yardie's reggae collection - artist page



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1966-1986 - Trojan - studio - discs:2

The story of the harmony group The Pioneers started in the early 60's when Sydney Roy "Luddy" Crooks (1945) moved to Kingston from the Parish of Westmoreland were he sung along with other fellows by the street corners. Soon he formed the first incarnation of The Pioneers along with his brother Derrick "Roy" and Winston Hewitt. They cut a couple of tracks for Coxsone Dodd and Leslie Kong without the expected response. Soon after they financed some material recorded at Treasure Isle backed by the Ramblers. By the end of 1966 these recordings were licensed to Blondel "Ken Lack" Calnek (former Skatalites road manager). He released a single containing "Doreen Girl" and "Good Nannie". Here starts the present fiftyfour (!) tracks collection. Even if the first singles did not get the expected success Calnek was impressed by The Pioneers approach and decided to make Sydney Crooks the man for over seeing his productions and auditioning new groups as The Heptones. Later The Pioneers offered other material to Joe Gibbs. By this time since Hewitt moved to Canada, Glen Adams joyned the group for a short amount of time. In 1967 The Pioneers disbanded. Adams formed the Hippy Boys and Sydney Roy "Luddy" Crooks formed the Slickers. Elsewhere I found that the Slickers were not formed by Sydney Crooks, but by his brother Derrick "Joe" Crooks. Please visit the Slickers page for further interesting informations. In early 1968 Crooks cut "Gimme Little Loving" at Gibbs along with a new vocal partner called Jackie Robinson. The song was a success and they went on recording for decades. A lot of other successes were issued in the same year. By the end of the year the new duo was approached by a tailor named George Agard. They immediately cut "Na Na" as Johnny Melody & The Slickers. As the song hit the streets the new Pioneers were established. They became one of the prominent vocal group in the island. By October 1968 "Long Shot Kick De Bu" hit the British charts and a six week tour was scheduled. Subsequently Trojan Records released The Pioneers second album in 1969 called "Long Shot". In 1970 the group was back in Leslie Kong's studio to cut further material. The subsequent album was called "Battle Of The Giants". By the last months of 1970 The Pioneers worked with Jimmy Cliff who made them record a song he had wrote early that year. The song was "Let Your Yeah Be Yeah". Here started some sort of new Pop oriented Pioneers sound, a new drift which slowly got far away from the pure Jamaican sounds. From now on some kind of mainstream Pop-Reggae approach was their trademark. If the material from the 60's is strong, not the same can be said about what was recorded in the 70's. So check for the material recorded between 1966 and 1969-70 for a pure Jamaican sound. The rest is something that I am not able to appreciate.

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yardie-reggae.com - 2007