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The Skatalites brought the sound of Jamaica to the world. At the start of the 1960s, in the space of just a couple of years Don Drummond, Tommy McCook, Jackie Mittoo, Ernest Ranglin, Johnny ‘Dizzy’ Moore, Lloyd Knibbs, Lloyd Brevett and others defined the exciting beat of ‘Ska’ as the sound of newly independent Jamaica.
As the house band at Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd’s newly launched Studio One Records at 13 Brentford Road, the group comprising the finest jazz musicians on the island played on literally 1000s of recordings – Bob Marley and The Wailers, Toots and The Maytals, Delroy Wilson, Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis and many, many more.
During their existence (1963-65) The Skatalites also recorded 100s of their own songs, released either under their own name, or The Studio One Orchestra, or that of band members Drummond, McCook etc. This is the first collection on Soul Jazz Records to bring you some of their finest material – from classics such as ‘Guns of Navarone’, ‘El Pussy Cat Ska’, ‘Christine Keeler’ through to some serious rarities such as Dizzy Johnny and The Studio One Orchestra’s ‘Sudden Destruction’ and Don Drummond’s ‘Coolie Boy’.
The Skatalites’ ska sound brought together aspects of jazz, latin, rhythm and blues, proto-Rastafarianism (tracks such as ‘Full Dread’, ‘Beardsman Ska’) and more. The intensity and energy of their sound was matched by the experimentation of the troubled genius of Don Drummond whose ‘far east’ modal trombone sound added a complex melancholy to the music of the Skatalites (the group split-up after Drummond was charged with murdering his wife, dancer Margarita Mahfood).
1. Guns Of Navarone
2. Christine Keeler
3. El Pussy Cat Ska
4. Dizzy Johnny and The Studio One Orchestra – Sudden Destruction
5. Roland Alphonso – Scambalena
6. The Wailers – Tell Them Lord
7. Don Drummond and The Skatalites – Russian Ska Fever
8. Roland Alphonso and The Skatalites – Independent Anniversary Ska (I Should Have Known Better)
9. Bongoman Byfield and The Skatalites – Marcus Garvey
10. Don Drummond and Roland Alphonso – Heaven and Earth
11. Bongoman Byfield and The Skatalites – Jack Ruby Is Bound To Die
12. Don Drummond and The Skatalites – Further East (aka Trolley Song)
13. Beardsman Ska
14. Don Drummond and The Skatalites – Surplus
15. Fidel Castro
16. Tommy McCook and The Skatalites – Suavito
17. Don Drummond and The Skatalites – Coolie Boy
18. Tommy McCook – Adam's Apple (Don't Bother Me No More)
19. Tommy McCook and The Skatalites – Full Dread
20. King Solomon
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