The Skatalites

Skatalites & Friends at Randy's

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A typically excellent reissue by Heartbeat, Rounder Records' reggae-and-Caribbean imprint, 1998's SKATALITES AND FRIENDS AT RANDY'S is a fascinating collection of rare tracks recorded at the legendary Randy's Studio in Kingston, Jamaica in the mid '60s. Although the Skatalites only get their names on a quarter of the 20 tracks here--all of them killer ska instrumentals--they were the backing band on all of them, and although the Maytals or Alton Ellis might get top billing on the other 15 tracks, they're indubitably Skatalites tracks. Even more than Booker T and the MGs did for Stax/Volt or the Funk Brothers did for Motown, the Skatalites defined--some say invented--the musical landscape of Kingston from 1963 to 1966. Highlights include "Machine Shop," a solo showcase by Skatalites trombonist Don Drummond, and a skanking version of Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk" that works much better than anyone might expect.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
2:49 SpotifyAmazon
2 1:58 Spotify
3
feat: Don Drummond
2:36 Spotify
4
feat: The Maytals
2:03 Spotify
5 2:54 SpotifyAmazon
6 2:25 Spotify
7 2:32 SpotifyAmazon
8
feat: Alton Ellis
2:08 Spotify
9
feat: Baba Brooks
2:35 Spotify
10 2:20 Spotify
11
feat: Don Drummond
3:08 Spotify
12
feat: Alton Ellis
2:20 Spotify
13
2:30 SpotifyAmazon
14
feat: The Maytals
2:15 Spotify
15 2:35 SpotifyAmazon
16 2:29 Spotify
17 2:53 Spotify
18 2:27 Spotify
19
feat: Rico
2:51 Spotify
20 2:52 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick