The Aggrovators – Jah Jah Dub The Aggrovators were one of Jamaica’s finest session bands. Many of the tracks you know and love from the 1970’s Reggae scene probably featured this group of musicians in some shape or form. The band were put together by Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee one of Jamaica’s formidable producers,who with no studio of his own had to rely on buying studio time from the existing establishments, such as Randy’s Studio 17 and the Hookim brothers Channel 1. This was an expensive task and he needed a pool of top musicians who could cut tracks quickly and efficiently. Built around the cream of Jamaica’s musicians namely; Carlton ‘Santa’ Davis, Carlton Barrett [Drums], Robbie Shakespeare, Aston ‘Family man’ Barrett, Lloyd Parks [Bass],Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith [ lead guitar ], Tony Chin, Winston ‘Bo Beep’ Bowen [Rhythm Guitar] Ansel Collins [Piano], Bernard ‘ touter’ Harvey, Winston Wright [ Organ ], Bobby Ellis [Trumpet], Vin Gordon [Trombone], Tommy McCook [Tenor Saxophone ] and Lennox Brown [ Alto Saxophone ].
Vocal duties would usually feature two of Bunny Lee’s favourite singers Johnny Clarke and Cornell Campbell who would also fill in if the need arise on Piano and rhythm guitar respectively.
The forward looking Mr Lee was inspired by the English music scenes interest in reggae especially the skinhead cultures adoption of all things ska-ish. So much so that he called his reggae shop / label ‘Agro Sounds’ after the skinhead term for fighting / trouble..’Agro’ . Later when looking for a suitable name for his group what else could it be….THE AGGROVATORS were born.
Mr Coxsone Dodd’s STUDIO ONE opened its doors in 1963 at 13 Brenford Road Kingston, Jamaica, it would become the name for all his future productions.Coxsone Dodd started out with one of the first Sound Systems in Jamaica, called Sir Coxsone The Downbeat , importing American R & B records to fill his dances. A lack of supply of new / original material which is very important to sound system supremacy would lead him during the 1950’s to produce Jamaican hits of his own.The Studio One set up would allow the opportunity to experiment and fine tune these recordings. It became a hit factory releasing songs like Alton Ellis’s ‘I’m just a guy’, ‘ live and learn’, Delroy Wilson’s ‘Dancing mood’, ‘Riding for a fall’, ‘Rain from the skies’ and Larry Marshall’s ‘Mean Girl’ to name but a few.Versions of which feature on this collection.
The updating of Studio One classics which in some cases were reworkings of American R & B tunes [ ‘foreign tunes ‘ as they were known in Jamaica ], was common practice. The rhythms were much loved favourites and with the added incentive that the musicians knew the tracks inside out .This set of dubs are straight from the master tapes of such sessions orchestrated by the man Bunny Lee himself, no one knew better …you can’t keep a good tune down never mind a great one. So sit back and enjoy The Aggrovators in fine Studio One style……..RESPECT….. JAH FLOYD.
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