“Ska-Lip-Soul” by Prince Buster - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1965Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s

TJR says

12 new cuts on Blue Beat 805, and so deemed the 2nd proper Prince Buster album, although saxophonist Val Bennett is, unusually, allowed to step up for 3 lead vocals. It’s an entertaining set in that it’s split between calypsos and ska numbers. I guess the cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect” entitles them to name the set “Ska-Lip-Soul”. Very clever, I’m sure. Lovall takes full advantage of his chance to shine as front man, with a quick one-two whammy early doors – “Cut Munno” is a carnival riot and “Mek It Tan Deh Goosie” is a nonsense tale, but full of the joys of a parade in the sunshine. Western cover versions are often spoilers on Jamaican albums, but the band deliver a cracking trombone-led instrumental version of “Mr Wonderful”, originally done by Olga James in 1956 and made famous by Peggy Lee later that same year. My ears prick up for that “ice rink organ” on “How Can I Tell Them” – it always makes me smile when I hear so many of these styles that would later come back via the 2-Tone revolution. I also note that it’s only the second (and last) Buster composition on the LP. It’s not been one of his more prolific song writing sets, it has to be said. Speaking of which, the Prince does The Beatles’ “And I Love Her” in the style of Bobby Vee and completely lowers the tone… and at the same time ruins the album’s aforementioned conceptual feel. Val Bennett recovers things by taking the mic for “Matilda” and once again he’s heroically sifting traditional roots. The origins lie as a “Jamaican digging song”, and it was famously done by Lord Composer and His Silver Seas Hotel Orchestra in the early 1950s. Lovall himself played these tunes in 40s and 50s hotel sessions, and it’s great to hear him get a chance to get these songs onto a high profile release such as this one. The album finishes on a great high as Buster, Stranger Cole and Teddy Charmers perform as a harmony trio on “Rum And Coca Cola”, a number originally done by Lord Invader. As a vocal trio they’re pretty neat – watch out Maytals!

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:19] 7.0.png Prince Buster - Wings Of A Dove [caribbean version] (Cecil Campbell) Caribbean
A2 [02:04] 6.1.png Prince Buster - Respect (Otis Redding) Ska / Rocksteady
A3 [01:48] 8.9.png Prince Buster - Cut Munno (Traditional) Caribbean
A4 [01:40] 7.6.png Prince Buster - Mek It Tan Deh Goosie (Traditional) Caribbean
A5 [02:32] 7.1.png Prince Buster - Sammy Dead Medley (Traditional) Ska / Rocksteady
A6 [02:20] 6.4.png Prince Buster - Dance Jamaica (Val Bennett) Caribbean
B1 [02:32] 7.0.png Prince Buster - Mr. Wonderful (Larry Holofcener, George David Weiss, Jerry Bock) Ska / Rocksteady
B2 [02:56] 6.4.png Prince Buster - How Can I Tell Them (Cecil Campbell) Ska / Rocksteady
B3 [03:15] 5.7.png Prince Buster - Dayo Ska (Bill Attaway, Irving Burgie) Caribbean
B4 [03:23] 4.0.png Prince Buster - And I Love Her (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) Pop Ballad
B5 [02:08] 6.5.png Prince Buster - Matilda (Traditional) Caribbean
B6 [02:45] 7.5.png Prince Buster - Rum And Coca Cola (Jeri Sullavan, Paul Baron, Morey Amsterdam) Ska / Rocksteady

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