As far as rocksteady vocal groups were concerned, no one was as great as The Techniques, with maybe the Paragons coming closest. Its really hard to go wrong in fact when you have people like Pat Kelly, Dave Barker, Slim Smith, Bruce Ruffin, Winston Riley and many others singing in the group. Of course most of this disc is rocksteady and feature Pat Kelly heavily on lead vocals.
The whole thing starts off with "Love Is Not a Gamble" which is a really soulful slow rocksteady song. Its really not a bad way to start off the disc and is a great taste of good stuff coming ahead.
The next song is The Techniques version of Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions song "Minstrel and Queen" renamed "Queen Majesty". This not only has superb harmonizing on the Techniques part, but the rhythm track itself is one of my personal favorite rhythms at the time of this writing. The Techniques also cover on this record a version of "Day-O" which is kind of corny and boring, and also "I Wish It Would Rain" originally by the Temptations. This is one of my personal favorites on this record and shows off the talented lead vocals of Pat Kelly.
"Festival '68" is a real nice upbeat rocksteady number which was entered into the Jamaican Song Festival in 1968 but lost to "54-46" by the Maytals who seemed to be winning every song festival in Jamaica for just about 3 years in a row until they were asked to back off for one year.
Other top picks off of this album are the sweet "Out of Many" and also "Bless You" which features a real nice organ over a steady beat.
what also makes this album great is the final three tracks which are straight ska numbers recorded when Slim Smith was still in the group. Thse are "I'm In Love", "Little Did You Know" and "My Whole Life Depends On You". My favorite of the tree would have to be "I'm in Love" with "My Whole Life Depends On You following closely.
This record is extremly recommended. This is yet another top notch release from Heartbeat. Roger Steffens does the liner notes again and talks about the history of the Techniques and the life and death of Slim Smith and so on. So if youre into sweet soulful rocksteady harmonies, you really can't go wrong with this album.
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