Various Artists

Safe Travel with Phil Pratt & Friends 1966-68: The Rare Side of Rock Steady

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Phil Pratt was one of the lesser-known producers (and performers) of Jamaica's rocksteady era, but that doesn't mean his work didn't have the quality of the big boys like Duke Reid or Clement "Coxsone" Dodd. Just listen, for example, to "Black Man's Country" from Horace Hinds (who'd become better known as Horace Andy), with its conscious lyrics, or "No One to Give Me Love," from Larry Marshall and Alvin Leslie. There's no shortage of strong names -- Ken Boothe, the Clarendonians, Tommy McCook -- all released several sides for Pratt over the course of the two years covered by this disc. But these songs have been heard all too rarely, which is a shame. Pratt's own "Reach Out" is a wonderful piece of work, as dramatic as anything from the Motown label, with a brooding bassline, while Boothe skanks up Southern soul on his cover of "You Left the Water Running," a rarity that's worth the entire price of admission. There's an unsurprisingly jazzy quality and sophistication to McCook's "Caltone Special" as befits a former leader of the Skatalites, while the lovely harmonies of the Clarendonians shine on "Bye Bye Bye." 23 tracks, and every one a winner. If only every compilation could make that claim.

blue highlight denotes track pick