Thursday, March 31, 2016
The collection on 17 North Parade Records (VP Record's archive imprint) features tracks by The Gaylads (pictured left) Hopeton Lewis, Errol Dunklrey, The Heptones, The Paragons, The Ethiopians, The Melodians and more.
The music that followed Jamaican's speedy ska craze famously arrived one very hot summer in 1966 when audiences needed a slower-tempo music to groove to. Many point to Hopeton Lewis' "Take It Easy" as the first rocksteady song, but many can stake a claim as developing soul-drenched, American R&B-influenced genre.
The 14-track, seven-disc vinyl package includes postcards, stickers and other memorabilia in addition to the sought-after tracks. The label will also issues a broader 20-song CD collection for International Reggae Day in July. The set includes versions of songs that haven't easily been available on vinyl for years.
The label describes rocksteady as a music style that "used elements of rhythm and blues (R&B), jazz, ska as well as African and Latin American drumming, [and] was a successor of ska and precursor to reggae."
Indeed, rocksteady has had an enduring legacy, spawning new bands like Hepcat, The Aggrolites and others, movies and even club nights such as San Francisco's popular Festival 68.