The Cherry Red website is still open for business, even in these troubling times, and we’ve got a real treat on the way from ‘The Godfather of Ska’ this Friday!
• 70 recordings currently unavailable digitally
• Almost 50 tracks new to CD
• 138 boss reggae anthems!
Widely hailed as the Godfather of Ska, Laurel Aitken dominated Jamaica’s recording industry throughout its infancy, enjoying a series of hugely popular mento and Jamaican R&B hits during the latter half of the 1950s. Early the following decade he relocated to London, where, over the years that immediately followed, he recorded for every Afro-Caribbean record company of note.
While his ska and rock steady recordings ensured Laurel remained a firm favourite among Jamaican ex-patriots, the reggae explosion of 1969 exposed his work to a wider audience, with productions for Doctor Bird, Pama and Trojan Records establishing him as a musical hero for many of Britain’s young, white working-classes, notably those that had adopted a fashion style dubbed by the national press as ‘skinhead’.
This 5CD set collects the entirety of the singer-songwriter-producer’s output that saw issue on 7” singles between 1969 and 1970, with the set including big sellers alongside long lost rarities and unissued tracks that make their CD debut.
While Laurel’s own considerable singing skills take centre stage, the collection also features recordings he produced for other UK-based artists, their number including such celebrated acts as Rico, Winston Groovy, Pama Dice, the Pyramids, the Cimarons and the Rudies.
Among the 138 tracks collected here, two are previously unreleased and a further 68 unavailable on any format for decades, ensuring this celebration of fast and furious boss sounds is an essential acquisition for any self-respecting fan of vintage reggae.