I’ve been trying to make this mix for years and realized recently that I’ve liked this label so much for so long that it’s been impossible to finish. So recently I just picked my favorite records and tried to make a mix without thinking too hard about it, because the possibilities become endless when you do. Or as a friend once said to me, “When you can do anything, you usually end up doing nothing.” Truth.
The short story is that Studio One, run by Coxsone Dodd, was the premiere soundsystem in Jamaica in the 60s. He recorded everyone great and had the best Ska and Rock Steady. I’d first heard it as a kid in the 80s through Heartbeat rereleases, but it wasn’t until the 90s when someone told me he had a store in Brooklyn that I really got obsessed. Starting in 1994, I would take the train out to Music City whenever I was visiting my parents. It was a small store that mostly sold new dancehall and stereo equipment for cars, but everywhere you looked were piles of records in boxes that you could dig through. The going rate at the time was $2 a 45 and $6 for a full length. I would just buy anything I knew I didn’t already have. When you brought your pile to the counter, they always knocked some more off the price for buying bulk.
Somewhere in the 2000s it seemed I had bought at least one copy of everything they still had, and shortly after Coxsone passed away. I’m not sure what goes on at Music City now, but I bet it’s still worth the trip if you want to dig for your hits. I even once bought a Kraftwerk 45 there, buried amongst the reggae.
So this mix is just a selection of some of my favorites from Studio One. There’s no theme as far as era or genre, just hits. I hope you like it as much as I do.
Owen Grey – If I Were a Carpenter
Roy Richards – Freedom Blues
Bumps Oakley – Get a Lick
The Wailers – Who Feels It Knows Tt
The Ethiopians – I’m Gonna Take Over Now
The Wailers – I Made a Mistake
Willie Williams – Armageddon Time
Willie Williams – Lazered out version of Armageddon Time
Eddie Constantine -Tenement Yard
Lennie Hibbert – Real Hot
K Vibes – Frenemies
Slim Smith – Rougher Yet
Lone Ranger – Love Bump
The Cables – Baby Why
Horace Andy – Ain’t No Sunshine
The Wailers – Back Out
The Mad lads – 10 to 1
Burning Spear – Swell Head
The Gladiators – Roots Natty
Dolly Man – Trigger Happy
The Wailers – Rolling Stone