Posted by : Monkey SKA domingo, 23 de julio de 2017

 The third volume in the Heartbeat label's trawl through Studio One's back catalogue, this time focusing exclusively on instrumentals. Again, it's a tightfisted collection with a mere 12 tracks, and while the sleeve notes wax eloquently on how wonderful these songs are, they never get around to saying what they are, or when they were recorded. Admittedly, the very nature of Jamaica's recording industry makes instrumentals a minefield. Some really were true instrumentals, composed solely for instruments. Others were instrumental versions of a vocal cut, the inevitable flip side of a single, and while some of these were unique takes on the song, others were merely the A-sides with the vocals stripped off. Then there were dub plates, acetates created specifically for the sound systems, the prototype for dub, and then there's dub itself. The fact that a song's rhythm can be recycled endlessly over the years just adds to the confusion. Downbeat the Ruler, titled after Coxsone Dodd's own sound system, contains examples of most instrumental sub-types. "Man in the Street" perfectly illustrates the first -- a true instrumental and a seminal song to boot. Dating from 1965, it's the earliest track here; the vast majority of the rest date from the reggae era into the roots age, with an exclusive remix of "Throw Me Corn" bringing it back up to date. That song's earlier 10" version, also featured, is obviously a dub plate aimed at the sound systems and leaving plenty of space for the DJ. "Banana Walk," in contrast, is pure dub, while "Real Rock" is a take on "Armagideon Time" and shows just how older rhythms can be revived. With the rise of dancehall everything was elevated (or reduced, depending on one's point of view) to the level of a rhythm. And certainly many of these instrumentals were ripe for recycling -- and they were repeatedly. "Heavy Rock," "Baby Face," and "Rockford Rock" would all find new life in the '80s, while many of the rest were equally influential. Interestingly, regardless of the proliferation of groups and artists credited, they're all aliases, and every track here is actually performed by Studio One's house band. Even those credited to solo artists merely showcased a particular sessionman, normally the one who composed the song. But don't feel cheated, these musicians were some of the best, and were the powerhouse behind Dodd's success. It's only right that they should be glorified with their own album.
Review by Jo-Ann Greene

1–Dub Specialist-Banana Walk
2–Sound Dimension-Rockfort Rock
3–The Soul Vendors-Death In The Arena
4–Sound Dimension-Real Rock
5–Jackie Mittoo-Freak Out
6–Brentford All Stars-Throw Me Corn (10" Mix)
7–Don Drummond-Man In The Street
8–Sound Dimension-Heavy Rock
9–Sound Dimension-Baby Face
10–Brentford All Stars-Race Track
11–Tommy McCook -Tunnel One
12–Brentford All Stars-Throw Me Corn (1987 Mix)


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