A pair of killer albums from the rocksteady years – back to back in a single set, with a heck of a lot of bonus tracks too! First up is the compilation Greatest Jamaican Beat – also titled Rocksteady Baba Boom Time – seminal Duke Reid productions from the key rocksteady years – and a set that shows just how much the rhythm was changing things on the Jamaican scene, both at a vocal and instrumental level! There's a slow-loping vibe to most of these tracks – an approach that really sets the scene for the reggae explosion to come – yet most of the instrumentation still has the strong horn work of the ska/
blue beat generation, and even some of the jazzier work of the Kingston scene at the start of the 60s – thanks in large part to Tommy McCook, who plays a fair bit on the set. Titles include "Tommy's Rock Steady", "Hot Rock", "Soul Serenade", and "Down On Bond Street" by Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – plus the killer "Baba Boom" by The Jamaicans, "Drink Wine" by The Techniques", "Release Me" by Phyllis Dillon, "Mercy Mercy Mercy" by The Paragons, and a great remake of "Hey Leroy Your Mama's Calling You" by Sam Jones. The second half of the set features a record completely devoted to work from the great Tommy McCook and his Supersonics group – instrumental rocksteady gems that are filled with plenty of twists and turns! McCook was one of the sharpest saxophone players on the Kingston scene in the 60s – and his varied styles and sounds here are completely incredible – really blowing away contemporary recordings by King Curtis or Jr Walker, partly because Tommy also knows when to bring in just the right current of jazz. Titles include "Soul Rock", "Starry Night", "Zazuka", "Train To Ska-Thedral", "What Now My Love", "Sir Don", "Saboo", and "Never To Be Mine". 2CD set features 26 bonus tracks – 13 more by Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – and more by Norman Grant, The Gladiators, Jamaicans, Justin Hinds & The Domino
s, Three Tops, Eric Morris, Treasure Isle Boys, and Gloria & Franklin.