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Boss Reggae Sounds - Reggae Popcorn 1969-1971

Boss Reggae Sounds - Reggae Popcorn 1969-1971

Boss Reggae Sounds - Reggae Popcorn 1969-1971

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A 30 track collection of Laurel Aitken productions.

Sampler

Last year Pressure Drop brought out a host of Laurel Aitken reissues and compilations, now though they are focusing on his work as a producer with this 30 track collection of 'Boss Reggae Sounds' from 1969 to 1971. The quality of his work for the UK's leading Reggae companies, Trojan and Pama, was second to none and unsurprisingly sold strongly throughout both the Caribbean ex-pat community and the UK's burgeoning Skinhead population.

Laurel Aitken - Boss Reggae SoundsA lot of the songs are semi instrumental in that the lyric is basically a repetitive command to do the funky monkey, chicken etc on very raw riddims, unlike a lot of the Trojan hits that used overlaid strings to soften them up and make them more appealing to the major UK market. Unfortunately for me some of these rather one dimensional lyrics, as is the case with King Horror, who chips in with five songs that are either full of innuendo or just trying to add a bit of fashionable (at the time) Hammer Horror with an assortment of shrill screams and OTT scary voices, can at times detract from what is a great flowing, moonstomping beat and despite their initial amusement the lack of any real imagination makes them grate after a while.

There are some nice love songs from the gruff soulful voice of Winston Groovy, including a take on Sam Cooke's Send Me and a Drifters sounding Leave Me Standing, but it is the pleading, more up-tempo I Cant Go On that shines brightest.

In amongst all this madness and love songs are also a couple of songs on the struggles of Africa with the The Classics History Of Africa paying tribute to Patrice Emery Lumumba, the African nationalist leader who became the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in1960, but was forced out of office after only 3months and then assassinated a short time later, while Laurel Aitken sneaks in with the cry for unity and to Africa Arise.

The album is rounded off with The Groovy Beats Birds & Flowers, a steel drum version of Young Gifted and Black plus Tiger’s narrative original version of Guilty which was covered by UB40 for their inaugural 'Labour Of Love' album.

Despite some misgivings this is still a fine and entertaining collection of rare and collectable recordings that just add more weight to why Aitken was labelled as the godfather of ska.

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