“I Feel The Spirit” by Prince Buster - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1963Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s

TJR says

Fuelled with the independence spirit, and brimming with national pride, Jamaica’s music scene exploded in the early 60s as their rhythmic-boogie brand of R n B morphed into something altogether more idiosyncratic – by 1963 the sound of Jamaica was wholly and completely recognised as the sound of Ska. Following on from a slew of exciting hit singles in this new genre, the first LPs weren’t too far behind. With their finger right on the pulse, London’s Blue Beat were straight on the case, even going so far as to have their own in-house studio / touring band ready to support their “Blue Beat” vision. When Prince Buster signed to the label, it marked the first exclusive licensing arrangement ever launched between a Jamaican artist and a British label. Since the late Forties, considerable numbers of Afro-Caribbean immigrants, the majority from Jamaica, had been arriving in Britain. Add to these, the style-obsessed white youths who loved black music and it’s perhaps not too difficult to see why this was a great idea. Oh – and the fact that the music was scorching hot on the dance floor helped some!

Brother Bustamente sings Hallelujah on the opening title-track. The congregation is immediately filled with gladness. Next up, the killer “Madness” single from ’62 sends the temperature through the roof. Nice n easy trombone licks save the ballad “Don’t Make Me Cry” from oblivion. “They Got To Come” is the second single from ’62 to get an airing. The stylishly lazy backbeats of “All Alone” keep the quality high. Rico Rodriguez gets a chance to shine on the cool instrumental “Soul Of Africa” – it takes great musicians to put some soul into the lounge vibe, and it’s an intriguing ending to side 1 of the LP. In 1963, Buster was often looking to fuse a Soul Stirrers vibe with the new world of Ska… the harmonies with the girls on “Wash All Your Troubles Away” works a treat as the opening track on the album’s flipside. “Babalicious you are” exclaims the Prince on the fantastic “Jealous”. I still have no idea what he’s banging on about, but I’m happy to flow with the sheer deliciousness of the thing.

There’s a mock-racism shock on “Black Head Chinaman” – declare yourself Derrick Morgan! Where you come from? Morgan had left Buster’s stable to make recordings with rival producer, Leslie Kong, whose parents were from Hong Kong. Buster felt that he had taken many new song licks with him: “You done stole my belongings and give to your China man, God in heaven knows, He knows that you are wrong. Are you a China man are you a black man, It don't need no eye glass to see that your skin is black, Do you prefer your China man to your fellow blackman?” Ouch! The fued was subsequently played out via answer singles in the sound system arenas – and it proved to be good for business as the island was gripped by the soap opera. It’s often been said that they were actually having a laugh with each other behind the scenes – but I’m not so sure about that!

The vibe is happy on “Beggars Are No Choosers”… the hills are alive with the sound of 200BPM Ska records… I find myself singing “Enjoy Yourself” along with this! On “Run Man Run” Buster’s been cuckolded… someone’s gonna get mashed up! Buster’s debut album finishes with “Just You” – another quality instrumental from his British boys. For his debut LP, the best that England or Jamaica could offer were in Buster’s camp…

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:21] 7.2.png Prince Buster - I Feel The Spirit (Cecil Campbell) Ska / Rocksteady
A2 [02:37] 10.0.png Prince Buster - Madness (Cecil Campbell) Ska / Rocksteady
A3 [03:41] 6.2.png Prince Buster - Don’t Make Me Cry (Cecil Campbell) Rock n Roll Ballad
A4 [02:47] 7.0.png Prince Buster and The Voice Of The People - They Got To Come (Cecil Campbell) Ska / Rocksteady
A5 [02:29] 7.4.png Prince Buster - All Alone (Cecil Campbell) Ska / Rocksteady
A6 [02:48] 6.4.png Rico and his Blue Boys - Soul Of Africa (Cecil Campbell) Orchestra Dance
B1 [03:23] 8.0.png Prince Buster - Wash All Your Troubles Away (Cecil Campbell) Ska / Rocksteady
B2 [02:56] 8.3.png Prince Buster - Jealous (Cecil Campbell) Ska / Rocksteady
B3 [03:07] 9.2.png Prince Buster - Black Head Chinaman (Cecil Campbell) Ska / Rocksteady
B4 [03:14] 6.1.png Prince Buster - Beggars Are No Choosers (Cecil Campbell) Ska / Rocksteady
B5 [02:31] 6.9.png Prince Buster - Run Man Run (Cecil Campbell) Ska / Rocksteady
B6 [02:42] 6.8.png Prince Buster - Just You (Cecil Campbell) Ska / Rocksteady

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