Various – Gay Feet (Expanded Edition)

by Oct 13, 2017Reviews, Various

Various - Gay Feet (Expanded Edition)
Sonia Pottinger

Release Info

Title: Various – Gay Feet (Expanded Edition)

Label: Doctor Bird Records / Cherry Red Records | Format: CD-LP-DR | Street date: October 13, 2017 | Website: Cherry Red Records


  1. Joe White & Chuck – Every Night
  2. Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – First Session
  3. The Saints – By The Sea
  4. Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – Mosquito Jump Up
  5. Joe White & Chuck – Hold Your Head In Front
  6. Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – Bugle Boy
  7. Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – Faberge
  8. The Techniques – Heartaches
  9. Claudell Clarke – What Must I Say
  10. Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – Pretty Boy
  11. The Techniques – What Love Can Do
  12. Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – Kl Salavoca
  13. Roy Richards & Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – Contact
  14. Granville Williams & Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – The Scratch
  15. Ken Boothe & Roy Shirley – Lollipop Tonight
  16. Sammy Ismay – Cocktails For Two
  17. Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – King Size
  18. Joe White & Chuck – One Nation (We’re Marching On)
  19. Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – Lavender Blue (Blues)
  20. Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – Open The Door
  21. The Saints – Brown Eyes
  22. Roy Richards & Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – Maureen
  23. Granville Williams & Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – The Jerk
  24. Baba Brooks & His Recording Band – Musical Sermon

In the mid-1960s Mrs Sonia Pottinger opened her Tip Top Record Shop on Orange Street, Kingston JA. In 1965 she launched her career as a record producer with the single “Every Night” by the duo Joe White & Chuck Josephs, who had previously recorded together as members of The Leaders. Their song, a classic Country & Western styled heartbreak ballad with an R&B beat, was recorded at Federal Recording Studio with Oswald ‘Baba’ Brooks & his Recording Band featuring Lyn Taitt’s lilting, chiming guitar well to the fore. The song became a massive hit and stayed high in the Jamaican charts for months, which was quite an achievement as it was the first recording session held by Mrs Pottinger.

Mrs Sonia Pottinger, formerly married to producer Lindon O. Pottinger, went on to become the most successful female producer in Jamaican popular music, releasing excellent sides and important hits on her Gay Feet, Tip Top, Rainbow and High Note labels. Early 1966, “Every Night” – with “First Session” on the B-side – became the first release on the Doctor Bird label – founded by George Benson, Bunny Rae and Graeme Goodall – in the UK. Massive sales helped to set the Gay Feet and Doctor Bird labels on their way to lasting success.

The success of “Every Night” and further hit singles on Pottinger’s newly created imprint that followed that year prompted the release of the aptly titled “Gay Feet” LP early in 1966. The album contained twelve of the producer’s most popular ska, jump up and R&B sides of the period. Besides vocalists such as Joe White & Chuck, The Saints, The Techniques and Claudelle Clarke, it also featured the inimitable talents of Baba Brooks & his Recording Band, who their first appearance on a full length album.

After half a century, the hugely collectable “Gay Feet” LP, subtitled “Every Night”, has been reissued for the very first time. It’s a wonderful compilation set, which treats the listener to the authentic early sixties sound of the Caribbean. The Techniques, with Slim Smith as lead singer, deliver the most shining vocal offerings with the ska tune “Heartaches” and the ballad “What Love Can Do”. And also the young male vocal group The Saints make a good impression with “By The Sea”, while “Every Night” by Joe White & Chuck is also a joy to listen to. When it comes to the instrumentals it are in particular the percussive “Pretty Boy”, “Bugle Boy” (with a riddim that recalls “Peanut Vendor”), and the charming “Fabergé” (with its ska beat and Baba on muted trumpet in front of a billowing horns section), that provide pure listening pleasure.

The original dozen tracks from the “Gay Feet” LP are bolstered by a further twelve mid-1960s recordings from Sonia Pottinger’s catalogue and include some of the producer’s best and most sought-after tracks from the ska era. It’s blind singer/harmonica player Roy Richards who heads the bonus part of this collection with “Contact”, an instrumental that reached a wider audience when it was included on Island Records’ popular LP “Club Ska ’67”. Ken Boothe & Roy Shirley were at the very beginning of a successful career when they recorded the real nice teenage love song “Lollipop Tonight”. Present again are Joe White & Chuck with the patriotic independence anniversary celebration “One Nation (We’re Marching On)” and also The Saints with the delightful “Brown Eyes”, which features Lyn Taitt’s tasteful guitar playing. And furthermore there are thrilling instrumentals by Baba Brooks & his Recording band such as “King Size”, Open The Door” and the rare “The Jerk” with organist Granville Williams as guest musician.

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