Eric Donaldson

Very Best of Eric Donaldson

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Although he will forever be remembered for his "Cherry Oh Baby" composition, a song that is sort of the "Louie Louie" of Jamaican music, versioned over 30 times and covered by the likes of the Rolling Stones and UB40, Eric Donaldson is much more than a one-trick pony, having won the prestigious Jamaican Festival Song Competition at least a half-dozen times, beginning with "Cherry" in 1971. With his easy, likeable falsetto and a penchant for crafting simple, sparsely produced, and impossibly infectious songs, Donaldson is sort of an island version of Smokey Robinson, and although he generally shies away from heavy cultural themes, preferring songs of love and hopeful good vibes, he is every bit as Jamaican as his more feted, dreader contemporaries. Unfortunately his work has been poorly presented in the CD era -- although "Cherry Oh Baby" is anthologized everywhere -- making this Rhino anthology an absolutely essential purchase for fans of Jamaican pop-reggae. "Cherry" is here, of course, in its original 12" mix, along with the effortlessly flowing "Keep On Riding," "Blue Boots," and a wonderful cover of Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions' "You Must Believe." At 25 tracks, The Very Best of Eric Donaldson is an ideal collection, and it plays like a summery blast of fresh ocean air.

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