Jackie Mittoo & The Soul Brothers
Last Train To Skaville
Soul Jazz Records
Following on from Soul Jazz Records' earlier Jackie Mittoo "The Keyboard King at Studio One" comes Jackie Mittoo and The Soul Brothers "Last Train To Skaville". Jackie Mittoo is one of the most important artists in the history of Jamaican music. As founding member of the legendary Skatalites, as in-house arranger/producer at Studio One and as a solo artist in his own right leading groups such as The Soul Brothers, Sound Dimension and Soul Vendors. These classic and rare recordings were made in the mid-1960s at Studio One. The Soul Brothers bridged the gap between Ska and the arrival of Rocksteady mixing it all up with Funk, Jazz and Latin styles. The Soul Brothers recorded at Studio One between 1965-1967. This was the transitionary period between Ska and Rocksteady where the music was a mixture of Funk, Latin and Jazz sometimes with a reminder of Ska and the hint of Rocksteady. The previous era of Ska had been dominated by the Skatalites. The Skatalites were made up of Don Drummond, Roland Alphonso, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore, Lloyd Knibbs, Lloyd Brevett, Tommy McCook, Ernest Ranglin and Lester Sterling. Formed in 1963, The Skatalites were the first in-house band at Studio One and created scores of classic hits such as "Guns of Navaronne", "Man in the Street", "El Pussy Cat" and many more. Unfortunately the strong personalities in the group meant that The Skatalites stayed together for less than two years. It was also around this time that the mentally unwell Don Drummond was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, the dancer Margerita. In August 1965, barely a week after the demise of the original Skatalites, The Soul Brothers (featuring ex-Skatalites members Jackie Mittoo, Roland Alphonso, Johnny Moore and Lloyd Brevitt) were up and running as the new house band at Studio One. Other members in this group included Wallin Cameron (guitar) and Bunny Williams (drums). This release could just as easily have been called Rolando Alphonso and The Soul Brothers or just The Soul Brothers as the group were essentially a collective, releasing material under their own name or under a nominal leader (usually Jackie Mittoo or Rolando Alphonso). The group line-up changed over time with Bobby Ellis (trumpet), Bryan Atkinson (bass), Dennis Campbell (Sax), Harry Haughton (guitarist) and Joe Isaacs (drummer) replacing various members alongside the ever present Jackie Mittoo. The Soul Brothers mix of musical styles is described as Ska, Jump-Up and Soul sounds. The opening track "Last Train to Skaville" signalled the end of the Ska era, as the Soul Brothers started to forge a new sound that by 1967 had become known as Rocksteady, a slowed down funky version of Ska. The main difference between the sound of The Skatalites and The Soul Brothers is the arrival of electric instrumentation such as Jackie¹s organ as well as electric guitar on some tracks. In 1967 Clement Dodd decided to take a group of musicians to England. Alongside the singers Alton Ellis and Ken Boothe, he asked Roland Alphonso, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore, Lloyd Brevett, Bunny Williams and Errol Walters. This group would be named The Soul Vendors and signalled the end of the short-lived Soul Brothers. Shortly afterwards Jackie Mittoo recorded his first solo album "Jackie Mittoo in London" with The Soul Vendors. For the next three years Jackie Mittoo came into his own, as in-house producer and arranger at Studio One, as well as his solo career. In 1968 he emigrated to Canada continuing to return to Jamaica to record for Studio One. These early recordings show the roots of a sound that Jackie Mittoo made uniquely his own.