Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rock Steady Documentary

Many of the great Rock Steady producers, singers and musicians have already passed on but it looks like they are assembling a good enough collection of those still living.

The musicians who are flying in for the film, album and concert, are singer Dawn Penn (No No No) from London, singer Hopeton Lewis (Take it Easy) from New York, and guitarist Hux Brown (The Dynamites) from California.

They will be joined on stage and in the recording studio at Tuff Gong by the legendary singers who still live in Jamaica: Ken Boothe (Shanty Town), Judy Mowatt (Silent River), Stranger Cole (Morning Train), Derrick Morgan (Conquering Ruler), Leroy Sibbles (Equal Rights), Marcia Griffiths (The Tide is High),The Tamlins and U-Roy (Stop That Train).

I thought U-Roy was no longer with us...and it was Keith and Tex who performed the great 'Stop That Train.' Desmond Dekker (Daicres) was the singer on '007 Shanty Town' - maybe Ken Boothe also has a song by that name or covered it (?). The 'Tide is High' is by the Paragons when John Holt was with them.

Well regardless of the dubious journalistic accuracy in this brief report from the Jamaica Observer, if they make a good job of it, this documentary could be great. It would be especially interesting and vastly more entertaining if they could involve some of the less well known but often more talented artists in this project.

Such as, Leonard Dillon (Ethiopians), the Melodians, Keith and Tex, Pat Kelly, the Gaylads, Lynn Taitt etc. Some of the more obscure artists from Joe Gibbs stable for example would be really great to include: Errol Dunkley, Keith Blake (aka Prince Alla), The Pioneers, Neville Hinds, Roy Shirley, Dennis Walks, Jackie Robinson, Eric 'Monty' Morris, Hugh Malcolm...
Sadly, Jackie Mittoo, Tommy McCook and Delroy Wilson, some of my all time favourites are permanently unavailable...

The brief Rock Steady period in Jamaican music is one of the richest veins of musical creativity in any culture and despite its short run its many astoundingly prolific exponents went on to be the great performers, musicians and producers of the reggae period and beyond. A truly golden era which richly deserves a fitting documentary tribute.

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