Various Artists

Musical Feast: Mrs. Pottinger's High Note and Gayfeet Label

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In contrast to the brittle edges of digital production, these recordings from the back of the Tip-Top Record Shop at 37 Orange Street, Kingston, bask in the kitchen-table warmth of vacuum-tube equipment technology. Sweet, fragile harmoies, bouncing basslines, and taffy-pull organ phrases contribute to the atmosphere of intimacy, but most of all, label-owner Sonia Pottinger's auteur's touch provides the sense of an unwavering attention to quality. All the hallmarks of a great pop collection are here: a novelty number worthy of an idiot savant (the Gaylads "ABC Rocky Steady"), uncredited cover versions (appropriating both The Beatles and Nat King Cole), an early duff ditty by a future star (Judy Mowatt's "I Shall Sing"), verses to inspire (from Strange Cole's "Let the Power Fall"), and flat-out scorchers like The Conqueror's "Look Pon You" and Ken Boothe's "Say You."

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