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Jamaican Blues & Southern Breezes: Blue Water, Black Soul & Rock N Roll

Posted: Aug 30, 2011

Jamaican Blues & Southern Breezes: Blue Water, Black Soul & Rock N Roll

"I say when it drops, oh you gonna feel it
Know that you were doing wrong.
I say a pressure drop, oh pressure
Oh yeah, pressure drop a drop on you..."
                       "Pressure Drop"
                       Frederick "Toots" Hibbert

Jamaican music always contained a little southern soul. Jamaicans could hear radio stations in Miami, New Orleans and sometimes far away as Memphis to absorb the latest American music such as Sam & Dave, Otis Redding and James Brown. In Jamaica, R & B and ska began to rule the musical culture.

Island Records President Chris Blackwell signed the English rock band Traffic as well as Jamaica's own The Wailers to his label. The two bands often played soccer together. Traffic recruited the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section's David Hood and Roger Hawkins to play on Shoot Out at The Fantasy Factory, which was recorded during 1971 at Strawberry Hill Studios in Jamaica.

In 1973, The Rolling Stones recorded Goats Head Soup at Dynamic Sound Studios in Kingston, Jamaica; the same studio Jimmy Cliff recorded his landmark song "The Harder They Come". Southern boys Jim Dickinson and Eddie Hinton played on the classic Toots & the Maytals album, Toots In Memphis.

Keith Richards lived in Jamaica for years, and played on a song called "Dirty Harry" for Sly Dunbar's album called Sly, Wicked and Slick. In 1997, Richards released his 'one-drop' Wingless Angels album that was recorded in Ochos Rios, Jamaica. 

In 1974, Island Records released This Is Reggae Music, which contains a great rendition of the Eddie Hinton/Donnie Fritts classic "Breakfast In Bed" by Lorna Bennett. Anything is soulful in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica...

James Calemine


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