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Studio One

Related: record label - recording - studio - riddims - Jackie Mittoo - reggae - riddims - Soul Jazz Records Studio One compilations - Lee Perry (until 1968) - Coxsone Dodd

Soul Jazz Presents Studio One Funk (2004) - Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The most versioned riddims are more than 20 years old and originated at Coxone Dodds legendary Studio One studio, Brentford Road, Kingston. Many producers has made more than one classic riddim, but none can compete with the Studio One output from the late sixties and early seventies. Versions of "Moving Away", "Pretty Looks", "Nanny Goat", "Drum Song", "Jah Shakey", "Full Up", "Real Rock", "Skylarking" and "Joe Frazier" are riddims you'll hear your favorite soundsystem play in any session. [Aug 2006]

Lee Perry, mainly working behind the scenes for Coxsone Dodd at Studio One, during the Ska Era (1959 - 1966). Scratch didn't get behind the microphone as much as he wanted, but when he did the results were usually solid.


Studio One is one of reggae's most renowned record labels, having been described as the "Motown" of Jamaica. It was founded by Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd in 1954, along with a studio by the same name, which was located on Brentford Road in Kingston. Dodd had previously issued music on a series of other labels, including World-Disc, and ran Downbeat one of the three or four largest and most reputable sound systems in the Kingston ghettos. The label and studio were closed when Dodd relocated to New York City in the 1980s.

It has produced records by (and had a large hand in shaping the careers of) such artists as Bob Marley and the Wailers, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Burning Spear, Toots & the Maytals, John Holt, Horace Andy, Ken Boothe, and Alton Ellis. Noted rival Prince Buster began his career working for Dodd's sound system, and noted producer Harry J recorded many of his best-known releases at Studio One.

Studio One had a large hand in shaping most of the major movements in Jamaican music during the 1960s and 70s, including ska, rocksteady (though Duke Reid's rocksteady output at his Treasure Isle label overshadowed Dodd's), reggae, dub and dance-hall. The Skatalites and the Sound Dimension were among several prominent ensembles to record backing tracks and instrumentals at Studio One. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studio_One [Aug 2006]


  1. Studio One Rockers: Best of Studio One - Various Artist [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Real Rock - Sound Dimension 2. Feel Like Jumping - Marcia Griffiths 3. Bobby Babylon - Freddie McGregor 4. Skylarking - Horace Andy 5. Village Soul - Lennie Hibbert 6. Greedy G - Brentford All Stars 7. Truth and Rights - Johnny Osbourne 8. Surfin' - Ernest Ranglin 9. Eye of Danger - Michigan & Smiley 10. No, No, No - Dawn Penn 11. Phoenix City - The Skatalites 12. Crabwalking - Prince Jazzbo 13. Hot Milk - Jackie Mittoo 14. Badder Dan Dem - Lone Ranger 15. Ethiopia - Cedric Brooks

    Bringing together the original cuts of classic tracks such as "Skylarking" and Dawn Penn's instantly recognizable "No, No, No," Studio One Rockers showcases not only the talents of influential artists that were to become synonymous with reggae but also the styles, sounds, and, above all, rhythms that were to dominate Kingston studios into the 1970s and beyond. There are a number of rock-steady classics (hence the name), with tracks like Hammond-Organ maestro Jackie Mittoo's "Hot Milk" and the legendary Marcia Griffiths's "Feel Like Jumping" highlighting the then-dramatic change in style away from the faster beats of ska towards heavy, bass-led tracks with a much slower tempo. But Studio One Rockers is not restricted to this. The semi-instrumental track "Phoenix City" pounds along at a breakneck pace with trumpets belting and, along with "Greedy G," shows the importance a faster beat, a funky take, or a big-band sound also had within the Studio One fold. There are tracks from DJs like Lone Ranger with his "Badder Dan Dem" vocal rhythms and dancehall sounds. Roots artists include one of its biggest stars, Horace Andy, whose then unique falsetto was later emulated by many looking for a similar pop success. Then a preteen, reggae star Freddy McGregor also appears on "Bobby Babylon." Freddy, like many of the artists here, was to produce some of his best work under the watchful eye of Studio One's equally famous producer--Clement "Coxsone" Dodd. In many ways a tribute to Coxsone's production skills and rhythms that continue to be rediscovered and recut, Studio One Rockers is essential listening for anyone with even a passing interest in Jamaican music. --Caroline Butler, Amazon.com

  2. Studio One Soul [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Express yourself - Sibbles, Leroy 2. Respect - Frazer, Norma 3. Groove me - Sibbles, Leroy 4. Soulful strut - Sound Dimension 5. Queen of the minstrels - Eternals (5) 6. Message from a blackman - Heptones 7. I'll be around - Gayle, Otis 8. Still water - Jones, Jerry 9. Time is tight - Sound Dimension 10. Can't get enough - Ace, Richard 11. Don't break your promise - Chosen Few (1) 12. First cut is the deepest - Frazer, Norma 13. How strong - Parker, Ken 14. Set me free - Booth, Ken 15. Is it because I'm black - Senior Soul 16. Deeper and deeper - Mittoo, Jackie 17. I don't want to be right - Ellis, Alton 18. No one can stop us - Williams, Willie
    Studio One Soul, another sensational compilation that this time spotlights the inescapable link between Jamaican reggae and US soul. Since the late 1950s, which saw ska born out of American R&B, the Jamaican reggae fraternity has always had a strong affiliation towards US soul, and later on, funk. --Chris King, amazon.co.uk

  3. Nice Up the Dance-Studio One Discomixes - Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Always a hit factory, the label came close to completely dominating the Jamaican dance floor with the emergence of the long-playing 12-inch “discomix” in the 1970s. Studio One capitalized on the extended discomix format, successfully recycling some of its best material from the 1960s. Older hits were updated simply by mixing in lengthy instrumental endings. The popularity of the discomix allowed the label to prolong its reign, even after its most creative period had passed. Because a discomix filled up an entire side of a [12"] record, a hit song had the power to keep competing records off the DJ’s turntable for a good long time. Nice Up The Dance complies the very best of these highly sought-after 12-inch classics, including tracks from such legendary artists as Delroy Wilson, Alton Ellis, and Tommy McCook. The album opens with Cornell Campbell & the Eternal’s obscure classic, “Queen Of The Minstrels,” which unfolds in a deliciously slow groove that suspends both time and worry. The discomix of Alton Ellis’s eternal reggae classic, “Can I Change My Mind,” clocks in at an astounding 11-minutes. This endless version gives us plenty of time to experience the full magnitude of Ellis’s mighty soul caressing voice. The lengthy instrumental sections that fill Nice Up The Dance not only give added depth to older hits, but also showcase the impressive talents of the Studio One house musicians, masters of the hypnotic reggae groove. For almost three decades, Studio One has provided Jamaicans with the soulful soundtrack of their lives. -- John Ballon

    Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, is the founder and publisher of MustHear.com, a music review and photography website dedicated to celebrating the brilliant and the obscure. He is an avid reader, writer, photographer, dog-walker, thrift-shopper, percussionist, and record collector. While his musical tastes are as varied as his hobbies, jazz has long been a major passion. He prefers to photograph jazz in black and white, but has recently been dabbling in color. Visit John's photo Must Hear recommendations site at http://www.musthear.com

  4. Studio One Showcase, Vol. 1 [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    During the seventies in Jamaica the 12" mix of popular songs became the vogue. The vocals and dubs were mated for a musical extravaganza. As a result of the popularity of these 12" singles Coxsone Dodd compiled and released some "Showcase" albums. Now the Cambridge, Massachusetts U.S.A. based Heartbeat Records has issued "Nice Up The Dance", which is a decent follow up to the previous releases 'Showcase Volume 1 & 2". Many of the songs on the album were originally released in the late sixties and re-released in their extended version ten years later. The album opens with classic late sixties lovers tune Queen Of the Minstrels from Cornell Campbell and The Eternals. He recorded many sides for Coxsone, starting in the late fifties, before teaming up with producer Bunny Lee. In the seventies his output was prolific and he still is recording quality sides for a variety of producers, such as the New York based Don One. Ken Parker comes next with his rendition of William Bells' My Whole World Is Falling Down. Ken's version topped the Jamaican charts in 1969. One of Jamaica's most underrated vocalists is the late Freddie McKay. Love Is Treasure remains his best remembered tune, the Studio One album 'Picture On The Wall' is a classic set. An often versioned riddim is Horace Andy's Mr. Bassie. It's a dancehall staple, and any producer looking for a dancehall hit will consider versioning it. Great names like Beres Hammond, Garnet Silk, Frankie Paul, Dean Fraser and Robert Ffrench have scored hits riding this riddim. The late great Delroy Wilson is one of Studio One's legends. He started out at the age of twelve, voicing popular ska sides for Coxsone Dodd. His tune Give Love A Try is one of the highlights found here. The Sound Dimension's 'Real Rock' riddim probably is reggae's most versioned riddim. Although Willie Williams' version 'Armagideon Time' is a very popular cut of the riddim, Michigan and Smiley offering Nice Up the Dance is a noteworthy track. This tune is followed by the killer tune of the album, Alton Ellis' Can I Change My Mind. This brilliant retelling of Tyrone Davis' 1968 hit tune proved Alton's most popular tune. He has recorded a few tunes over the years and his outings still remain popular with the reggae massive. The album closes with a previously unreleased tune by The Viceroys. For this release the original vocal cut Slogan On The Wall was mixed together with Tommy McCook's instrumental cut 'Tenor On The Call'. -- jo moenen for amazon.com

Studio One Disco Mix (2004) - Various Artists

Studio One Disco Mix (2004) - Various Artists
[FR] [DE] [UK]

I want to talk to you about "Ain't Gonna Change My Mind" by Doreen Schaeffer, featured on this excellent Soul Jazz compilation. I first heard this in a version of soul and disco queen Loleatta Holloway (in fact the track was originally recorded by Tyrone Davis in 1968.); in her version it's called "Can I Change My Mind". It is featured on the crappy sounding but nevertheless great comp Cry to Me: Golden Classics of the 70s, 14 tracks Loleatta Holloway cut for Georgia r&b and soul Aware Records [run by gangster Mike Thevis] between 1971 and 1975. It came out on the cheapo Collectables label in 1992.

There is a very intimate connection between soul music and reggae. In the sixties and seventies of the 20th century, reggae producers and record shop owners made regular trips to the south and east of the United States.

Two more compilation albums in a similar vein are Nice Up the Dance-Studio One Discomixes and Studio One Showcase, Vol. 1. And on the last one I mentioned is the same song again, the one I know by Loleatta Holloway and Doreen Schaeffer, now sung by Alton Ellie, and it's called "Can I Change My Mind".

And here are the lyrics:

Aww, she didn't bat an eye
As I packed my bags to leave
I thought she would start to cry
Or sit around my room and grieve
But y'all, the girl, she fooled me this time
She acted like I was the last thing on her mind
I would like to start all over again

Baby, can I change my mind
I just wanna change my mind
Baby, let me change my mind
As I took those steps
Toward that open door
Knowing all the time
Oh, Lord, I just didn't wanna go
But she didn't give me no sign
Nothing that would make me change my mind
I would like to start all over again

Baby, can I change my mind
Please, please, please, baby
I just wanna change my mind

Oh, I played my games
Many times before
But peoples, let me tell y'all
Oh, I never reached the door
But ooh, the winds howl tonight
I keep lookin' back but my baby's nowhere in sight
I would like to start all over again

Baby, can I change my mind Please, please, please, baby Baby, let me change my mind [fade]

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