Delroy Wilson

The Best of Delroy Wilson...Original Eighteen

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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 Wilson 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 uptempo 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 Dodd'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. [In 2006, Heartbeat re-released the Best of Delroy Wilson...Original 12 and added six bonus cuts, including the soul nugget "I Love You Madly," the Wilson- Dodd originals "Rain from the Skies," a previously unissued extended mix of "I Don't Know Why," a killer cover of Theo Beckford's "Easy Snappin'" that has never appeared digitally before, and the stunner "One Last Kiss," originally released on 45 by the Wilson Brothers in 1965, to close the set out. How do you make a classic like this one better? Add more vintage, top-notch material, which is just what Heartbeat has done. This is an essential collection for fans of rocksteady music.]

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