Roland Alphonso – Something Special: Ska Hot Shots (2000)

MI0000287781
“No single compilation could fairly represent the breadth of Alphonso’s career — so often did he record as a solo artist, bandleader, band member, and session musician. This, however, is an excellent 20-song retrospective of vintage sides from 1958-68 released largely under his own name; if they weren’t, they were by groups in which Alphonso was the leader or principal player. Actually, he recorded in a staggering variety of guises, and this anthology includes cuts that were billed to Roland Alphonso & the Alley Cats, Roland Alphonso & the Studio One Orchestra, Roland Alphonso & the Soul Brothers, just the Soul Brothers, Rolando & His Group, Soul Vendors, Clue J & His Blues Blasters, Rolando & the Sharks, and so on… you get the picture. The important thing is that these are exciting, seminal ska and reggae instrumentals, with styles traversing ska roots to rock steady and soul-influenced reggae. There’s more variety to be heard here than with almost any other single-artist ska compilation — from ska takes on spy movie themes and witty novelties like ‘Rollie Pollie’ to the cooking ‘Do It Good’ (which is as close to early American funk-soul as it is to reggae). Alphonso plays imaginative, jazzy sax throughout, and unlike many of the ska brassmen, was not prone to a wobbly or out-of-tune squeak. Among the dozens of other musicians heard on this collection are numerous major ska-reggae figures: Tommy McCook, Rico Rodriquez, Ernest Ranglin, Rita Marley, Clement Dodd, Jackie Mittoo, and even Lee Perry. The liner notes, recording and release dates, and session personnel are amazingly comprehensive for an early reggae reissue. Three of the songs were previously unreleased.”
allmusic

“This brand new HeartBeat/Studio One compilation collects many of the top hits of the Ska era – songs that made Roland Alphonso and the Skatalites international stars – as well as many of Roland’s signature songs like Four Corners. With material ranging from the inception of Studio One and covering a ten year period, you will find here twenty classic tunes, some released here for the first time on compact disc and digitally remastered from the original Studio One tapes. Before Roland Alphonso and Studio One, there was ‘no’ Jamaican music. Roland’s saxophone sounds shaped Jamaican music at its ‘Boogie Shuffle’ inception, and into and through Ska, Rock Steady and Reggae. He was the top arranger at Studio One, and coached the hit groups of the day, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, as well as being one of the lead tenors of the legendary Skatalites.”
Reggae Vibes

YouTube: Something Special. Ska Hot Shots

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