Various The Bunny Lee Rock Steady Years

The two independent producers who made the biggest mark during the brief rock steady era in Jamaica were Joe Gibbs and Bunny Lee, both of whom would go on to even greater success during the ’70s. Lee’s productions of this time have never been so well anthologised. In many ways, he got the best sound of all the rock steady productions because he was working out of WIRL studios (later Dynamic Sounds), which at the time were the best on the island. One can always hear what the drums are doing, which complements the soul leanings of the productions, as they sonically resemble their American counterparts quite well. The best known track on here is by his first hit maker, Slim Smith, whose "My Conversation” is still versioned, and was memorably sampled by the Dream Warriors. All the performances are well rehearsed and benefit from the relatively slick productions flattering certain singers who were better known as instrumentalists like Alva Lewis and Greg Adams. The great vocalists fare splendidly: Ken Parker, Owen Gray and Errol Dunkley are lesser known internationally than they should be and all sound fabulous over these rhythms. This is an essential rock steady collection, ranking with Heartbeat's Treasure Isle Showcase. (Moll-Selekta)