Various Feel Like Jumping: Women At Studio One

Two amazing facts about the prolific Jamaican musical legacy: 1) a small island as populous as Toronto has produced a globally influential musical genre featuring dozens of worthy artists, and 2) shockingly few of these artists have been women. In fact, there has been so little music recorded by women during the last 40 years in Jamaica, that it's unlikely that a compilation as strong as Feel Like Jumping will appear again. Studio 1 founder Coxsone Dodd, who always had one ear cocked to the great American soul singers, actively sought out more women singers than any other Jamaican producer. Feel Like Jumping goes through the Studio One vaults from the late '60s to the late '70s to showcase better- (Marcia Griffiths, Dawn Penn) and lesser-known (the Jay Tees, Denise Darlington) talents. The title track, sung by Marcia Griffiths, is a definitive Studio One rhythm that became the basis for Toots's "54-46 Was My Number." Another interesting aspect to this collection is in the different approaches to vocal delivery. Whereas male harmony groups of the '60s and '70s seemed obsessed with Curtis Mayfield's Impressions, these women often feature a strong country influence. "Come on Home," by the Webber Sisters, is as hurtin' a song as you'll ever hear. Unfortunately, there is a masochistic, "hurts so good" lyrical undertone to many songs that belies the bubbly Studio One rhythms. But there is much to love about Feel Like Jumping; a true reggae fan should have this in their collection. (Rounder)