SOUL VENDORS: THE ORIGINAL STUDIO ONE BAND
STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN
A few years ago, a film entitled "STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN" was released
to great acclaim chronicling the amazing story of Funk Brothers, the unsung musicians
who composed and played all the great rhythms at Motown Records in the early years of
the 1950s and 1960s.
These musicians remained virtually unknown and financially challenged long after MOTOWN and many of its
artists had achieved great fame and fortune. All of this changed, however, with the release of the film
when the soundtrack album won two Grammy awards and Funk Brothers were honored with a Lifetime Achievement
Award by the Grammy Academy.
Since then, these talented musicians have regrouped and are performing for appreciative audiences around the
world. The story has a happy ending in that financially and otherwise, Funk Brothers are finally receiving
long overdue recognition for their sterling contribution to the development of the great Rhythm & Blues Motown
STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF STUDIO ONE
Ironically, the story of the unsung MOTOWN musicians closely mirrors that of the Soul Vendors, a group of Jamaican
musicians who between early 1966 and mid 1968, the golden era of Reggae, either composed and/or recreated all the
great rhythms for all the artists at the now famous Studio One in Kingston.
Alternately called Soul Vendors, Soul Brothers, Sound Dimensions, Brentford All-Stars, Jamaica All-Stars and The Jet by Sir Clement "Coxone" Dodd
as a marketing strategy. This group of musicians consisting of the legendary Jackie Mittoo on keyboards, Joe Isaacs
on drums, Brian Atkinson on bass, Hux Brown on guitar, Denzil "Pops" Laing on percussion and Dennis Campbell on Tenor
Saxophone invented "Rocksteady" thereby bridging Ska and Reggae; creating musical history in the process.
They were joined in the recording studio from time to time by horns-men such as Rolando Alphonso, Bobby Ellis,
Ron "Willo" Wilson, Headley Bennett, Vin Gordon, Johnny "Dizzy" Moore, Lenox Brown, Lester Sterling, David Madden,
Rico Rodrigues, Dilly and Tommy McCook.
Working five days a week, Monday through Friday for two and a half consecutive years, Jackie, Joe, Hux, Mr. Campbell
and Pops, sometimes accompanied by different groups of horn players, recorded a minimum of twelve songs everyday,
backing most of the original Studio One artists on over 4,000 songs comprising well over one hundred hits.
Among others, the Soul Vendors backed the following artists during this time:
Slim Smith, Roy Shirley, Alton Ellis, Derrick Harriot, Webber Sisters, Keith & Tex, Derrick Morgan, Eric Monty Morris, Lascelles Perkins,
Lee "Scratch" Perry, Toots & the Maytals, Desmond Dekker & the Aces, Wailing Wailers (Bob Marley, Bunny Livingston and Peter Tosh),
Freddy McKay, Roy Richards, Higgs & Wilson, Jennifer Laura, Dawn Penn, Dudley Sibleys, Scotty, Lloyd Charmers, Errol Dunkley,
Vic Franklin, Bert Johnson, the Paragons, the Clarendonians, the Gaylads, the Kingstonians, the Gaylets, the Marveletts,
the Souletts, the Ethiopians, the Melodians, the Tennors, the Techniques, Tony Gregory, the Cables, the Heptones,
the Gladiators, Delroy Wilson, Dobby Dobson, Hortense Ellis, Johnny Clarke, Johnny Osbourne, Bob Andy, Marcia Griffiths,
Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, Pat Kelly, Ken Booth, Ken Parker, Lord Creator, Lord Bryner, King Stitch, Earnest Ranglin,
Freddy McGregor, Dennis Brown, Horace Andy, Horace Faith, John Holt, Hopeton Lewis, Ernie Smith, Stanger Cole, Willie Williams,
Cornel Campbell Larry Marshall and Winston "Burning Spear" Rodney.
These are some of the many hits the Soul Vendors recorded at Studio One during this time.
WAILING WAILERS: Mellow Mood, Nice time, Soul Rebel, Rudie gone a jail, Put it on, Treat me good, Let him go, Bend down low,
Sinner Man (Down-presser Man), Let the Lord be seen in you and White Christmas (Gospels), I'm the toughest (Peter on lead vocals)
HEPTONES: Fatty fatty, Baby be true, Party time, Only sixteen (entire "On Top" album) and more.
CLARENDONIANS: Sho-be-do-be-do, Rudie gaan a jail, You can't keep a good man down, You can't be happy until you love someone, You won't see me, Rudie bam bam, when I call you up
STRANGER COLE: Rough & tough (entire album).
HAROLD MEIKLE: Beat down Babylon (later popularized by Junior Byles).
BOB ANDY: I've Got To Go Back Home, Too Experience.
GAYLETTS (Judy Mowatt & company): Silent River runs deep.
MELODIANS: Last train to Expo, You don't care for me, Get along without you,
Swing and dine, Come on little girl, Little nut tree, You have caught me baby.
HOPETON LEWIS: Take it easy, Cool cool collie, Right track, Keep on coming in.
KEN BOOTH: Train is coming baby, Say you, Puppet on a string, Moving away, Starlight, Rock Steady, Just another girl, Silver word, Home, My heart is gone.
GAYLADS: Lady with the red dress on, Abc, Stop making love beside me, No good girl,
You bring me joy in the morning, Hard to confess.
TENNORS: Pressure and slide, Woo Doctor, Ride you donkey (entire album).
KINGSTONIANS: Winey Winey.
LESTER STERLING: Pupa Lick.
DELROY WILSON: Dancing Mood, I'm not a king, Conquer me, Riding for a fall, Rain from the sky, Can't stand it, Once upon a time.
ETHIOPIANS: Train to Skaville, Everything crash (entire album).
LARRY MARSHALL: Nanny goat.
MARCIA GRIFFITHS: Feel like jumping, We will be together, Truly, I shall sing, Dream
land, Melody life
ALTON ELLIS: I'm still in love with you girl, Sunday coming, Can I change my mind,
Big it up, I'm just a guy, Girl I've got a date, Let him try, Breaking up is hard to do.
WILLIE WILLIAMS: Armageddon time (re-recorded by the Clash in 1979)
SLIM SMITH: Conversation.
FREDDY MCKAY: Picture on the wall
CORNEL CAMPBELL: Queen of the minstrel
JOHNNY CLARKE: Move out a Babylon
SOUL VENDORS: Mr. Flint, Soul serenade, Soho, El bang bang, You trouble me,
Carib soul (LP) and Hot shot (Ska LP). More than one dozen full-length instrumental albums were recorded during this time.
BIOGRAPHY CONTINUED HERE