It has always been my belief that people want authenticity in their music regardless of the venue. As a DJ, I have had the privilege of performing at high-end and hole-in-the-wall venues, but this did not mean that I had to switch up my playlist.
As a party builds, and the crowd begins to increase in size, it’s important for the DJ to control the vibe and energy in the room by not starting out too fast. A gradual increase of the pace sets a solid foundation for the energetic climax later in the night that should take place.
To illustrate this, I have curated some audio of a live set recorded at one of my first residencies in the Buckhead party district of Atlanta during the early 2000’s – when nightlife carried on until 4am in the city. This was the hottest attraction in the city at the ultra sexy upscale venue, Kream – the same one mentioned by Jermaine Dupri in the song “Welcome to Atlanta.”
It was important for me to give a really organic representation of how a reggae dancehall sound system controls a dance, not only for the entertainment of the patrons but also because I wanted my guest DJs to feel comfortable enough to go hard with the crowd when it was their turn to take control. Once the foundation is set with a good “early-warm,” it’s then much easier and much more likely that the dance will erupt in excitement later on.
My set commences with strictly veteran singers from the 1970’s and 1980’s like John Holt, Sugar Minott, Nitty Gritty, Dennis Brown, The Heptones and Barrington Levy. After about 40 minutes, selections from the 1990’s could be heard with the first Everton Blender tunes, Luciano, and a Garnett Silk mega mix. Listen as the MC, SuperPEC welcomes several people to the dance, and a crowd gathers for the ensuing festivities. Listen as I carefully advance the pace and turn up the heat while watching the dancefloor start to bubble.
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The original styles of the most popular riddims in dancehall history are all right here in this mix. Most of the mega hits from the 1980s and 1990s dancehall era’s were remade digital versions of the classics you will hear in this mix.
The Greatest Studio One Riddims in Dancehall Mix by Highlanda Sound, Reggae Lover Podcast Episode 56
If you downloaded Ultimate Studio One Riddims – Reggae Lover Podcast Episode 55, then this will be a great companion. This segment is more uptempo and even more iconic in content with no songs repeated from the previous mix (except my Little Pinchers dubplate which is on a different riddim). If you should enjoy, please do leave a comment and share.
1. Amazing Sound – Mikey General (dubplate)
2. Love is A Feeling – Earl Sixteen
3. Give Praise – Luciano (dubplate)
4. Heptones Gonna Fight – The Heptones
5. Give Love A Try – Barry Brown
6. Here I Stand – Carlton Livingston
7. Pretty Looks Isn’t All – The Heptones
8. The Girl is Mine – Frankie Paul
9. Never Give Up – Sugar Minott
10. Compliments to Studio One – Michigan and Smiley
11. Babylon Bridge – Dillinger
12. Bobby Babylon – Freddie McGregor
13. No Call Me Cracky – Lone Ranger
14. Take a Ride – Al Campbell
15. Truths and Rights – Johnny Osbourne
16. Automatic – Lone Ranger
17. Created By the Father – Dennis Brown
18. New Millennium – Wayne Marshall
19. I’m Just a Guy – Alton Ellis
20. Vanity – Sugar Minott
21. Rub a Dub Style – Michigan and Smiley
22. Highlanda Kill Your Sound – Warrior King (dubplate)
23. Ram Dance Master – Brigadier Jerry
24. She Gone She Gone – Linval Thompson
25. Program – Frankie Paul
26. You A Fool Boy – Angela Prince
27. Deliver Us – Half Pint
28. Rougher Yet – Slim Smith
29. Come To Me – The Jay Tees
30. Our Love – Yami Bolo
31. Love Bump – Lone Ranger
32. No Say So – Little John
33. Feel Like Jumping – Marcia Griffiths
34. Greatest Sound In The Dance – XO (dubplate)
35. Highlanda Run Yah So – Little Pinchers (dubplate)
36. Highlanda Bus – Sluggy Ranks (dubplate)
37. Render Your Heart – Sluggy Ranks
38. Armageddon Time – Willie Williams
39. Lend Me The Sixteen – Johnny Osbourne
40. Nice Up the Dance – Michigan and Smiley
41. Keep On Moving – Johnny Osbourne
42. Never Let Go – Slim Smith
43. I Shall Sing – Marcia Griffiths
44. The Answer – Lone Ranger
45. No Regrets – Carlton Livingston
47. Can’t Buy My Love – Johnny Osbourne
48. Consider Me – Jennifer Lara
49. I Don’t Know Why – Doreen Shaffer
50. No War – Johnny Osbourne
51. Jah Jah Children – Sugar Minott
52. Far East – Barry Brown
53. Jam It Up – Carlton Livingston
One of my all time favorite artists, Alton Ellis passed away today and will be missed by many across the world. Alton was a former member of The Heptones, another of my favorite groups from the Finest Years era. Listen to or download a copy of The Finest Years, and The Book of Life at www.highlanda.net for a taste of some Alton Ellis selections mixed with other timeless masterpieces.
It comes with great sorrow that I spread the news that Mr. Soul of Jamaica, Alton Ellis, passed away on the morning of October 9th. The world was given this treasure in 1944 when he was born in Trenchtown, Kingston, JA. His career spanned nearly five decades and his ever-lasting impression on the future of Jamaican music came in the mid- to late-sixties as the riddim-laden grooves filled with his soulful melodies permeated the upbeat vibrations of the ska era. The summer of ‘66 saw the explosion of rocksteady in the Kingston scene and Alton ruled the dancehalls during this time as he cuts tunes for Studio One and Treasure Isle among others.
His musical longevity persisted for years and years and he enjoyed much-deserved praise from a new generation of listeners as ska and rocksteady made a revival in the late nineties. Among them was myself, who had goosebumps on my skin when hearing his voice for the first time around the age of 16. Over time, I became exposed to more and more of his tunes, none of which every left me without my heart beating at a faster pace or a tear in my eye from the passionate sounds coming out of my hi-fi. His sound truly made a lifelong impression on me and he will forever be missed in my heart.
Alton…your music was there with me during the joy-filled times in my life and it was also there during those dark, lonely times. We’ll sit under the willow tree together with Phyllis one day and I’ll tell you all about it.
When the Roll is called up yonder, Alton Ellis will be singing there…