Various Artists

Feel Like Jumping: The Best of Studio One Women

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Feel Like Jumping is a 16-song compilation of woman vocalists that have recorded at Studio One throughout its history. As is customary for reggae liner notes, information on dates is fragmentary, though actually the notes are for the most part pretty good and detailed as reggae compilations go. It seems apparent, however, that the earliest of the selections date from the late '60s, and that the bulk of the tracks span the late '60s to the early '80s, although a few of these are 1999 recordings. Further clouding the waters, some of these are extended mixes done as late as 1999, or versions with overdubs not present on the original. So, what of the music? It's decent, although not extraordinary for the most part, Studio One productions that owe more to rock-steady than to any other reggae sub-genre. Only Marcia Griffiths, and perhaps Hortense Ellis, are renowned reggae performers. Although this observation might betray the bias of American ears, it does seem as though the most outstanding material is covers of American and British soul, rock, and pop tunes, like Norma Fraser's "First Cut Is the Deepest" (originally done by Cat Stevens, but based upon the cover by P.P. Arnold), Hortense Ellis' nice rendition of the Jimmie Rodgers pop tune "Secretly" (with a bubbly organ), and Dawn Penn's moody take on Bo Diddley's "You Don't Love Me" (here retitled "No No No"). A real oddity is Jerry Jones' 1970 cover of Les McCann & Eddie Harris' fluke jazz hit "Compared to What," not only because of the unusual translation of jazz-pop to reggae, but because Jones was actually an American singer recording in Jamaica.

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