Various – Soul Power ’68

by Mar 12, 2021Reviews, Various

Various - Soul Power '68

Release Info

Various – Soul Power ’68

Label:  Doctor Bird | Format: Dbl CD-DR | Street date: March 12, 2021 | Website label


Disc One

  1. The Silvertones – In The Midnight Hour
  2. Radcliffe Butler – Soul Power (My Last Word)
  3. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – Music Is My Occupation
  4. Lloyd Williams – Funky Beat
  5. The Conquerors – Lonely Street
  6. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – Work Your Soul
  7. The Melodians – Come On Little Girl
  8. Clive Bonnie & Doreen Shaffer – What Can I Do?
  9. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – Venus
  10. The Conquerors – I Fell In Love
  11. Lloyd Williams – Good Bye Baby
  12. Winston Wright & The Supersonics – Black Power
  13. Lloyd Tyrell – Keep On Going
  14. Joya Landis – I Love You True Aka So True
  15. The Yardbrooms – If You See Jane
  16. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – Uncle Sam
  17. The Gladiators – Live Wire
  18. Hopeton Lewis – She’s Gone
  19. Joya Landis – Let Me Know (Soul Version)
  20. The Silvertones – Slow And Easy
  21. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – My Best Girl (Rhythm)

Disc Two

  1. The Sensations – Baby Love (Original Mix)
  2. The Melodians – Let’s Join Hands Together
  3. The Paragons – Joy In My Soul
  4. Joya Landis – When The Lights Are Low
  5. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – Bang Belly
  6. Joey & His Group – Soul Love
  7. Joya Landis – Ride Me Donkey
  8. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – Rocking Soul
  9. Hopeton Lewis & Sir Lord Comic – Black Power (Take 2)
  10. Joya Landis – Love Me All The Time
  11. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – Soul Style
  12. Hopeton Lewis – Live It Up
  13. Joya Landis – Let Me Know (Rock Steady Version)
  14. Phyllis Dillon – Humpty Dumpty
  15. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – Oily Oily
  16. Joya Landis – Your Love Is All Over Me
  17. The Termites – Breaking Up
  18. Ernest Ranglin & The Supersonics – Merry Mood Aka Ranglin On Bond Street
  19. Hopeton Lewis – There She Goes
  20. The Sensations – Darling Forgive Me
  21. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – Angel Of The Morning (Rhythm) (Take 5)
In Jamaica, a whole generation of singers, players of instruments, and MCs had grown up in thrall to the sounds of 1960s black America. In the 1950s, Jamaican music in the dance halls had evolved by adapting shuffle-based r&b and boogie-woogie. The link continued in the early 1960s with singers and vocal groups, who participated in local contests, singing material that was drawn from the catalogues of US artists such as The Drifters, Clyde McPhatter, and the ever-present Impressions. When soul replaced r&b in the affection of black American listeners, so rocksteady and later reggae developed as Jamaican popular music kept pace with innovations in the US.

US Soul

Through the 1960s, as US soul began increasingly to reflect the social concerns and political aspirations of the black working class, the same phenomenon began to register in Jamaican music. By the end of the 1960s, Jamaica could boast the presence of several singers who equaled in emotional intensity their US contemporaries, among them singers like Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, John Holt, Slim Smith, Pat Kelly, and Delroy Wilson as well as vocal groups such as The Sensations, The Uniques, The Melodians, The Silvertones, and The Techniques.

Duke Reid

After serving some ten years in Kingston’s police constabulary, Arthur ‘Duke’ Reid and his wife Dorothy opened the Treasure Isle liquor store. He made his way into the music industry first as a sound system owner, promoter, and disc jockey in 1953. He began producing recordings in the late 1950s, first in studios owned by others and then in his own studio above the store. Together with producers like Coxsone Dodd, Prince Buster, and Leslie Kong, Duke Reid dominated the Jamaican music scene of the 1960s, specialising in ska and rocksteady. The material that he issued on his Treasure Isle label exemplified the cool and elegant feel of the rocksteady era. At his heydays, the producer employed then popular artists such as Alton Ellis, Phyllis Dillon, Dobby Dobson, Hopeton Lewis, and a roll call of outstanding vocal groups like for example The Paragons, The Techniques, The Jamaicans, The Silvertones, and The Melodians, who were backed by Duke Reid’s in-house studio band Tommy McCook and the Supersonics.

Unreleased Album

Over the past few decades, the Treasure Isle catalogue has been mercilessly plundered. Countless classic recordings put out on Duke Reid’s much-celebrated record label have been reissued, artist albums as well as compilation sets, so one might think that all Duke Reid produced material featured on this Soul Power ’68 set has already been released before. However, that ain’t the case! The first dozen tracks are lifted directly from a recently discovered Trojan Records tape of a previously unreleased compilation album, Soul Power, while the remainder of the material consists of hits, rarities, previously unissued tunes, and tracks new to cd.


As already pointed out, US soul artists and their songs strongly inspired many Jamaican artists, and thus seeing interpretations of soul tunes in the rocksteady era wasn’t really surprising. The tracks featured on Soul Power ’68 can be ranked amongst the best works from the legacy of Duke Reid. It’s a delight and pure fun to listen to this splendid collection of tunes with mostly the superb Tommy McCook and the Supersonics providing backdrops that still caress the eardrums more than 50 years after they were recorded at 33 Bond Street in Kingston, Jamaica. And it’s really good that this set includes no less than 10 instrumentals by this band plus two with Winston Wright and Ernest Ranglin respectively, which could have made up a worthwhile album of their own. Also, well-represented is Joya Landis (US-born Wanda Jean Vann) with 7 tracks in the soul vein. During her three-month stay in Jamaica, she recorded a run of classics for Duke Reid. A number of tunes featured here were never released in the UK, and in the case of the rocksteady version of Let Me Know it’s known that it has never been released anywhere. Besides highly enjoyable tunes by vocalists such as Hopeton Lewis, Lloyd Tyrell aka Lloyd Charmers, and Phyllis Dillon, the listener is also entertained by goodies from vocal groups like The Silvertones, The Sensations, The Paragons, and The Termites. In all, this is a wonderful trip down memory lane for the older reggae fan.

The Silvertones – In The Midnight Hour

The Gladiators – Live Wire

Hopeton Lewis – Live It Up


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