The saga of a racetrack tragedy seems an unlikely contender for a pop hit's theme, yet when Combat fell in the first race at Caymanas Park one afternoon, taking the Pioneers' favorite horse, Long Shot, down with him (along with the duo's large wagers), a smash was born. Released in 1969, the desolate "Long Shot Kick de Bucket" accurately reports the horrifying events that day, and was a long overdue follow-up to the group's "Long Shot," bemoaning the horse's poor performance at a previous race. That earlier (1967) single was the group's second Jamaican number one hit, following hot on the heels of "Give Me a Little Loving." A string of smash Jamaican 45s followed, and the Pioneers -- cantering across the ocean and into the British reggae scene -- finally galloped up the U.K. chart with "Bucket." In 1971, "Let Your Yeah Be Yeah" soared to number five, and the following year "Give and Take" would take the group into the British listings for the final time, at least until Long Shot kicked the bucket and the charts again upon its reissue in 1980. Long Shot Kick de Bucket bundles up all these hits, as well as a further slew of their Jamaican chart-busters across the rocksteady and reggae era. During this period, the group had undergone a radical change in lineup, something the sleeve notes muddle entirely. Contrary to their claims, all the early hits featured the young and extremely talented Jackie Robinson. In any event, the Pioneers' music more than speaks for itself, and for those who are unfamiliar with anything beyond "Kick de Bucket," this is the perfect opportunity to find out how much more the band had to offer.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene