Reviews

Various Artists

Without question, Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd was the man who contributed most to the development of modern Jamaican music. He formed several record labels, ran sound systems, imported rare platters, and produced classic Jamaican records. All of this activity centered on his legendary Studio One label and the studio from which the recordings on Ska Bonanza hail. The Skatalites, Don Drummond, Roland Alphonso, and other ska giants are present, but so are names often associated with reggae, such as Lee Perry and Toots and the Maytals. A couple of tunes even feature the unmistakable voice of a young Bob Marley singing rollicking, R&B-influenced numbers. Many of the songs have a strong doo-wop flavor, while others lean toward jazz and the calypsolike Jamaican folk tradition called mento. Overall this diverse compilation features Dodd's work from the early Sixties, when all the elements that formed ska — and would later give birth to rocksteady and reggae — were coming together perfectly.

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Margaret Griffis