Forty years after their formation, the fathers of modern Jamaican music are back with...
Russell Hemstead 2002
The Skatalites took influences from jazz, calypso and US rhythm 'n' blues to help create the sound that dominated Jamaican sixties music. After falling from favour on their island home (and losing original trombonist Don Drummond), the group followed separate careers until reforming for the 1983 Reggae Sunsplash in Kingston. Since then they've toured the world (which along with a little misfortune) has kept them out of the studio till now.
Lured to the Davout Studios in Paris by Jean Herve and producers Ben Oldfield and Bruno Castro, The Skatalites have recorded what can only be described as a brilliant album. The second "Garden of Love" kicks in it's summer again, with open windows and music blaring; a great opening track.
The classic "From Russia With Love" continues the ska tradition of reinterpreting movie themes, and atake of "When I Fall in Love" (given the sweetest of vocals by original songstress Doreen Shafer) sit comfortably with original tunes "African Beat", "Ride me A Donkey" and two new songs written for the album. If that's not enough to wet your palate, there's also a great version of the Ska classic "Guns of Navarone")
This isn't an album to be placed with the current batch of classicalbums released to tie in with Jamaican independence celebrations. It's a contemporary recording that combines theband'smany influences with an excellent production. With few overdubs and the band playing simultaneously, there's a new edge to the sound, felt especially in the partnership between drummer Lloyd Knibb and bassist Lloyd Brevett (one of the originators of classic reggae bass).
This is a must have album for anyone interested in Jamaican music and a great introduction for those who wish to learn. What I'm trying to say is just buy it, it's an absolute corker !
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