Clement "Coxsome" Dodds historical significance in the development of reggae is roughly the same as Sam Phillips importance to rocknroll. He discovered and nurtured great reggae and ska talents, such as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, and his recording studio and record label, Studio One, set the standard for how Jamaican popular music would sound for some time. Beginning in 1963, the label would record legendary artists (the Wailers, Lee "Scratch" Perry), as well as musicians who are known only to hardcore reggae fans.
Heartbeat Records, which is distributed by Rounder, has recently released a vast number of Studio One titles, including a two-disc set of early Wailers tracks. While these discs are essential to any serious reggae and ska collector, even casual fans of this music will find plenty of rewards.
Admirers of Bob Marley may already have some of the material on One Love, but much of the Wailers early material has been released over the years with studio "sweetening." Here, it is presented without overdubs, in all its glory. The other three compilations contain much that will be new and enlightening to people whose knowledge of reggae begins with the work of Marley and Peter Tosh in the '70s. Willie Williams ("Armagideon Time," later covered by the Clash), Burning Spear, the Heptones and many others play music that is powerfully raw and emotional. Downbeat the Ruler is an especially enjoyable, groove-filled collection of instrumentals that must have kept the dance floor packed.
Dodd wrote or co-wrote many of the tunes on these discs, and he recorded for effect rather than sonics. You wont play these to show off your gear. Youll play them to get the party rolling.
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