Tonight Riddim

by Nov 7, 2018

Derrick Harriott
Derrick Harriott
Derrick Harriott

Derrick Harriott’s involvement with the music goes back to the 1950s when he worked as a singer. In the 1960s he became one of Jamaica’s top producers and “Tonight” is one of his finest riddims.


“Tonight” – originally released in 1967 – features a great rolling bass line over which rocksteady duo Keith Rowe and Phillip Texas Dixon, who are better known as Keith & Tex, sing their song of love gone wrong. This everlasting masterpiece in the history of Reggae music has a particularly addictive quality. Derrick Harriott produced several further cuts to the riddim and nearly all of them include some of Keith & Tex’s original lyrics.

Augustus Pablo

The first of these was a deejay version from Scotty, “Children Children”, on which he runs through a selection of nursery rhymes. Derrick then cut a heavy breathing version, “Bedroom Mazurka”, with vocals by Derrick himself and Fay Bennett. This cut also features Augustus Pablo blowing some great melodica lines, although it is unlikely that Pablo knew how his contribution would be used. Thankfully, there is also a version featuring Pablo and omitting the vocals – “Bedroom Mazurka Version 3”.

Keith & Tex

Keith & Tex (1968)


The next cut was “Swinging Chariot”, a synthesiser instrumental from the brilliant “More Scrubbing The Dub” album, and later still there was a dub version on the “Sensimilla Dub” album, which is dominated by overdubs from Sly Dunbar. In 1977 Derrick Harriott recut the riddim with the Revolutionaries, which he used for his adaptation of “Tonight”. This was issued on a discomix together with a nice deejay cut from Ray I.

Coxsone Dodd

Coxsone Dodd recut the riddim early on for a vibraphone instrumental by Lennie Hibbert called “Real Hot”. Later Studio One cuts include Sugar Minott’s “Try Love” and Eddie Constantine’s “Tenement Yard”, which both included percussion overdubs without which they would sound better. Sugar Minott later recut the riddim for a nice self-produced version of “Try Love” and a further song, “Heartbreaker”. Sugar later also re-recorded the riddim for his production of Tenor Saw’s “Lots Of Sign”.

Cover Versions

There are a number of other excellent cover versions of “Tonight” by Merging Traffic, Junior Delgado, Soul Syndicate, Michael Palmer and a particularly outstanding cut by Horace Andy.

(Source: Ray Hurford & Jean Scrivener’s “Rhythm Wise One & Two”)


Selected tunes from the ’60s, ’70s & ’80s :

Keith & Tex – Tonight
Lennie Hibbert – Real Hot
Augustus Pablo – Bedroom Mazurka Version 3
Chariot Riders – Swinging Chariot
Flick And Slick – Tonight
Merging Traffic – Tonight
Pablo & Fay – Bedroom Mazurka
Scotty – Children Children
Derrick Harriott & Ray I – Tonight
Junior Delgado – Tonight
Sly & The Revolutionaries – Chicken George
Eddie Constantine – Tenement Yard
Horace Andy – Tonight
Michael Palmer – Tonight Tonight

Soul Syndicate – Tonight
Sugar Minott – Heartbreaker
Sugar Minott – Try Love
Tenor Saw – Lots Of Sign
Devon Russell – Gully Bank
Little John – Dibby Dibby Lover
Lenkie Roy – Strong Will Survive
Delroy Katt aka Katt I – Kill Me With The No
Jah Woosh – Walls Of Babylon
Eccleton Jarrett – Turn On The Heat
Cultural Roots – Running Back To Me
Cocoa Tea – Young Lover
Chuck Turner – Run Around Girl
Carlton Livingston – Land Of A Thousand Dances
Tony Tuff – Play Me Selector
Thriller U – Raggamuffin Mi Soup