and he can call it what he wants. Mine would be different as would anyone else’s. What you can’t deny is the author’s love, dedication and frankly encyclopedic knowledge of the subject. It’s been a joy and I’m looking forward to the final five.

  • daniel gonzalez

    great list, no doubt, but here are a few tunes i would have put on the list….

    yours until tomorrow…the minstrels
    love me forever…carlton and the shoes
    i’m yours forever…the soul lads
    put on your best dress..monty morris
    bye bye baby…zoot simms
    tell it to me…stranger and patsy

    i’m sure i could come up with more, but hands down, you know your shit!!!

  • Immense! Thank you for listing all these great, great tunes.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve just thrown together this Spotify Playlist featuring as many of the tracks in your top 100 as I could find—currently at 60 out of the full list.

    Maybe I missed a few… if anyone finds any tracks I’ve skipped, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.

  • re “Got To Be At that Party,” I think that’s been acknowledged to be Maurice Johnson, who was in the Tennors up until his untimely death. I actually think the flipside of that single is even more brilliant, but that’s how good that collaboration with Taitt was.

  • Ciss

    The Heptones “Crying over you” Caltone N°1

  • Prince Andrew

    When oh when are the final two tunes going to be named. I click on a few times week. Very interested to see what they are and wondering if they’ll be well know tunes or legendary rarities.

  • Afterdeath

    Better be a Lyn Taitt special at number one. Enough obscure tracks produced and some good well known.

  • A wonderful labour of love Tim, finally had a chance to sit and go through your top 99 having a good read and listen. So much beautiful music and a proper education for us tunder and lightning roots collectors 🙂

  • CarlTee

    Music Lovers,

    I have been collecting Jamaican music since the late 1960. No disrespect, and while I understand musical taste is subjective, this “List” is hardly representative of the classic rocksteady songs produced in Jamaica.

    First, if you, or anyone, compile a list of rocksteady songs and not include virtually all songs by the Melodians, the Gaylads, Heptones, Paragons, Delroy Wilson, Slim Smith, Ken Booth, Alton Ellis, Marley and the Wailers, and others, you have not even begun to scratch the surface. If you have never been to the big dance halls (Chuckomo Lawn, Champagney, Ram Jam, and others) to listen to sounds like Sir Gerorge, Prince Patrick, VJs, Tubbys, Emperor Faith, and a host of other top sounds back in the day, then you should not even attempt to compile a list, because the vast majority of the songs you cited would not make the top 500 — no disrespect.

    Please take a serious listen to tracks by the Melodians (Swing & Dine, You Have Caught Me, Expo 67, You Don’t Need Me, etc. Also, Gaylads: Over the Rainbow’s End, Hard to Confess, etc.

    There are simply too many tracks and artists to mention from my archive…(some John Holt classics, such as You Mean so Much, Memories by the Score, On the Beach, and many others).

    If you truly want to hear some classic rocksteady, please contact me.
    No disrespect.

  • Robin D Rich

    No disrespect CarlTee but you ain’t the only one with some good tunes. This is not an ‘official’ top 100 like you would expect from the BBC. That would simply be pointless and probably impossible. Of course it will be different from your list, my list, or anyone’s list. That is the beauty of it. Why not enjoy it for what it is – a list of great tunes which has been compiled by a true lover of the music. And just because some of us have never been to Jamaica, let alone been to any of “the big dance halls” doesn’t preclude us from having an opinion on the music. I could make my own list. I choose not to. You however, given your experience in the matter, perhaps should. I will look forward to it. No disrespect.

    • CarlTee


      Thanks for the response. First, I would not compile a list of songs and refer to the tracks as “the 100 or the 50 or the 10 best,” simply because there are too many classic rocksteady songs and it would be virtually impossible for me to separate one song, or ten songs for that matter, and call it the best of the lot.

      Perhaps what you should have done is to call the list you published “My (as in your)top 100 Rocksteady songs” as opposed to the title you attached to it. Everyone is indeed entitled to his opinion; however, I firmly believe opinions should advance any discourse to which it is associated; if not, what’s the point? The point here is the list contains some seriously obscured tracks, many with which I am unfamiliar (and I don’t claim to know them all).

      You also mentioned in your response that you could “make your own list.” You also said it’s an “official BBC list…” and that I, instead of rejecting the list, should “enjoy it.” Perhaps the BBC should re-title the list “100 most obscure rocksteady songs.” Robin, no disrespect, I get the most “enjoyment” from listening to classic rocksteady songs, which by the way are the best era in Jamaican music history (not just merely my opinion but the view of most ‘serious’ collectors.

      Let’s cut to the chase – check out some classics listed below:

      Delroy Wilson: This whole heart of mine, Ungrateful Baby
      Delano Steward: That’s life, Tell me baby, Let’s have some fun
      Bob Andy & Tyrone Evans: I sent you
      The Yardbrooms: If you See Jane, My Desire
      Paragons: What you gonna do, You mean so much, Memories by the score
      The Eternals – Queen of the Minstrel
      The Highlights – Ten to one
      Dennis Walk – Drifter
      Techniques – Go find a fool
      Winston Francis – Fools fall in love
      Dermott Lynch – Adults only

      Robin, as I said earlier, too many classics to mention, so I am going to accept your offer and compile a list, but it will simply be a list of “classic” Rocksteady songs. Until We Talk Again…

  • Robin D Rich

    Ok CarlTee, I think maybe you should reread my post. Firstly, it’s not my list. Secondly, I never said it was an official BBC list – quite the opposite in fact. However, I will look forward to your choices as I’m sure many people will. Classic or obscure – if it’s good, It’s good. And I’m always on the search for something I’ve not heard before.

  • admin

    Hi Carl Tee

    Thanks for the comments. The list has put together by me and not Robin. Thanks for your responses though Robin, I have to say I agree with you pretty much 100%.

    Carol. There is no definitive list of the 100 greatest rocksteady tunes – how could there be? Obviously the list is biased by my own favourites, how wouldn’t it be? I always assumed that this would be pretty obvious but your not the first person to have misunderstood this so I apologise if I should have been more clear about this.

    I think we’ll have to agree to disagree if you think the list is too obscure. There are more well know tunes to obscure ones if you ask me though again this will be in the eye of the beholder. Someone who is new to the music won’t know most but someone who has been buying and listening to the music for even a few years is likely to know a fair few.

    When I started the list the title was meant to be tongue in cheek, I’d seen many “best of” lists about different styles of music and thought it would be a laugh to do one about rocksteady. It’s taken far too long for me to get to the point of finishing this and as a result I’ve changed my mind more than once, there are maybe a few tunes that wouldn’t be included if I started the list today but that was inevitable and I’ll happily stand by the last 99 tunes listed as great records that deserve inclusion.

    I’ve always been really interested by peoples own suggestions and have kicked myself more than once for overlooking stuff that has been mentioned. So fire away if you are up to putting your own list together. I think we might disagree about what is rocksteady or not – surely the Drifter is reggae and not rocksteady? But again that’s part of the fun of it and would make for another interesting discussion.

    One last point, the people who have had the biggest disagreements with my list usually end up naming tunes I’ve already included. The Paragons – Memories By The Score is certainly there for starters.

    Thanks again and no disrespect taken!

  • Bernard


    Interesting to get your perspective on your choice of the first 99 tunes. I think it has been a terrific journey for all us watchers and listeners.

    The classic v obscure debate is also an interesting one. I have not recognised a good number of your choices initially but when you have crossreferenced a compilation source more often than not I have the tune lurking on a dusty cd on the bottom shelf. Over the years we have been served well in the UK with rock steady on cd so revisiting some of these forgotten tracks has been part of the great pleasure of your countdown.

    You have only one to go and I can think of a few contenders. Whatever you choose will go down well!

    When you are done it would be intersting to get your list of tracks that you would have included on reflection as well as the ones mentioned by others that you are kicking yourself about!

    Best wishes,


  • Ziggy

    Well, in my mind the list has been mind-blowing – and i’m not gonna join the list of people claiming to “know better” – there has been a superb combination of – let me put it into three categories;
    1….bloody ‘ell i’ve never heard this before…how come?
    2….bloody ‘ell i haven’t heard this for years – i’d forgotten how good it was
    3….yes an obvious inclusion really.

    The reggae vs rocksteady is so subjective and can’t just be datelined. i think a few Derrick Harriott productions of late 60’s/ early 70’s can quite comfortably be labelled (I know I know) as rocksteady. The whole thing prompted me to draw up my onwn list of 200 (I know I know) – and it’s led to stressful sleepness nights. I’m currently turning them into a 8 CD self made box set together with booklets and packaging. The things we nutters do! Thanks for the inspiration though! Utterly superb – but hurry up with the #1.

  • Challie

    Great Job , nothing to say BUT BABA BOOM TIME … cant have forget the Festival Song … I m really sad to say … you have to do the 101 greatest rocksteady tune now ! 🙂 🙂 just kidding big respect to all the musical lovers !

  • Challie

    and im seeing a lot of people making confusion btw 67 / 68 Rocksteady and 68 Reggay …. guys … cmon !

  • Bernard


    Your self made box set sounds interesting. Licensing problems would preclude a general release, but I would be interested!

  • leftfield lenny

    Respect to you for making it happen. It has been a very long slog I’m sure to put your top 100 rock steady tunes together. I share the same opinions as Ziggy. As in there were so many tunes there that I never knew existed or had forgotten. Which tells me that if anyone else out there wishes to compile and submit their own interpretation of a top 100 rock steady list, then there’s bound to be even more rarely heard and forgotten gems for us to hear and appreciate.
    Me personally? I wouldn’t know where to begin. I’ll take a neutral stance and admire everyone else for their taste.

  • Lloyd

    an absolutely superb list, i think Ziggy summed it up for me when he said that for him there were three categories
    1….bloody ‘ell i’ve never heard this before…how come?
    2….bloody ‘ell i haven’t heard this for years – i’d forgotten how good it was
    3….yes an obvious inclusion really.

    so many additions to my wants list, and having the sound samples has been a great idea – thank you again for all the work you’ve put into this Tim – looking forward to the Ska list now ;o))

  • Al Kaatz

    Tim, when are you going to make top 100 lists of ska and early reggae so we can argue over that too?

  • Duke Man T

    Tim & gang,

    First off, so many Thx for even beginning to compile this list, probably many points on the way you wish you hadn’t started!

    Now you’ve reached number 1 I will dedicate a whole show to playing a selection from the list on my show (Live mondays 9pm via, and then sometimes on mixcloud… plug plug) though I just wish I had half the collection you have so that I might include the more ‘obscure’ ones!!

    Now for the ska list?? !! haha where would you start?

  • Prince Andrew

    I aways interpreted this list to be based on artistic merit and effect on a listener. There’s good mixture of well known to rare tune. Some of the biggest Rock Steady tunes ever were commercial tunes made to sell a lot. Some tunes are made just for the dancehall for a hard core crowd. I totally understood the list and what it (in some ways) is suppose to represent.

  • dj45king

    Rocksteady music should get more airplay on mainstream radio stations like capital radio @ Heart. We need more deejays like steve to promote more reggae nights at clubs in the urban areas like Brixton,Peckham,Brockley & Hackney.. I think Rocksteady & ska is the type of music that will live on forever. Soul Jazz Records is doing a very good job in promoting this music in their outlet stores, but there is still a long way to go before we can reach out to a wider audience who are crying out for anything other x-factor budding musicians. Respect to all comments made by you serious collectors out there. however, we could compile a list of the top 1000 rocksteady tunes of all time and still not be satisfied with the outcome of our all time classics.

    Surprised there was no mention of sabatoge by desmond dekker or train is coming back by the gladiators. In the mood rocksteady by dandy and his band was a tune that a heard from the days in my buggy(Classic!) Anyways don’t want to go on too long but keep the good work up Dancecraher. You are a credit to the avid rocksteady collector


    DJ 45 king

    P.S I am looking for a copy of Rock of Gibralter by the Riteous Flames on Attra Records. Cant even find a copy on ebay. How much does this go for at auctions. Any offers!

  • Patrick Harty

    “Got To Be At The Party” was recorded by MILTON BOOTHE, accompanied by Lyn Taitt & the Jets and two members of THE PROGRESSIONS at W.I.R.L. and not Maurice Wynter. I was one of the performers on that track, produced by Gloria Barnett.

  • Al Kaatz

    Patrick, thanks for your contribution and for clearing up the mystery!

  • Mr. Harty,

    Your comment was quite a surprise to me, but I’m never against correcting the historical record, so thank you. Could you tell us more about this session (and any others you played on, if memory still serves you well)? And do you know why the mistake of thinking this song was by Maurice Wynter occurred in the first place?

  • Patrick,

    Thanks for that information.
    Could you reveal the other member of the Progressions who accompanied you? By my reckoning, it could’ve been Milton Henry, Rudy Mills, Errol Anthony Russell or Derrick Bucknor. Respect!

  • Johan Lindgren

    Derrick Harriott and also Bobby Ellis is on “Rock Steady Party” CD (Trojan), 2006.

    Kingstonians is on Trojan Presents Producers 40 Jamaican Classic (2012).

    Progressions – Fair Deal is on Trojan Rocksteady Rarities Box Set (2005).

    Sensations- “Long time me no see you Girl” is on Sir Lee’s Rock Steady Party At Kings’s House (Jamaican Gold CD, 2000).

  • Lloyd

    Hi Tim, just to let you know The Kingstonians’ Put Down Your Fire does come on a Jamaican blank as I’ve recently acquired a copy – same flip as the Doctor Bird

  • Bjørn

    Great list! And thank you, I have discovered some real gems here. One of my favourites that I didn’t see on your list, Mexican Divorce by The Gaylads:

  • Mathias Bjorck

    We all have our individual objections to what’s on a list like this, I understand that completely.
    But I have to say, what strikes me about this list is the obvious absence of Studio 1 material… No Bob Andy, no Heptones (!), no Alton on Studio 1, etc.
    And of course, no list of the best of rocksteady should be without Albert Tomlinson’s “Don’t Wait For Me”!
    Nice work still, heard a couple of tunes that were new to me, that I now need to start looking for 🙂

  • Carl Tee

    D Crasher, just a word of advise. If you are putting out a “list of the ‘best ever'” I suggest you refer to it as “my personal list” or “my top 10…so and so.” By referring to such a list as “my Top…” it is difficult for any person to object to, or worst ridicule, the selection, one way or the other, simple because it is your list, not someone else’s. As Mathias says, “we all have our individual objections to what’s on a list like this,” and he goes on to mention some — and I agree completely — obvious omissions with respect to Studio One, Bob Andy, and the Heptones. Let me put it this way: It is next to impossible to come up with a list of the top 10 rocksteady songs and not have Studio One listed. It is a cardinal sin in the music business, in particular the rocksteady era, to omit STUDIO ONE (and DUKE REID) from any “Top Anything Relating to Music” list.

    And to echo Mathias’s point about Albert Tomlinson’s “Don’t Wait For Me,” if you are quite knowledgeable about Rocksteady, this song is an absolute classic. Plain and simple.

    I must add, again if you are knowledgeable, and I say that with respect to everyone, and if you are discussing the top rocksteady songs, the Melodians (“Little Nut Tree,” “Swing and Dine,” “Come on Little Girl Come on,” and many more from said group; the Paragons (“Number One,” “Happy Go Lucky Girl”); The Gaylads (“Hard to Confess”); and other lesser known tracks such as Stranger Cole’s “Love Me This Evening”; The Cables’ “What Am I to Do”; Dermott Lynch’s “Adult Only”; “Play Play” by Rita Marley & the Soulettes; and “Shocking Love” by The Federals. Again, I am not advocating that every should embrace, or even like, the tracks listed above, because they are my selections, but from years of collecting Jamaican classics from the ‘Sixties Era.’

    I challenge anyone to listen to these tracks, particularly the lesser known ones, and then let me know what you think.

    PS. As a point of note, I would give props to only “Dancing Mood” and “Queen Majesty” from the “Top 10” list cited in the post to which I am responding. No disrespect.

    Carl T

  • admin

    Geez guys – did you read the whole list and all the comments or just the top ten? Obviously it’s a personal list – i’m pretty sure that was made clear. CarlTee we had the same discussion around three years ago – see above in the earlier comments on this page.

    Still thanks for the comments – I don’t doubt if I compiled this list again again that the selections would be different in places. Albert Tomlinson might well be in there too – but sorry to disappoint, he wouldn’t have made the top ten.

  • Simon WYS

    I can see why you’ve made the comments sections closed on the Pama list. People are so dense…

  • Shan

    The best thing about these types of lists is that people that are newer to a scene can learn so much from them. I think people that criticize the choices made in them are usually not taking into account that the very existence of such lists are often a stepping stone for new fans to the choices that they may have preferred to be included on them. Thank you DanceCrasher for a useful and fantastic buch of tunes.

  • Mathias Bjorck

    Of course I read the whole list! And much respect for putting it together, that we disagree about what should be included is naturally unavoidable!
    Anyway, would LOVE to see a similar list for Ska!
    Respect again, and also respect to Carl Tee.

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