Collector’s Edition Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the
Jamaican Rock Steady Genre
2016 marks the 50th anniversary for Jamaica’s celebrated musical genre rock steady. Rock steady, which was a successor of ska and precursor to reggae, used elements of rhythm and blues (R&B), jazz, ska as well as African and Latin American drumming. With its irresistible slow tempo beat and more bass-heavy, stripped-down sound, it was a distinct contrast from the more upbeat, big band ska era. Although it lasted only a couple of years (1966-68), rock steady is one of Jamaican music’s most influential genres and produced immortal rhythms that are still sampled and used today.
17 North Parade, VP Records’ vintage imprint, commemorates the genre this year with First Class Rock Steady. The 12″ double vinyl edition is available this Fri. (Sept 30) and follows its 40-track CD and digital companion piece released on July 1 as well as the 7″ limited edition vinyl piece exclusive for Record Store Day 2016.
This new black vinyl collection of First Class Rock Steady is completely remastered – expanding on the RSD edition while cherry picking 24 of the CD’s most pivotal songs from some of the genre’s defining artists like Lee “Scratch” Perry, The Techniques, Desmond Dekker and Johnny Nash. It’s detailed cover reflects the excitement of the era when postal mail was the only mode for sharing this burgeoning Jamaican export for worldwide consumption. Playing off of Jamaica’s long history of tourism, the packaging also features images of picturesque postcards and stamps of Cricket (a Jamaican pastime), the Doctor Bird (national symbol) and Montreal’s Expo ’67 (World’s Fair). In addition, the set includes extensive liner notes written by Harry Wise and filled with commentary from the genre’s key players, including living legend Bunny “Striker” Lee, Trinidad and Tobago’s late-great Lynn Taitt and the 2014 fallen icon, Hopeton Lewis.