Pretty Looks Riddim

by Mar 25, 2024

Pretty Look Ain't All
The Heptones

The arrangement and performance of Pretty Look Ain’t All are a delight. The bass and guitar play lovely unison lines, a trombone sounds a regretful note, and over this the Heptones sing their song of love gone bad, gone good again.

This was followed by an easy going organ and guitar instrumental from Lennie Hibbert and Ernest Ranglin, Creation, a lovely remake of Pretty Look by Cornell Campbell and a positive uplifting song from Sugar Minott, Never Give Up. Studio One also issued two deejay cuts, Dillinger’s Babylon Bridge and Michigan & Smiley’s Compliment To Studio One.

Outside of Studio One there were a number of outstanding versions. Errol Holt recorded Jah Will Provide, and this cut of the riddim was used for deejay versions by Jah Stitch (Danger Zone Chapter Three) and Shorty The President (Danger Zone Chapter Four). Jah Stitch’s cut is a particularly infectious recording that somehow managed to turn up uncredited on Jah Woosh’s Psalms Of Wisdom album, although Jah Woosh did use the riddim for his Ital Feast.

The riddim was also recut at Channel One by Jo Jo Hookim, who issued a fine reality song by Hell And Sorrow, Pointless Killing. Other Channel One releases were by The Jays, the former harmony singers with The Royals, who performed a nice cover of Pretty Look, and a deejay version by Ranking Trevor, Penny A Look.

Channel One recut the riddim again in the ’80s for a number of versions including Frankie Paul’s The Girl Is Mine, Little John’s Girls Across The Ocean‘, and Sugar Minott’s Why You Acting Like That. Sugar must have liked the riddim because he used it again for his ode to wagging tongues, Chatty Chatty Mouth. Other excellent cuts include Carlton Livingston’s Marie and Johnny Osbourne’s excellent adaptation of Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready. But the most singular cut of the riddim must be in the ironic use on Mutabaruka’s scathing Postpone Christmas, which features a brilliant arrangement that helps every word to sting.

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

Heptones – Pretty Looks Ain’t All

Errol holt – Jah Will Provide

Sugar Minott – Chatty Chatty Mouth
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