Reviews Zone

The Pioneers: Greetings From The Pioneers (Doctor Bird) 13th August 2021


4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)



This is the first official CD reissue of this seminal 1968 rock steady album from The Pioneers.

Here we have two discs offering us the original album (12 tracks) on CD one, plus 14 bonus tracks. Then on the second CD, 28 tracks showcasing the best of producer Joe Gibbs’ rock steady and proto-reggae output from 1968.

So 54 tracks on two discs, includes numerous Jamaican hits and elusive rarities, and some tracks new to CD.

Although the Sydney Crooks-led Pioneers were already veterans of the Jamaican music scene when, in 1967, they came to join the small roster of not rookie producer Joe Gibbs, the vocal trio had not yet achieved any significant success.

Within a year however, they were regulars in the national charts, with significant hits including “Long Shot”, “Jackpot”, “Catch The Beat” and “No Dope Me Pony”.

In recognition of their popularity both at home and in the UK, London-based Trojan Records released an entire collection showcasing the best of their work to date: “Greetings From The Pioneers”.

Issued on the Amalgamated subsidiary label that had been created as a vehicle for Gibbs’s works, the set became an essential purchase for many, both in the UK’s growing Afro-Caribbean community and among a rapidly expanding young, white working class fanbase.

More than half a century since that historic release, the collection finally sees release on CD, with its original 12 tracks augmented by 42 Joe Gibbs-produced recordings from the period.

Included are numerous major Jamaican chart hits and equally obscure recordings from the archives.

On the second disc comes deep cuts from Errol Dunkley, Lyn Taitt & The Jets, The Mellotones, Jackie Robinson, Neville Hinds, The Spanishites (yes, this is the correct spelling!!!), Hugh Malcolm, The Creations, The Blenders, The Versatiles.

Carl Bryan, The Royals, The Invaders, Drumbago & The Blenders, Dennis Walks, Tyrone Taylor, The Cannonball Trio, Sir Gibbs
The Immortals and The Conquerors.

The Pioneers biggest UK hits came later, in the ‘70s and are not featured on this set, such as “Let Your Yeah Be Yeah”, and “Long Shot Kick de Bucket”.


By Sally Fox



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