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Soundclash 11.28

Charlie Organaire
“Rude Boy Charlie"
Rock A Shacka Vol. 6 Studio One (1965) (2003)

I saw the other day that some hep cats are putting on a show in Chicago featuring Charley Organaire. The man is alive and well, by all accounts, which pleases me to no end. It's not fully appreciated just how ubiquitous Organaire and his harmonica were in the ska era, recording for every producer you can think of, and not infrequently at that. He came up through the talent show ranks with the best of them - he and Alton Ellis were on an early one together, when Ellis was a dancer and hadn't even begun singing yet. With this track here, we present you a coveted Studio One rarity, though it's seen a splendid vinyl reissue in recent years. Go deh.

-The Kaiser

The Paragons
“Memories By the Score”
Supertone 7" (1968)

They do not come any more sublime than this rocksteady classic, which rather inevitably features the inimitable guitar stylings and arrangement of Lynn Taitt. Every little breath and bar of this track is effortlessly stroking a perennial sweet spot; when Holt and the Paragons were "on," this is what could emerge. It's interesting that they self-produced this, possibly on the heels of their initial involvement with Duke Reid. It was released on the one-off Supertone label, which was a large Soundsystem in Jamaica at the time. Spread the word on this one - it needs to be heard. RIP John Holt.

-The Kaiser

John Holt & the Paragons
“Maybe Someday”
Treasure Isle 7" (1968)

It's a hard process, attempting to select John Holt's best tunes, especially from Duke Reid's Treasure Isle studio. Both as leader of the Paragons and as solo act, Holt added his honey tones to some of the best loved rocksteady and reggae tunes imaginable. This song probably isn't mentioned in the first listing of his classics, but that's a mistake. It is simply beautiful and heart wrenching. Tommy McCook's Supersonics lay down the track, with its horn line supplying the emotional hook right from the get go. Ya know, I was telling Kaiser just recently that, for some reason, I always figured John Holt would be amongst the last of the legendary singers of the 1960's Jamaican fraternity to pass on. I don't know if it was his voice, since it never really did fade, or his youthful face, despite the beard he's been rocking – and growing – for years. Regardless, his passing is a loss to the whole music. Luckily, that buttery voice of his will live on for many years to come.

-Rice & Peas

Hopeton Lewis & Sir Lord Comic
"What A Situation"
Bluecat 7" reissue (1969) (2013)

How could it be possible that this scorcher sat in the vaults for forty-plus years before seeing limited vinyl-only release last year? Music like dirt means you treat it like dirt once in a while, obviously. Upon release only Sir Lord Comic got billing, but we've easily identified the late, great Hopeton Lewis as the driving vocalist here. Perhaps the "black man time" theme didn't suggest itself as a marketable proposition and Duke Reid (or Trojan) decided to let it sit on the shelves. It's curious nonetheless, because it's so brightly produced, as if becoming a hit was a mere formality. Special recognition for the guitarist here; he's burning up.

-The Kaiser

Primo & Hopeton
“Your Safe Keep"
Sir JJ pre 7" (1967)

Our other selection in tribute to Hopeton Lewis is another duet, featuring Primo Davidson as Lewis' spar. And yes, Mr. Lynn Taitt also has a say on this Sir JJ production - you needn't even ask! These kinds of sparse and homespun sounding rocksteady cuts are what the devotees fall for the most - heartfelt, simply (but beautifully) arranged, and not a chance of hitting the charts, both at home or in the UK. You'll find the Rastas renting a tile in the corner when this one hits the needle. Rastas are lovers too, you know.

-The Kaiser

Joe Auxamite
“Home To Africa"
Wackies/Deeper Knowledge 10" reissue (late 1970s) (2014)

Joe Axumite holds a special place in my heart if only for his masterpiece 'No Equal Rights In Babylon', also for the Wackies camp. It's a long time favorite that rarely leaves my play-out box. But the party has to be deep for me to drop it, as weakhearts won't stand after it gets loud. So this recent 10” platter is quite welcome, as it collects together three tunes by Axumite spread across a couple various artist Wackies compilations. This present tune is the pick of the litter, but all three cuts are iron heavy. Recommended.

-Rice & Peas

Dennis Green & the Liberators
“Wanted Man"
Danger Zone 7" (1975)

It seems there may have been a few bad boys in Jamaica over the years, as here's yet another tune delivering a not so subtle warning to wrongdoers. The ubiquitousness of guns is perhaps more obvious, but Jamaicans love their blades as well. It's not at all uncommon to see men walking around with  machetes for use as a tool. But, ya know, it's a machete. Screwdrivers don't get my attention quite as easily. Singerman Dennis also knows this as he says, “You're going to the movies, and you bring your skeng, no bother gwan so.” Skeng = blade. But in the end, he knows how these man of wrath, man your time will be short.” Wanted man, most definitely.

-Rice & Peas

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