Ken Boothe - "Mr Rocksteady" (Studio One)

Some say that the king of solo rocksteady vocalists was Alton Ellis, and even though he is a great singer, no doubt about it, I'm gonna have to say that my personal favorite is Ken Boothe. The title of and musical content of this album certianly prove it also.

All of his early rocksteady classics are here like "Puppet On A String", "I Don't Want To See You Cry", "The Girl I Left Behind" and even his early ska duet with Stranger Cole "Artie Bella" where Ken feels the song so much that he wails straight through the solos.

One of my personal favorite songs on this collectionw ould have to be the great duet "Give Me The Right" with a soft rocksteady beat and a mellow organ provided by Jackie Mittoo. The girl vocalist is unknown to me but she is terrific and sounds great when paired to Ken Boothe.

Another one of my favorites is "Let The Water Dry" which has sort of a dark feeling to it and really shows how good of a singer ken is and great he is at funneling all of his emotions into his songs. Other great examples of his singing is "I Don't Want to See You Cry" and "The Girl I Left Behind" which were both also used on a deejay version by U Roy in his song "Medley Version"

"Puppet on a String" is a great song with a consistent lead guitar playing the same notes throughout the song. The only song I really don't like all that much is his cover of "Mustang Sally". ALthough Ken has a great voice, he dosen't have the right type of voice to do this song and thats basically my major gripe with it. Also "This is Rock Steady" is kind of a weak track.

"Home Home Home" is an updated version done in rocksteady style of a song he sung at Randy's with Stranger Cole during the ska years. This version is just as good as the original, and in some ways even better. The tempo of rocksteady does very well with this song.

This is a great album put out by Coxsone and his legendary Studio One label. The only thing that would be missing from this is some good liner notes and maybe a list of the musicians and the female singer on "Give Me The Right". But the music more than makes up for these small details and I would encourage anyone to get this album.

  1. Puppet On A String
  2. I Don't Want to See You Cry
  3. Don't Cry Little Girl
  4. Let The Water Dry
  5. My Heart Is Gone
  6. When I Fall In Love
  7. The Girl I Left Behind
  8. Home Home Home
  9. This Is Rock Steady
  10. Give Me Back My Heart
  11. Mustang Sally
  12. Give Me The Right
  13. Run Coming Back
  14. Artiebella

Studio One 3135 Fulton St Brooklyn, New York 11208 Is there a Webpage anyone?

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