Heartbeat Records will release the latest in its series of re-mastered material from the vaults of the acclaimed Studio One label founded by legendary producer, Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd on October 24th. Integral in laying the foundation for contemporary Jamaican music forms as well as influencing artists from genres as diverse as hip hop, punk, and soul, many consider Studio One as the birthplace of reggae music.
Six The Hard Way features a sampling of a half dozen of Studio One's greatest reggae artists: Slim Smith, the Termites, the Cables, Larry Marshall, the Viceroys, and Willie Williams, whose 'Armagideon Time' was among the most significant recordings Studio One released.
Its influence reached far beyond reggae. The track was covered by The Clash on that seminal punk band's 1980 album, Black Market Clash. In a 2001 Village Voice interview with Michael Diebert, Dodd recalled the story behind the song. “We had this great musical track that we released as ‘Real Rock,’” he said. “But the track was so strong that I realized putting some lyrics to it would be a good idea… We got in the studio and we came up with the Armagiddeon idea. After we finished with it that evening, I realized that we had something strong. Now looking back … it was right for the time to be comin’ biblical.’”
Founded in 1963, Studio One was integral in the evolution of Jamaican music, from ska and rocksteady to reggae, dub, and dancehall. Dubbed the “Motown of Jamaica” by GQ magazine, it was also Jamaica's first black-owned studio.
Luminaries whose work first appeared on the label include Bob Marley and the Wailers, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Burning Spear, Toots & the Maytals, John Holt, Horace Andy, Ken Boothe, and Alton Ellis. Ska progenitors the Skatalites were Studio One's house band.
At the heart of Studio One was Dodd, who built the label and brought to it a wealth of experience including work at other labels, such as World-Disc, which was one of the first to make Jamaican musical styles accessible. He had also run Downbeat, one of Kingston's most reputable sound systems. Dodd, called an “innovator of the first rank” by Rolling Stone magazine, passed away in 2004 leaving a legacy which has only grown more prominent over time.
Chris Wilson, Vice President of A&R at Heartbeat Records, who worked with Dodd on 65 albums, was instrumental in bringing the Studio One remasters series to life. “Clement Dodd was absolutely devoted to music,” he recalls. “He understood the ingredients that go into a fantastic recording, he mastered the skills necessary to make great records, and he knew talent when he heard it. It's entirely apropos that this particular installment in the series should come out in October, which is Jamaican Heritage Month.”
All titles in the Studio One collection, including Six the Hard Way, have been meticulously re-mastered from the original studio recordings for maximum sound fidelity. Accompanying each release is extensive background information, including artist biographies, band histories, and music commentary with attention to detail and the pursuit of integrity. For the reggae aficionado, this library is indispensable. For the novice it captures the magic formative years of a genre that is constantly reinventing itself and making its impact felt far beyond reggae circles. The re-mastered collections of some of the label's landmark music began in January 2006 and subsequent collections are scheduled for release through summer 2007.
The complete Studio One collection to date includes:
The Best of Studio One
Full Up: More Hits From Studio One
Downbeat the Ruler: Killer Instrumentals From Studio One
The Best of Studio One Collection (box set)
One Love: Bob Marley & the Wailers at Studio One 1964-1966
Ska Bonanza: The Studio One Ska Years
Bobby Bobylon -<