The importance and influence that U.S. Soul music had on Jamaican music genres such as Rock Steady and it’s baby, Reggae, could never be underestimated. So many recorded performances in Jamaica from 1966 and onwards were often covers of classsic hits from the stables of Motown, Stax, etc….. in fact the legendary Studio One in Kingston is often referred to as the Motown of Jamaica! Jamaica was the birthplace for some of the most soulful vocalists to ever walk the face of the earth. Some of these singers would include Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Delroy Wilson, Slim Smith, Joe Higgs,Jimmy Cliff, Owen Gray, Carl Dawkins, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Barry Biggs among many others. There were also many soulful vocal groups from Jamaica who brought a heavy dose of R&B and Soul to Jamaican music, drawing heavily on the sounds of such classic American groups as The Impressions, The Temptations, The Drifters, The Stylistics, etc….. Some of the classic Jamaican vocal groups would include The Wailers, The Heptones, The Clarendonians, Carlton & His Shoes, The Paragons, The Gaylads, The Ethiopians, Toots & The Maytals, etc….. The number of amazing vocalists from that small little island is just staggering. Male and female vocalists, vocal groups …….. the list of greats just goes on and on. Soulful Reggae and Rock Steady is what first caught my ear and reeled me into an obsession with all things Jamaican…… not just the music, but the food, the culture, the people, etc… Once you start, you just can’t stop. Rock Steady, which is what the great Sly Dunbar refers to as “the mother of Reggae” was some of the most wonderful music to ever be recorded. Sweet, soulful, romantic, great singing, great arrangements and musicianship are just some of the crucial ingredients. Even though the onset of Reggae focused on important social issues and Rastafrai, just about every artist found time to still embrace plenty of romance and soul in the music. Lovers Rock in the U.K. and JA carried on the tradition of soulful sweetness and romantic vibes in the music and I will be blogging in the near future about that wonderful Reggae sub genre as well. Check out links below for more info on soulful Reggae, Rock Steady and Lovers Rock.