aight, next up on the docket is another new artist to the Skaject, Prince Buster! we’re checking out his 1963 record, I Feel the Spirit. a note – the streaming service i’m using has the original Jamaican release of this track, rather than the Bluebeat version with a slightly different track list (and definitely different order) that would become huge in the UK.

the record kicks things off with the title track, which is a nice beat, but overall kind of middling. Madness has a real strong syncopation along the whole accompaniment, and damn this track’s catchy as hell. Don’t Make Me Cry is a nice changeup, slowing things down. i really dig the vocal performance on this one. They Got to Come has a solid groove to it. i feel very middling on All Alone. it’s got that undeniable rhythm to it, and damn does the trumpet solo go hard, but as a whole package its just aight. as talented a vocalist as Prince Buster himself is, Soul of Africa slaps hard as an instrumental track. the brass is taking center stage here, with the percussion providing a solid back line, and the strings filling in exactly where needed. hell yeah. what a great way to close out the A side of the record. Wash Your Troubles Away is a neat opener to the second half of the record, nice groove. Jealous is nice enough, a nice toe-tapper. Black Head Chinaman… is an interesting track, historically. lyrically i think this one’s p fucking rude, and pretty out of line, but here’s what happened: i haven’t been talking a lot of historical context in these reviews, but the long and short of it is that Prince Buster got started in one of the sound systems – essentially a travelling street club, which were extremely popular in Kingston in the late 50s and early 60s – and when they began to shift away from playing imported American tunes and started recording their own music, Prince Buster wanted to make his own name. he worked closely with Derrick Morgan, whose debut record i reviewed earlier, but when Derrick Morgan decided to shift to making music with Leslie Kong, Prince Buster, uh, took that personally. this track is a jab at Morgan, accusing him of betraying his people. Beggars Are No Choosers has a neat beat. love the longer rotating opportunities for solos, haha. Run Man Run is p solid too. Just You closes out the B side with another instrumental track, and damn this one’s good too.

faves – Madness, Soul of Africa
dislikes –

yeah overall this was a nice groove. there’s some fun inclusions, and as nasty as it is, it’s illuminating as a bit of history even just for the jab track at Morgan. on the whole it’s a very neat listen but only a couple tracks here jumped out at me or engaged me too much – which is weird. musically i really enjoyed it – the beats and rhythms are catchy, the horns rock when they get to shine, and Buster puts on a great vocal performance. lyrically though, i guess i just didn’t find a ton to connect with. wouldn’t complain about listening to it again though, and it would def be fun music to dance to.

I Feel the Spirit – 5/10

next time we’re gonna return to Byron Lee and the Dragonairs with Plays Jamaica Ska!

previous: Come Fly With Lee | next: Plays Jamaica Ska

this is the first Prince Buster record | next: National Ska: Pain In My Belly

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