Tuesday, May 24, 2011


With the exception of Coxsone Dodd, there's probably no better known producer/label owner/studio owner in the ska, rock steady and early reggae eras than Duke Reid. He recorded just about all of the heavy hitters of the day for his Treasure Isle label, many of whom also recorded for Dodd's Studio One. The majority of the records he released were pretty straight forward in their approach, or so I thought. While this might not carry significance for anyone other than fellow reggae fiends, I must report that last night I came across a record that is hands down the strangest record I've ever heard on Treasure Isle label. There's very little reggae in it, but there's very little of anything in it; that is, anything that you can pin down. Sound confusing? It is hard to describe how unusual it is, but far easier to describe what other music has the same vibe, not that it even that makes things any clearer. Try mixing up Mulatu Astatke, the Budos Band, and Jerry Dammer's Spatial AKA Orchestra, with the bird and animal noises of Martin Denny, and the vocals of Billie Holiday. One thing is certain, this is one trippy record.

Duke Reid's sophisticated early sound system.

The song I'm salivating over is "Angie La La," sung by Nora Dean, a rather obscure reggae vocalist with a slight discography. Her other stuff is...well, just believe me. It's better not to have any familiarity with her music before hearing this one. But after that, do dig the other cuts. They're all great on their own.

The featured song:
Nora Dean - Angie La La (streaming) at YouTube
Other Nora Dean
Nora Dean - Barbwire mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Nora Dean - Greedy Boy mp3 via 4Shared*
Nora Dean - Night Food Reggae mp3 via 4Shared*
Nora Dean - Kiss Me Honey mp3 via 4Shared*
Nora Dean w/Augustus Pablo - Scorpion In His Underpants mp3 via 4Shared*
*At 4Shared click on blue "Download Now" button.
LP Download:
Rocksteady Soul: The Original Cool Sound of Duke Reid's Treasure Isle - LP compilation, download at Why Dontcha
Nora Dean - Extensive fan site
Treasure Isle partial discography
Duke Reid at Wikipedia
Earlier posts:
Just Like Uncle Freddy - Earlier post with Duke Reid material
Other reggae posts


Anonymous said...

She is well known in reggae. Her bigges' scorcher is "Barbwire" onna da "Pressure and Slide" (or "Shank-I-Sheck) riddim. MURDAH!

gOOD wRITIng, tOM!

Anonymous said...

I got corrected, it's onna de "You Don't Care For Me At All" riddim (Pat Kelly and the Techniques). Nora Dean also had a hit-ish with a cover of "Peace Begins Within"