Various Artists

I'm So Proud: A Jamaican Tribute to Curtis Mayfield

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No matter the official history, Jamaica's rocksteady movement of the late '60s wasn't just a response to the hectic rhythms of ska and a few summers of temperatures much sweatier than usual. No, the sweetly sung, down-tempo, rhythm lurch of rocksteady was greatly influenced by one of the biggest artists on Jamaican play lists between 1965 and 1969: Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions. Most of the classic rocksteady artists -- the Heptones, the Jamaicans, the Uniques, the Gaylads -- recorded Impressions covers during the late '60s or early '70s, and though they rarely added much to the versions other than a distinct reggae tilt, most were up to the level of all the covers done by American groups. The Trojan compilation I'm So Proud: A Jamaican Tribute to Curtis Mayfield assembles 20 of the best covers (or inspired originals), and would serve well any fan of Mayfield or the Impressions; after all, it's simply not very far from the Impressions' "It's All Right" to Alton Ellis' "Rocksteady."

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