Reviews Zone

Soul Power ‘68: Various Artists (Doctor Bird) 12th March 2021



5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)



If reggae and/or soul/r&b are your thing, trust me; this 42 track, double disc collection is right up your Strasa – with 18 tracks new to CD featured here and the majority of these cuts have been unavailable for decades.

Three of the tracks have not previously been released. The first dozen tracks are lifted directly from a recently discovered Trojan Records tape of a previously unissued compilation album, “Soul Power”.

The remainder of the material is in a similar vein, culminating in a hugely entertaining collection of hits,rarities and previously unissued tracks.

With Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle catalogue having been heavily plundered over the past few decades, it is therefore a nice surprise to find out that there are still some gems in the vaults from this legendary producer.

A most pleasing collection of long-lost rock steady, proto reggae and soul tracks from 1968, to add to the Treasure Isle releases already out there from Trojan and the Doctor Bird labels.

Duke Reid was one of the biggest music producers in Jamaica in the late 60s, battling against his fierce rival “Coxsone”. Reid was the man for rocksteady reggae and as a sound system operator in the 50s, he began his music career with a thirst for US r&b.  As a record producer he was keen to record both reggae and soul artists.

A nice selection of lesser known artists and tracks from the archive here, with an absence of the bigger names on Reid’s roster. But definitely no weak cuts among the 42 tracks on offer.

The first disc opens with a very cool cover of the Wilson Pickett classic r&b track, “In The Midnight Hour” by The Silvertones.

Other cool cuts on CD one come from Tommy McCook & The Supersonics, Lloyd Williams, The Conquerors, The Melodians, The Yardbrooms, Hopeton Lewis and Joya Landis among the 21 song set.

On the second CD, it opens with “Baby Love” from The Sensations and we get more from The Melodians, the superb US soul artist Joya Landis, Tommy McCook & The Supersonics, Hopeton Lewis and the Sensations.

Disc two also delivers The Paragons (who were reggae superstar John Holt’s band), Joey & His Group, Phyllis Dillon, The Termites and one cut from the fabulous Ernest Ranglin (& The Supersonics): “Merry Mood”.

I am personally not a fan of compilations, as many are jammed with dusty relics that have either been re-issued to death, or inferior takes that should have been sent to magnetic heaven at the time of recording.

But this one really does float my boat, because it throws up some of the more obscure stuff from Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle vaults, but every track is quality. A very welcome part of my further education of Jamaican music.


By Sally Fox



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