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on 6 February 2014
It has been a long time coming but the excellent Soul Jazz record label have finally released a peak period Studio One rocksteady compilation and whilst not quite flawless it is still mighty fine. There are classics galore on this set from legendary Jamaican artists like Alton Ellis ("Hurting Me"), The Heptones ("Party Time" & "Love Won't Come Easy"), Ken Boothe ("Moving Away"), Larry Marshall ("Throw Mi Corn"), Carlton & His Shoes ("Me And You") and John Holt (the bracingly non-PC "Fancy Make Up"). The aforementioned are all classic rocksteady tracks. There are also gems from Cecile Campbell ("Whisper To Me"), The Classics ("Pack Up" which is actually by The Wailing Souls as Winston 'Pipe' Matthews distinctive vocals cut through the mix), The Gaylads who harmonise beautifully on the soulful "Joy In The Morning" and Marcie Griffiths (the punchy "My Ambition").

The Wailing Souls appear a second time with the superb "Row Fisherman Row" but it has to be said that this tune isn't really rocksteady being more early reggae (coming out in 1970; two years after the end of rocksteady). Dennis Brown is present and correct with the rare "Easy Take It Easy" (also from 1970) in slightly rough sound quality but this is made up by this being a brilliant track with the rhythm providing the basis for the (much) later classic "Babylon Too Rough" by Gregory Isaacs. Jackie Mittoo is represented by "Our Thing" which is a version of The Sound Dimension's "Heavy Rock" but unfortunately with rather weak interjections from an unnamed DJ. The Eternals featuring the distinctive vocals of Cornell Campbell are featured on the ace "Stars" but sadly the sound quality here is off-puttingly bad with pronounced hiss and even some crackle throughout with the track sounding distressingly like a needle-drop (this is strange since I have this track on a Studio One Cornell Campbell compilation from the '90's in much better sound).

Therefore in conclusion a more than welcome (and much overdue) compilation of the peerless peak period of the great Studio One label. Whilst there are a few flaws (rough sound quality on a couple of tracks) and one suspect choice (the Jackie Mittoo track; just sticking on "Heavy Rock" would have been a better idea) overall this is without doubt one of the best editions of the largely fantastic series of Soul Jazz Studio One compilations ----- now how about a volume 2?
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on 30 January 2015
Not really all rocksteady, but top stuff anyway.
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on 4 May 2015
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on 23 June 2015
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on 16 February 2014
Wow, amazing collection of tracks. But as rightly stated above 11 of them are pure reggae that I was buying from Bamboo Records in 1969/70 and later. Fancy Make Up still the best tune and the Wailing Souls tracks amazing, particularly Pack Up. Seems most of the best Rocksteady actually out on Rock a Shaka's release. Great that they extended the Dennis Brown track by adding the Version to the vocal, play very loud.
Noticed a couple of Rocksteady numbers on the Ska Fever CD as well.
Amazing that they really do not know the difference.
About time they put out a pure 1969/70 Reggae album as Bamboo (C S Dodd's UK outlet run by Junior Lincoln) was awash with as many great Club Reggae tunes as Fab or Pama but more gritty and ethnic.
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on 11 May 2014
Another excellent piece of history coming from the investigators of Soul Jazz. It was the missing link in the whole collection.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 October 2017
In terms of the quality of the content, this is one of the best compilations Soul Jazz have issued in their long-running Studio One series - a really cracking selection of tunes. But in common with some other reviewers, and not for the first time with this series (e.g. the ludicrously named "Studio One Funk") I have to take issue with the title. The majority of the tracks are not rocksteady at all but early reggae. To be fair, Lloyd Bradley's essay in the booklet does acknowledge this (the actual concept seems to be "Studio One rocksteady and what it evolved into") and anyone reasonably knowledgeable about Studio One will know enough of the tunes to realise that the title doesn't accurately describe the contents but anyone expecting 18 tracks of Studio One rocksteady is going to be disappointed. But what's the problem with issuing a compilation that genuinely IS 18 tracks of Studio One rocksteady, Soul Jazz - surely it's about time?
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on 28 May 2014
I bought this vinyl record from Amazon. It had a scratch that made it unplayable. The record was returned, swift excellent service from Amazon, and I recieved a new copy. So far so good, except the new copy had a scratch in the exact same place, track 5 side 3. So it must be a production fault concerning all copies of this LP.
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on 10 October 2014
Great album. Well worth it.
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on 11 February 2014
11 of the 17 tracks here are reggae rather than rock steady.

Soul Jazz do a great job in getting the music out to casual fans but please don't insult those of us who have been collecting and listening to Jamaican music for 30 years or more.....
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