Sunday, 3 November 2019

Dancing Down Orange Street (1969)

Put yourself in my place....

  

Originally released by Trojan Records early in 1969, Dancing Down Orange Street is today widely regarded as one of the finest and most sought after albums from the classic “boss reggae” era. This was the era when the early reggae sub-genres of ska, bluebeat and rock steady began to morph into what was known as either “early reggae”, “classic reggae” and sometimes, depending on the pace and the beat, “boss reggae” or “skinhead reggae”. Most of the stuff on here falls very much into the latter category, of the style that typified the Tighten Up era.

The original album, showcasing a dozen of the most popular late rock steady and early reggae productions of legendary Jamaican producer Sonia Pottinger, is presented here in its entirety for the first time on CD, with the original twelve track selection bolstered by a further thirteen bonus tracks from the period.

The sound on the album is variable, as is often the case on these old reggae compilations. Some tracks are well remastered, some cannot be improved, no matter how skilled the remastering. Most of them are pretty good, however, with a nice, full bassy sound. Once you start listening to the album and you realise that it is not 100% perfect hi-fi you accept it and enjoy it for what it is. As I said, it is more than acceptable anyway.

Delano Stewart’s That’s Life and the deliciously bassy Tell Me Baby are highlights. Heartaches by The Melodians is a harmonious and lively upbeat number. Ken Boothe’s Somewhere is thoroughly infectious and catchy. It has a nice, warm sound to it too plus Boothe's trademark highly-enunciated vocals. His Lady With The Starlight is a little cheesy, however. The instrumental of Delroy Wilson's It Hurts is as infectious as all the material, despite its lack of vocals. Look Pon You by The Conquerors is an upbeat skank but it introduces patois-based roots lyrics that would be even more prevalent as we moved into the seventies. Ken Boothe's Live Good has a really nice deep bass thump to it. The Afrotones' All For One (If I'm In A Corner) is a lively, organ-driven tune typical of late sixties reggae. The Melodians' Lonely has a few pointers towards the melodious material groups such as The Abyssinians, The Mighty Diamonds and The Gladiators would put out in the mid-seventies. Delroy Wilson ("The Cool Operator") ends the original album with a nice soulful number in I'm The One Who Loves You.

The quality continues into the bonus tracks with Delroy Wilson's It Hurts and Delano Stewart's pulsating, vibrant Rocking Sensation getting things off to a fine start. The pace slows ever so slightly for the soulful tones of Patsy's We Were Lovers. A groovy bit of South African-style flute dominates the jaunty instrumental Round Seven from The Soul Rhythms. It ends suddenly as so many tracks did from this genre/period. Their other instrumental, National Lottery, is practically the same. Again, it ends abruptly. The rest of the tracks keep up the same standard and style, to be honest, so I won't describe every single one, other than say that the "album" of bonus tracks is possibly the superior collection to the original released album.

TRACK LISTING

1. That's Life – Delano Stewart
2. Somewhere – Ken Boothe
3. Heartaches – The Melodians
4. Tell Me Baby – Delano Stewart
5. It Hurts (Instrumental) – The Soul Rhythms
6. Lady With The Starlight – Ken Boothe
7. Look Pon You – The Conquerors
8. Live Good – Ken Boothe
9. All For One (If I'm In A Corner) – The Afrotones
10. Put Yourself In My Place (Instrumental) – The Soul Rhythms
11. Lonely – The Melodians
12. I’m The One Who Loves You – Delroy Wilson                             


BONUS TRACKS


13. It Hurts (I've Been Hurt) – Delroy Wilson
14. Rocking Sensation – Delano Stewart
15. We Were Lovers – Patsy
16. Round Seven – The Soul Rhythms
17. If You Can't Beat Them Join Them – The Conquerors
18. Let's Have Some Fun – Delano Stewart
19. Mary Mary – The Beltones
20. Put Yourself In My Place – Delroy Wilson
21. Give Me A Chance  – Delano Stewart & Patsy
22. National Lottery – The Soul Rhythms
23. Anywhere You Want To Go – The Conquerors
24. Going Away – The Beltones
25. Dance With Me – Delano Stewart


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