The Gladiators – Once Upon A Time In Jamaica

by Aug 19, 2019Artist, Reviews

The Gladiators – Once Upon A Time In Jamaica
Backsleeve The Gladiators – Once Upon A Time In Jamaica

Release Info

The Gladiators – Once Upon A Time In Jamaica

Label: Diggers Factory/Utopia | Format: DBL LP | Street date: June 21, 2019 | Website Diggers Factory

Side One

  1. Jah Garden
  2. Good Good Loving
  3. War Is Over

Side Two

  1. War Is Over (Dub)
  2. Lonely Heart
  3. Babe And Suckling

Side Three

  1. Trial And Crosses
  2. Unite
  3. Red Hot

Side Four

  1. Red Hot (Dub)
  2. Determination
  3. Wicked Man
  4. Wicked Man (Dub)

“Diggers Factory is a team of music and vinyl enthusiasts who want to offer all artists the opportunity to press their vinyl without financial risk. They also make collaborations with confirmed artists & labels such as Israel Vibration, Mighty Diamonds and The Congos to create numbered vinyls in limited editions. Exclusive reissues, unpublished releases or new albums ship to the vinyl lovers.”

The Album

The 2002 released cd “Once Upon A Time In Jamaica” was the last Gladiators album that solely features the lead vocal of founding member Albert Griffiths. It preceded the singer, songwriter and guitar player’s 2005 released ‘farewell’ album “Fathers And Sons”, after ill health had forced him to put an end to his music career, which – after the group had entered the reggae arena in 1965 – really took off in 1968 when the Gladiators encountered their first major success with the single “Hello Carol” for producer Coxsone Dodd.

Brief History

After their years with Virgin Records in the second half of the 1970s, which led to the release of five studio albums, the 1980s became the most productive decade for the Gladiators with no less than eleven full length album releases on various record labels. With the advent of dancehall in the 1990s, the Gladiators only released three studio albums during that decade, while the start of the new millennium saw the release of the “Something A Gwaan” album. Two years later that set was followed by “Once Upon A Time In Jamaica”, which now for the very first time is available on vinyl with a real collector packaging.

Players Of instruments

Recorded at Tuff Gong Studio, the Gladiators consisting of Albert Griffiths, Gallimore Sutherland and Rudlowe Robinson are backed in the studio by some of the greatest players of instruments Jamaica has to offer. These include Earl “Bagga” Walker (bass), Alvin Haughton, Bongo Herman, Clive Hunt & Uziah “Sticky” Thompson (drums, percussion), Clinton Rufus, Dwight Pinkney, Gallimore Sutherland, Leebert “Gibby” Morrison & Wayne Armond (guitar), Ansel Collins, Carol “Bowie” McLaughlin, Clive Hunt, Vernon “Keyst” Sutherland (keyboards) and Dean Fraser, Chico Chin & Ronald Robinson (horns).

Strong Roots Songs

No matter who joined Albert Griffiths in the Gladiators, their name has been synonymous with quality roots reggae and harmony since they emerged on the reggae scene. So, all reggae fans familiar with this band’s music know what they can expect and this album surely won’t let them down. Almost every track featured on “Once Upon A Time In Jamaica” (originally released by XIII Bis Records) is solid and benefits from wonderful vocals and a bright, warm tone, augmented by the perfectly played riddims of the above mentioned group of session players. The emotional voice of Albert Griffiths, which obviously is a little more hoarse than back in the day, graces strong roots songs like “Jah Garden”, “War Is Over”, “Trial And Crosses”, “Red Hot” and “Wicked Man”. The only track that doesn’t leave an everlasting impression is the lovers piece “Lonely Heart”, which has a kind of Country & Western vibe to it. A real nice bonus is the inclusion of a few dub versions.