The Skatalites - Rolling Steady
Motion - #FASTCD 019 - September 17, 2007
Party Time At Music Moutain Studio
Reviewed by Seb on September 02, 2007
Probably one of the most important bands in the reggae history, the Skatalites were there during the heydays of numerous producers, notably Coxsone Dodd and his famous Studio One label. Nearly 20 years after their formation in 1964, the Skatalites were asked by Peter Tosh to come and rehearse with him for his 1983 Jamaica's Sunsplash gig.
David Katz tells us how this album was born :
« While they were preparing for the show, they recorded 11 tracks at the Music Mountain Studio at the prompting of Jackie Mittoo and under the guidance of producer/promoter Tony Owens. After five days of recording, however, the band members fell out, and Jackie Mittoo disappeared with the master tapes, which he later entrusted to Tony Owens. »
Announced as an immanent release for a long time now, this album has unfortunately been dogged by various audio restoration problems before finally being released to our ears. But everything comes to him who waits and 9 out of these 11 tracks recorded are presented here for the first time in their full glory, thanks to the great audio remastering work of Motion records and the sound engineers involved.
As soon as the first songs start playing it is easy to understand the ingredients that went into the success of the Skatalites - festive pieces and unfailing horns. Too many people have forgotten the essence of the birth of the Reggae Style: Dancehalls. We are all struck by an irresistible urge to move when listening to this album. Far away from what some people call "Suffering Reggae", here it's unashamedly Party Time.
As always with the Skatalites, horns are constantly moving the boat forward. Calvin Bubble Cameron, Johnny Dizzy Moore, Roland Alphonso and Tommy McCook are at the top of their form, playing a powerful section spangled with inspired solos while Jackie Mittoo expertly steers things along. No bother look for a flaw in this solid as a rock group, the musicians are perfectly matched and it's obvious why the Skatalites still fill the halls and festivals, just take a look at the videos selected on Roots Archives !
Motion Record's labour of love has brought us an album you shouldn't miss and which will take its place proudly next to the two excellent Skatalites albums previously reissued on the label.
Seb - Roots Archives, September 2007
Edited by Leggo Rocker
You can hear some of the album tracks at www.myspace.com/skatalitesrollingsteady .