Gladiators Studio One Singles

The Gladiators were a rare group in Jamaica — they were a self-contained band. Somewhat celebrated for their difference from the harmony trio mode so prevalent during the ’60s and ’70s in Jamaica, they gained major international notoriety through a series of outstanding albums for Virgin in the ’70s. But like Bob Marley and the Wailers, they didn’t start out as a band. Their earliest singles feature the trio of Albert Griffiths, David Webber and Errol Grandison in a classic sound, mixing politics, Rasta sentiment and love in a countrified cocktail. While moderate hits resulted, the quality of the music is excellent. The dub versions are the typical Studio One griminess of the era. During the ’70s, the vocal line-up changed and the band coalesced around Griffiths’ guitar and new singer Clinton Fearon’s bass. They became an in-demand session band and are best represented on their Virgin discs, which focus much more on cultural themes. The third of Studio One Singles devoted to this output is rock solid, sounding way less polished than the concurrent Virgin releases. The snare/digital clap sound on the twelve-inch mix of "Pretending” is worth the price of the disc. (Heartbeat)