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Earth and Stone - Kool Roots

(Vinyl 2LP)

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Item: LDE001119

In the last half century the rapid development of Jamaican music has been subject to many different forces: social, political, cultural and musical and, of all these influences, American popular music has been one of the most significant. The sway of American popular music has continued through until the present day with Jamaica mirroring many of the movements, innovations, styles and concerns of its larger neighbor.

One such movement was the emergence of the sound of Philadelphia, the musical bridge between Motown and disco, a brand of soul which tends not to receive proper critical respect no doubt partly, but perversely, due to its commercial success. The engine of the Philly sound was session band M.F.S.B. and the rhythm was driven for Channel One by the immortal Revolutionaries. The sweet harmonies of ballad groups such as The Delphonics and The Stylistics surely a direct effect on Jamaican vocal groups of the same era as is evidenced by the Channel One output of The Mighty Diamonds, The Rolands, The Wailing Souls, The Meditations, Black Uhuru, The Jays and Earth & Stone.

In 1972 Earth & Stone made their way, like so many other Jamaican artists, down to Brentford Road to work up their skills at Studio One. In 1973 they progressed to Channel One where they began to record for Jo Jo and Ernest Hookim. As was common for the time their material was a mix of lovers and roots but with the balance tipped to the cultural side. Between 1973 and 1978 tunes such as "Jah Will Cut You Down" and "Three Wise Men" became popular on Channel One's Hitbound imprint. The duo of Albert Bailey and Clifton Howell created their own unique vocal interchange sound, each taking turn at lead and harmony.

The Kool Roots set was out initially in 1978 and collates most of the group's songs for the label. It's unusual for the time in that the vocal and dub sets were released together in the UK by Cha Cha containing both albums within a gatefold sleeve, an expense not usually afforded for a reggae release. Even the artwork was well above the usual standard. The Pressure Sounds re-issue of this reggae classic has the customary sleeve notes by Steve Barker and certain elements of the original artwork are utilized. Also included is an eight page full color booklet with photographs from the period of both Earth & Stone and the Channel One studio.

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