Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

You may recall that only a few short weeks ago we were chatting about the IMPACT ALL-STARS CD, which was birthed and recorded at this Kingston studio during this timeframe. Given how much I dig that thing, I took a flyer on this one a couple of weeks ago. This label, Jamaican Recordings (what a bold name!), has quietly amassed the rights to a goldmine of 70s LP and 45rpm dub, which they're trickling out onto CDs now. They've kept the inner workings of these 14 tracks pretty quiet as well -- the personnel who played on them appear to be something of a studio "house band", many of whom also play on the Impact All-Stars recordings. The studio is, of course, Randy's, and it started in the late 1950s as a record store bringing in American rock and roll imports. Later on some of the major players of early Jamaican ska and rocksteady began to hang out and congregate there, and as their tastes and methods shifted into full-blown reggae and dub, the Randy's studio was there to capture their chops. The liner notes make it pretty clear that these lost tracks are either rare B-side versions to vocal numbers by CORNELL CAMPBELL, ERNEST WILSON and someone named SLIM SMITH, as well as a bunch of dubs that never made it to the 45s and floundered on master tapes for 30-odd years. It's a really solid, very creative collection -- the hands on the controls & the players doing the playing appear to be consistent no matter who the actual named performing artist was, which is why I think Jamaican felt that this was a fully cohesive set, not worthy of breaking these tracks out by artist. You know what I'm saying? A fine, net positive addition to the 70s dub pile.