- Unsung geniuses of Jamaican soul (The Fader)
- These musicians were pioneers. They built everything from the ground up… (XLR8R)
- Incredible (Everett True, Village Voice)
- Theses reissues are revelatory. (All Music Guide)
The compilation Jamaica to Toronto: Soul Funk & Reggae 1967-1974 rounds up the finest forgotten 45s and engaging LP tracks from this underappreciated era. Eddie Spencer, The Hitch-Hikers (featuring The Mighty Pope), Lloyd Delpratt, and The Cougars are just a handful of the many artists who broke down racial and cultural barriers, the seeds of which eventually blossomed into a unique Canadian reggae community.
In the early 1970s, Studio One keyboard maestro Jackie Mittoo led the charge, spreading the island beat. His Wishbone album was originally released in 1971 and cooks from end-to-end with a groovy rocksteady pulse. Thanks to this hard work, there was soon a younger generation on the move.
Son of Jamaican music great and one-time Toronto resident Alton Ellis, Noel Ellis was next in line for the throne. Assisted by Mittoo and Clash favorite Willi Williams, Noel’s self-titled debut recorded in 1979 showcases a serious display of roots and reality. Originally released on Jerry Brown’s Summer Records imprint, Ellis was just one of many reggae artists who ventured to Malton, Ontario, to record (along with Half Moon’s Oswald Creary and King [then Prince] Jammy).
The Summer Records Anthology 1974-1988 captures a killer cross-section of the producer/label owner Brown’s massive talent pool. Johnny Osbourne, Earth Roots & Water, and Adrian “Homer” Miller are all represented in the expansive package, which also includes a 25-minute documentary containing never-before-seen period footage of the Canadian reggae scene.
With Earth, Roots & Water’s 1977 dub masterpiece, Innocent Youths on deck for an early 2008 release, Jamaica-Toronto’s story is far from being told. From Yard to Yonge, New York, London, Paris, and all the way over to Tokyo, we are proud to present these now global sounds to music lovers everywhere.
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Jamaica to Toronto: Soul, Funk & Reggae 1967 - 1974
In 1963, the flight from Jamaica to Toronto was 8 hours. Today it’s 3 1/2. Countless people have made the dwindling journey over the years, but in the sixties and seventies there was a new breed of traveler: the finest ska, rocksteady, and reggae recording artists the West Indies have ever produced. We’re talking Studio One, Treasure Isle, Trojan, and WIRL veterans Jackie Mittoo, Johnnie Osbourne, Wayne McGhie, Lloyd Delpratt, The Mighty Pope, Noel Ellis, Jo-Jo Bennett, and many more. Arriving in their new Canadian home, these talented singers, songwriters, musicians, and performers simply did what came naturally to them. One by one, they hit the studio and captured some of the hardest tunes this side of Kingston. Jamaica to Toronto: Soul Funk and Reggae 1967-1974, details this crucial sonic migration and stands tall as the second helping of Light In The Atti’™s new Jamaica to Toronto series, compiled by DJ/Canadian music historian Sipreano, along with Light In The Attic.