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 Joe Isaacs
 (Photo: Devon Chin)

Booking Kit

MAY 2004
Soul Vendors Signs Nathalia & singing group, A2O To Recording Contract

SOUL VENDORS NEWS: December 5, 2003

Former Studio One drummer Joe Isaacs documenting studio's history.
Plans to hold two shows later this month as part of the Rock Away series with original Studio One musicians... 
BASIL WALTERS, Jamaica Observer staff reporter.

Says Joe Isaacs... "Nobody in the world can tell me I cannot re-record what I record already, because they have nothing to do with what I created with the help of God".

VETERAN Studio One drummer, Joe Isaacs has embarked on a project to reunite his colleagues with whom he worked to create so many hits at the famed Studio One recording facility on Brentford Road in Kingston. And in addition to pursuing this reunification of his musical comrades, Isaacs is working on a documentary of Studio One.

"We're the people who were fortunate to be a part of the foundation of the music industry in Jamaica at that time, and my reason for putting this thing together is just to let people know exactly how Studio One came about and who made it all happen," the drummer said.

Isaacs bemoaned the fact that he and his peers were not given their dues in terms of recognition and remuneration and as a result many have been left out of the musical history of the country and many have died as paupers.

A book is also in the works which will be written by a young female author from California who while surfing the net came across the Studio One website and was very impressed.

"She will be writing not only the story of Studio One, but the story after we left," Isaacs revealed.

The documentary, he said, has already started in Miami and will be completed in Jamaica.

"Most times people who called themselves producers weren't even there when the music was being structured; it was basically the musicians who were responsible for crafting the hit songs that are today being rated as foundation music," the veteran drummer added.

He spoke with great feeling and passion about his late colleague and keyboard maestro, Jackie Mittoo.

"One man who was key in the whole Studio One experience was Jackie Mittoo. A lot of people, even those that revere him, don't really know the extent to which he has contributed to the establishment of Studio One and, by extension, Jamaica's music. In our time, we used to make 12 tunes every day and this man, Jackie Mittoo, was the driving force behind it all. He was the man who most times told the bassie (bass guitarist Bryan Atkinson) what to play, told me (the drummer) what to play and when to roll. He was the man who created all these rhythmical patterns that are now branded as classic Reggae, but nobody knows that."

Isaacs who became very emotional during this part of the interview further remarked.

"They, the musicians of my era, were a part of building the empire of Studio One which existed from the 60s until now, which look to me like five decades, and the original people who made it happen, didn't get recognition, didn't get money , didn't get nothing. But we get the greatest gift of all, we get the blessings of God who gives us life and the ability to come together again as the Soul Vendors with a new album entitled "Together Again".

The album with over 35 tunes by the reunited Soul Vendors which is comprised of original Studio One session men, and who at different times were known as the Soul Brothers and Soul Dimension, was released two years ago in California by a distribution company called Early Bees.

"These different names (of the Soul Vendors) were put together as a marketing strategy by Sir Clement Dodd who is a great man. Dodd is a great man, he knows about marketing, yuh nuh. And he knows about picking artistes. He knows the business very, very well. To be honest with you, if it wasn't for him giving us the opportunity to make these tracks, I wouldn't have anything to talk about right now. So therefore, I can say that I love this man. But as far as the music-making is concerned, is not him make them."

Commenting further on the reunification with his fellow musicians Isaacs said: "Coming together is great and we are making over every music, every rhythm track that we made in our lifetime at Studio One and for different producers, we're going to make them all over." The reunited Soul Vendors at different times also did stints with Duke Reid, Beverley's, and the West Indies Records Label (WIRL) now Dynamics Studio.

"Nobody in the world can tell me I cannot re-record what I recorded already, because they have nothing to do with what I created with the help of God. Anything that I did before I can do it over because it belongs to no guy or no men," said a defiant Isaacs who went to Studio One at the age of 16.

There is a major local gig being planned over two days, December 26 and 27 at La Roose at which the Together Again album will be formally introduced to Jamaica. Charles Campbell of Sunsplash and of more recent vintage, Rock Away fame, is the coordinator of the event.

"We bringing in nine musicians, we bringing the original Studio One rhythm section. This rhythm has never performed in Jamaica since 1968. No one out here has ever seen this group from that time to this time. In addition, we're going to have a man like Ken Boothe singing with us, for we made Ken Boothe's tunes. We're going to invite artiste like Bob Andy, is we mek his anthem I've Got To Go Back Home, and we're trying to invite John Holt also...Alton Ellis will be in Miami at the time, but he's already on board as he just voiced a tune for us called Bad Company which is going to be released in the coming year," outlined Isaacs.

Another work currently in progress to be completed in time for release in April 2004, is a set titled 1300 Brentford Road.

"This one ya know have on some wicked tunes. This one have on some Studio One top songs such as Cornel Campbell's, "Queen of the Minstrels", Alton Ellis', "Can I Change My Mind", and "I'm Still In Love With You Girl". The veteran drummer who is now based in both Miami and Canada told Splash.

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