Jamaican Rocksteady Party

18 Jun


My enjoyment of Caribbean music comes from three sources. Firstly, like many of my age, I was knocked out by the Bob Marley and the Wailers Live LP in the seventies – an album that recalibrated my dial in so many ways. Until then, my knowledge of black music was limited to Tamla Motown! Secondly, my university friend (subsequently radio DJ and all-round Good Egg),  Grant Goddard (do call me if you ever see this Grant) was massively into reggae and thirdly, the whole Two-Tone scene of Madness, The Specials and The Selecter – which was given an enormous boost by the Rock Against Racism campaign.

I don’t have the depth that others do about the Jamaican music scene but I bought this compilation of tracks from the mid-1960s, issued in 2007 on the Pulse imprint of Castle records (PLSCD825), off Amazon simply because I wanted to hear/learn/understand  the roots of reggae.

It’s spent much of the past two years in my car and played often!

What you get first are the conventions of the Rocksteady genre – and it is formulaeic.

But hey, so is the twelve bar blues – and look at how that inspired so much!

Picking favourites from the 20 tracks on this album  misses the point : These were primarily records for dancing – and they serve that purpose well. I listen to other stuff for other reasons but there are times when you can’t beat The Dragonaires, Errol Dunkley or the Maytals (the last of whom made the transition to reggae with aplomb).

Yes this is the only Rocksteady album in my collection but I hope it is not tokenistic – I love this stuff although I’m not going to seek out every last artist featured.


2 Responses to “Jamaican Rocksteady Party”

  1. Grant Goddard July 2, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    Hi Alastair. How you doing? Just found this blog entry by accident. Thanks for the namecheck. Went to an outdoor acoustic guitar concert one evening last week and it reminded me of you. Get in touch!

    • alastairt July 9, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

      Hello Grant
      Great to hear from you. Your influence on my musical education was indirect but profound!

      Hope you’re well. You can find me at ThomsonAS100@aol.com. Good to catch up.

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