Sugar Minott

Sugar Minott at Studio One

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From the original Studio One rhythms, Sugar Minott created fresh tracks and invented the modern dancehall reggae. After being raised next door to a dancehall and then becoming a selector for Sound of Silence Keystone and Gathering Youth sound systems during his teenage years, Sugar Minott was immersed in the music of Coxsone Dodd and his Studio One label. He became so involved with Studio One that he was nicknamed "Coxsone Boy" then later proclaimed himself, "SOS1" -- "Son of Studio One." Minott's revolutionary fame came from taking versions of classic Studio One singles and re-crafting them into his own songs. This style of reinventing established rhythms would go on to be reused by singers, sing-jays, and DJs to create an infinite number of tracks -- all based on the same backing music. Dancehall still uses the template that Minott pioneered.

On this installment of Soul Jazz's Studio One series, Minott rocks rhythms that were hits ten years earlier than his re-creations of them; these tunes went on to be hits for Freddie McGregor, Johnny Osborne, Jackie Mittoo, Lone Ranger and Michigan & Smiley. His voice plays over the rhythms with Motown and American soul influences and Rasta ideology. In later years, Minott would sweeten up his lyrics and create the genre of lovers rock -- his versions of these lyrics and rhythms would go on to chart in the U.K.. Sugar Minott at Studio One focuses on tracks that are more roots reggae-inspired and heavy on Rasta spirituality. The familiar rhythms that Minott reworks and re-creates here are not only enjoyable but recognizable -- as dancehall reggae's past, its present, and its future -- these rhythms are the forebears of '80s dancehall, and will no doubt be heard in different incarnations for years to come. The genre owes so much to Sugar Minott and to Soul Jazz for these tracks, for breaking the potential of the Studio One vaults wide open. The "you can't copyright a rhythm" philosophy has taken reggae music into a wilder and freer direction that still dominates the genre. Like all Soul Jazz albums, the vinyl has a clean, loud pressing, and there are detailed liner notes inside the stylish packaging

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