January 17, 2012

Spencer Dunham's Rockers & Romancers

Spencer Dunham of the Allah-Las sent over a mix of old reggae joints last night. He culled the selection from overlooked and forgotten vinyl records he discovered while working at Amoeba. I'm a huge fan of the loose and jazzy vibe of old ska and soul-brushed reggae—see posts on Slim Smith, The Skatalites, and Justin Hinds—and the Allah-Las' Catamaran 7" was Everybody Taste's pick for best vinyl single of 2011, so yes, you might say this is a bit up my alley. Here's a few words on the compilation from Dunham:
I was working at Amoeba for a long time and towards the end of it I was pricing bins of reggae clearance all day long. I would go through a lot of stuff that looked like garbage, but every once in a while I would find a cover that would strike my eye, often times with a Studio 1 logo on it, and have to check it out. I ended up finding a bunch of really cool Early-Rocksteady and Jamaican Soul records. For Christmas, I made a bunch friends a compilation of some of my favorite songs of love and heartbreak. Most of the records I got were pretty beat up so when I recorded them onto my computer, I added a smooth touch of reverb on each one to soften the crackles and make it all a little more dreamy.
Dunham's unearthed several real gems here, all coated in that warm and rich vinyl crackle and pop. I've been especially digging Tony Gregory, who seems to appear in every other selection. There's nary a detail about Gregory on the internet, except that he sung with The Skatalites and cut a few records at Studio One. It's a surprising absence and oversight considering Gregory's tremendously soulful vocal chops.

Download a track from Gregory and the rest of the mix below.

Tony Gregory - "Get Out Of My Life, Woman"

Rockers & Romancers.zip

The Skatalite - The Skatalites

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