2016 marks the 50th anniversary for Jamaica’s celebrated musical genre Rocksteady.
To commemorate the era, VP Records vintage imprint 17 North Parade are releasing a special vinyl singles box set collection with 14 classic Rocksteady gems as a Record Store Day 2016 exclusive.
Rocksteady, which used elements of rhythm and blues (R&B), jazz, ska as well as African and Latin American drumming, was a successor of ska and precursor to reggae. One of the most easily recognizable elements of Rocksteady (as in ska) are offbeat rhythms, staccato chords played by a guitar and piano on the offbeats of the measure. Rocksteady was popularized by the likes of Alton Ellis, Hopeton Lewis, Errol Dunklrey and vocal harmony bands like The Gaylads, The Maytals, The Heptones, The Paragons The Sensations and The Melodians.
The vinyl singles package will be followed by a 2CD (30 track) collection on July 1st, which is International Reggae Day. For each release, music was handpicked from collectors’ lists of the most sought after titles. Each track is re-mastered and paired with a complimentary hit title from the era on the B side. The detailed packaging evokes the excitement of the era when snail mail was the only mode for sharing this burgeoning Jamaican export for worldwide consumption.
As part of Record Store Day celebration, both VP Records’ retail stores in NYC and Miami will host a vinyl-only showcase on Sat. April 16 featuring some of the biggest sound systems in Jamaican music. The group of DJs, engineers and MCs will go round for round, battling it out for the ultimate showdown. In New York, Downbeat The Ruler will deliver a stellar set. In addition, sounds and selectors Massive B, King Addis, Platinum Kids, Fatman and Pretty Possee will go wheel-to-wheel for the winning title. In South Florida, producer and dancehall innovator King Jammy will get behind the turntables for a one-of-a-kind vinyl only set. Then, popular sound systems like Waggy T Movements, Galaxy Sound Station, PeppaBox Sound and Metrix International will round out this historic event.