* * * * *1976-1977 - Mango - studio - discs: 1
The Wailing Souls was one of the greatest vocal harmony groups from Jamaica. The group members changed during their career with the main core formed by Winston "Pipe" Matthews and Lloyd "Bread" McDonald. Their first success came around 1970-1971 under Sir Coxsone Dodd at Studio One. At that time some songs were released under the name of the "Classics". For some tracks thier already adopted the name of Wailing Souls but it was too much resembling that of the Wailing Wailers and they choosed for Pipe and The Pipers. The connection grow even closer bringing them in the studio with Bob Marley and the Wailers to record some backing vocals for them. Around 1974 George "Buddy" Haye rejoyned the group and in 1976 the final name was permanent. During this year Rudolph "Garth" Dennis (coming from the first ensamble of Black Uhuru) joyned in. The group released a couple of songs ("Bredda Gravalicious" and "Feel The Spirit") and got huge success under their own label: Massive. In 1979 Island released a masterpiece: Wild Suspence. This is briefly the story that led to this album with the Revolutionaries as the backing band. Now I would like to spend a few more words about its content. The first and maybe the only thing to say is that I really feel transfixed when it is time for an harmony group singing above beautiful rhythms. In this case the harmonies are over the top. Ten songs are enough to deliver some of the best Roots music and they prove how much self confident the Wailing Souls were with the material available. With the exception of "Black Rose", which stands just a little under the average quality here, all the songs are beautiful. What stands over them is the above mentioned "Bredda Gravalicious", "Something Funny" and "Very Well". This edition comes with seven bonus Dub tracks. This is an album that stands strong as a classic after thirtyfive years and always will.
1. Row Fisherman
2. Slow Coach
3. We Got To Be Together
4. Feel The Spirit
5. Bredda Gravalicious
6. Wild Suspense
7. They Never Know
8. Black Rose
9. Something Funny
10. Very Well
11. Walk But Mind You Don't Fall (Dub) *
12. Row Fisherman (Dub) *
13. Bredda Gravalicious (Dub) *
14. Slow Coach (Dub) *
15. Something Funny (Dub) *
16. We've Got To Be Together (Dub) *
17. Very Well (Dub) *
FIRE HOUSE ROCK
* * * *1981- Greensleeves - studio - discs: 1
This is the third set from the Wailing Souls after the debut "The Wailing Souls" and the stellar "Wild Suspence". This time Henry "Junjo" Lawes produced and as expected the mood is slightly pre-digital early Dancehall. But do not expect bad surprises: they are still the Wailing Souls almost at their best. So there is not a real break from what they recorded before, only some pure Roots spiced with a tea spoon of Dancehall. The backing band are the Roots Radics. The album was recorded at Channel One and mixed by Scientist at King Tubby's Studio. What about the songs? After an album like "Wild Suspence" is quite clear that eveything seems inferior and quite frankly it is. But listen to that album and I think you will agree with me. In any case this remains a very strong set inevitably overshadowed by its predecessor. The same as with "Arise" from the Abyssinians after "Satta Massagana". The "Firehouse Rock" set is very cohesive and there are some real good tunes too. These are: "Firehouse Rock", "Oh What A Feeling", "Busnah" and "Bandits Taking Over". The gem is the slow Roots of "Kingdom Rise Kingdom Fall". The title track name is a play on the name of one of the toughest ghettos in Kingston, Waterhouse.
WAILING SOULS AT CHANNEL ONE - 7's, 12's AND VERSIONS
* * * *1976 - Pressure Sounds - studio - discs:1
This great compilation presents an extended version of the Wailing Souls only release for the legendary Hookim brothers' Channel One label, "The Best Of Wailing Soul" (material from 1976, but released only in 1984). That set presented nine songs: "War", "Joy Within Your Heart", "Very Well", "Things And Time", "Jah Jah Give Us Life To Live", "Back Out", "Fire Coal Man", "Fire A Mus Mus Tail" and "Back Slider". In 1976 the Wailing Souls were introduced to Joseph "Joe Joe" Hookim, owner of Channel One. Their first recording for Hookim was "Thing And Time", a tune that updated the "Back Out (With It)" rhythm. After the success of this single Hookim decided to go for the new 12" format making them cut "War" with the addition of Ranking Trevor to add some deejay spice. The subsequent "Fire A Must Tail", and "Very Well" also were hits. Another hit was "Lawlwss Society", not released in the original The Best Of, but present here in an alternate version plus the Revolutionaries Dub. The present compilation updates the original nine tracks introducing some very powerful extended 12" Disco mixes and Dubs from The Revolutionaries. Some sort of unexpected tracks are "Natty Bsc" (and its Dub) from Dillinger. The booklet does not mention why the compiler choose these tracks to be added here. Basecally all the material here more than satisfies, with three tracks that really shine: "Jah Jah Give Us Life To Live", "Very Well" and its Dub from The Revolutionaries called "Very Well Version".
MOST WANTED - CLASSIC CUTS 1978-1984
* * * *1978-1984 - Greensleeves - studio - discs: 1
The Wiling Souls in their final ensable (Winston "Pipe" Matthews, Lloyd "Bread" McDonald, George "Buddy" Haye and Rudolph "Garth" Dennis) were among the best harmony groups of the second half of the 70's. In 1977 they were introduced to Joseph "Jo Jo" Hookim of Channel One. They cut with the Hookim brothers a single called "Things And Time". It was a success. The Hookims were the first to release the new 12" format with Marcia Griffiths' "Truly", a classic from the Studio One years. The Wailing Souls released two 12" with the Hookims: "War" and the highly powerful "Jah Give Us Life (Don't Feel No Way)". The former features Ranking Trevor on the second half. The latter highly benefits from the 12" length: the original song is very good but its Dub adds a lot of strength to it. Both tracks were cut Channel One, with Ernest Hookim engineering and The Revolutionaries providing the music. The following four songs were produced by Henry "Junjo" Lawes. Again the tracks were cut at Channel One. This list opens with "Fire House Rock", a classic engineered by the great Scientist. This is the only track in the entire compilation which is not a 12". Follows the stellar " Kingdom Rise & Kingdom Fall", a deep Roots which is even stronger in this extended version. Barnabas engineers. The third track produced by Lawes is "A Day Will Come", also engineered by Barnabas. The fourth is "See Baba Joe", again with Barnabas by the board. Follows "Who No Waan Come", a song produced by Linval Thompson, engineered by Scientist and cut at King Tubby's. Maybe the best comes with the Dub treatement. Follows "Up Front", again a track produced by Lawes. The next song is "Diamonds & Pearls", a Lawes production with again Barnabas engineering. Follows "They Don't Know Jah", a slow Roots produced by themselfs and engineered by Soldgie. The next is "Bounce Back", produced by Lawes again and engineered by Errol Thompson. The compilation closes with "War Deh Round A John Shop", a self produced song engineered by Errol Brown. With the exception of "War" and "Jah Give Us Life (Don't Feel No Way)" with The Revolutionaries as backing band, and "Bounce Back" with the Hi-Times Band, all the other tracks were played by The Roots Radics. All the tracks were cut at Channel One, except "Who No Waan Come" and "Bounce Back". This is a good compilation. It is especially interesting since the extended versions offer a deeper vibe to the originals. With such engineers involved as Scientist, Barnabas or Errol Brown, the result is in more than one case really powerful. Needless to say, the backing bands provide an intense and heartfelt background to some of the best harmony groups of the second half of the 70's and the beginnings of the 80's. This is unmissable if you like the Wailing Souls, but also for the Roots / early 80's Dancehall lovers.
* * * * /
1970-1971 - Studio One - studio - discs:1
"Wailing Souls" is the debut album by the homonymous group which core has always been formed by Winston "Pipe" Matthews (b. 1949) and Lloyd "Bread" McDonald (b. early 50's). The first song by "Pipe" and his friend Colin Johnson was a single called "Little Dilly" (around 1960) and credited to the Schoolboys. Followed some singles for Prince Buster and rehearsals by a group of friends formed by Winston "Pipe" Matthews, Lloyd "Bread" McDonald, George "Buddy" Haye, Oswald "Saboo" Downer, Norman "Fats" Davis (former Tennors) and Vision Walker (cousin of Rita Marley). Around 1965 Ainsley Folder, an employee at Federal records, called some of them for some backing vocals for Pam Blythe. The singers involved were "Pipe", "Bread", "Buddy" and Rupert Edwards but this ensamble hadn't yet a name. After some time they started to call themselfs the Renegades. The real start came when they sung for Ernest Ranglin. In the studio there were "Pipe", "Bread" and "Buddy". But soon the Renegades disbanded. By end of the 60's "Pipe" and "Bread" wanted to reform the group with Oswald "Saboo" Downer and Norman "Fats" Davis. They cut the single "Gold Digger" for Lloyd" Matador" Daley. An audition for Coxsone Dodd was followed by three hits "Row Fisherman", "Back Out With It" and "Fire Coal Man". M ore singles were subsequently released and credited to the Classics. This is briefly what happened before this powerful twelve tracks debut set. The list of the songs is as follows: "Back Out With It", "Fire Coal Man", "Run My People", "Thou Shall Not Steal", "Row Fisherman", "Real Rock", "Got To Be Cool", "Pack Up", "Can't Catch Me", "Hot Road", "Things And Time" and "Without You". Permeated by a rural feeling, "Wailing Souls" is a highly confident album. Beautiful and deep lyrichs are firmly spread all over the set and the musicians involved deliver some great performances. This is the start of one of the greatest harmony groups of the Jamaican music.