musicology #330


DownbeatTheRuler #10

(Wailing Souls – Don’t Fight)

Today’s cut, for me, epitomises the Studio 1 sound apoun which much of Reggae was built. Drum, Bass and Harmony..the trinity and who better to provide an example on the Downbeat tribute than the mighty ‘Wailing Souls’

Their story begins with Winston “Pipe” Matthews who as a youth living in Kingston in the early ’60s, learned to sing at the feet of singer supreme Joe Higgs, (already a veteran vocalist with a string of hits to his name, coaching up and coming talent in his tenement yard, his most famous protégés being the Wailers). Higgs’ training stood Matthews in equally good stead and by 1963, the aspiring singer and his vocal group the Schoolboys had come to the attention of Prince Buster. In 1965, the Schoolboys folded, but Matthews was soon back with a new group, the Renegades. This vocal trio comprised Matthews, Lloyd “Bread” McDonald, and George “Buddy” Haye, both of whom were also alumni of Higgs’ vocal classes. It was at this point that the trio came to the attention of Coxsonne Dodd and the Renegades embarked on a fruitful career at Studio One.

In 1968, Haye departed, in his place came two new singers, Oswald Downer and Norman Davis. Such a shift of lineup prompted the group to totally cut ties with the past, and they changed their moniker to the Wailing Souls. Studio One eventually released two seminal compilations of recordings from this period, The Wailing Souls and the LP from which today’s piece is taken Soul and Power.

Still going strong after more than 40 years the Wailing Souls continue to deliver soul stirring musicology that stands as a testament to both their quality and longevity. For more ‘Souls’ Knowledge visit their site from where the above information was unashamedly gleaned.

An early 70’s cut, with the bassline echoing the Larry Marshall classic ‘Throw Me Corn’.

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