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Studio One Disco Mix (SJRCD 103 - 2004)

Lloyd & Devon - Push Push
Judah Eskender Tafari - Rastafari Tell You
Doreen Schaefer - Ain't Gonna Change My Mind
Dub Specialist - Kampala
George Allen - Be Wise Brethren
Jackie Mittoo - Night In Ethiopia
George Dudley - Gates Of Zion
The Silvertones - Come Forward
The Ethiopian - Muddy Water
Willie Williams & Brentford Disco Set - Armagideon Time
Willie Williams & Brentford Disco Set - Armagideon Time (Version)
Norma White & Brentford Disco Set - I Want Your Love
Norma White & Brentford Disco Set - I Want Your Love (Version)
Alton Ellis - You Make Me Happy
Sugar Minott - Love And Understanding
Winston Francis, Jackie Mittoo & Brentford Rockers - Going To Zion
 
In many ways the 1970s were the most creative period at Studio One. Away from the restrictions of any particular style, such as Ska or Rocksteady, Clement 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd was able to lead the label along an effortlessly creative path, picking and mixing musical ideas, constantly redefining Reggae music.In the second half of the decade Dancehall exploded across Kingston. As other local producers began to record new artists singing and toasting over classic Studio One rhythms, replayed by their own in-house band - be it The Aggrovators, Roots Radics or The Professionals - Coxsone responded in true sound-clash style by getting Studio One artists themselves to record new material over these same Studio One rhythm tracks from the 1960s. The Studio One slogan "Today's Hits Today" never seemed more relevant in the dancehall period.

The disco-mix grew out of the new technological development - the twelve-inch single - in much the same way as Dub had earlier developed out of the electronic experiments of Osbourne Rudduck, aka King Tubby. The twelve-inch single was invented in the US and was a key ingredient in the development of Disco music. The twelve-inch meant that songs could be up to twice as long as previously. In America this was used to spread out a track, extending an intro or the break, and led to the concept of the remix where a remixer spliced tapes, manipulated levels and brought instruments in and out on a mixing desk. This was a direct replica of Jamaican Dub's sonic experiments a few years earlier. In Jamaica, meanwhile, twelve-inch singles usually became "Discomixes" - the original song plus the Dub.

Studio One Records took full advantage of all the musical tools at hand to continue to create unique music during this period. Studio One Disco Mix features original seven-inch and twelve-inch mixes that are a combination of replayed tracks, singers and musicians playing over old tracks, and new creations. Employing Dub and tape techniques, Coxsone also made use of the new instrumentation coming onto the market such as synthesizers, drum machines and the ever-present syn-drums on these recordings.

The main in-house bands through the 1970s were variously called The Soul Defenders, The Brentford Road All stars, The Brentford Rockers or The Brentford Disco Set but were essentially made up of the same group of musicians which included amongst others Vin Morgan, Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, Bagga Walker, Cedric Brooks and Pablove Black.

The artists on Studio One Disco Mix are a combination of established artists from the Studio One stable such as Alton Ellis, The Ethiopian (Leonard Dillion from The Ethiopians), Sugar Minott and Willie Williams alongside lesser known artists such as Norma White, George Dudley and George Allen. Sugar Minott's career at Studio One began in the early 1970s and was based on him singing new material over old Studio One rhythms from the 1960s by The Soul Vendors and The Skatalites. Here he uses an old Jackie Mittoo cut "Big Car" as a basis for "Love And Understanding". "Big Car" is itself a version of William De Vaughn's classic Philadelphia tune "Be Thankful For What You've Got".

Jackie Mittoo himself recorded a late version of "Satta Masagana" as "A Night In Ethiopia" at the end of the 1970s, on one of his many return visits to Studio One after emigrating to Canada at the end of the 1960s.

Of the many other connections you will find on this album, "I Want Your Love" is a version of Chic's disco classic; and "You Make Me So Very Happy" is Alton Ellis' version of a Blood, Sweat and Tears song and Alton's disco-mix version itself is updated from his own 1960s Studio One recording!

Coxsone during this period was also happy to record some of the many vocalists from earlier times, placing them in this new context. Artists from the Ska era such as Doreen Schaefer, an original singer with The Skatalites, sit here alongside artists from the Rocksteady era such as The Silvertones and Lloyd & Devon (Lloyd Robinson, who first sand "Cuss Cuss", and Devon Russell).

So welcome to Studio One Disco Mix, which features music from one of the most creative yet least documented eras at Studio One Records, the foundation label.
 
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