Delroy Wilson

The Best of Delroy Wilson

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Delroy Wilson was one of Jamaica's biggest singing stars during the heyday of ska and rocksteady, maintaining his popularity well into the reggae era. Wilson's seductively soulful, slightly hoarse-sounding voice graced sides by the island's top producers Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, Sonia Pottinger, and Bunny Lee, leaving an impression on the young Bob Marley in the process. This fine collection brings together many of the rocksteady hits he recorded at Dodd's Studio One in the late '60s, including proto-lover's rock smashes like "Riding for a Fall" and "Run Run." The kind of medium-to-slow grooves Wilson excelled at are plentiful too, with his minor-mood version of the Temptations' hit "Get Ready" standing out in particular; the brash side of this in-the-pocket brilliance is aired on the sarcastic, "sound-clash" number "Conquer Me" (likely a response to singer Derrick Morgan's "Conquering Ruler," another in a line of boasting songs popular among Jamaican singers). More up-tempo material rounds out the set, including another dancehall favorite, "Ungrateful Baby," a fine cover of the Little Milton hit "We're Gonna Make It," and the collection's sole ska cut, "Impossible." Wilson gets solid backing from Coxsone's studio band of the time, the Soul Vendors, with the fine work of organist/arranger Jackie Mittoo, guitarist Eric Frater, and the horn section of tenor saxophonist Roland Alphonso, alto saxophonist Lester Sterling, and trombonist Vin Gordon deserving special mention. An essential collection for fans of rocksteady music.

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