Born and raised in Trinidad, guitarist Lyn Taitt moved to Jamaica in the early sixties and promptly became one of the most sought after guitarists on the Kingston scene. This compilation focuses on the best of his instrumental work as well as some of the best of his work with many of Kingston's leading vocal acts - not to mention Johnny Nash!
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1283 stars out of 5
- "[Taitt] scaled down ska's hectic pace and use of horns, and foregrounded the freshly imported electric bass."
Lyn Taitt: Lyn Taitt, Hux Brown (guitar); Gladdy Anderson, Theophilus Beckford (piano); Bryan Atkinson (bass guitar); Joe Isaacs (drums).
If guitarist Lyn Taitt didn't single-handedly invent rocksteady, his slowed-down, innovative instrumental arrangements certainly helped define it. A native Trinidadian, Taitt moved to Jamaica in 1962, where he began working in various ska bands, including the Sheiks and the Cavaliers. He formed the Comets in 1964, but his most famous band, the Jets, came together in 1966. The Jets (which at their peak featured a lineup of Taitt and Hux Brown on guitars, Bryan Atkinson on bass, and Gladstone "Gladdy" Anderson on piano) recorded what is arguably the first rocksteady track, "Hold Them," for producer Joe Gibbs in 1967 when Taitt slowed the ska pace of the song down and placed the emphasis on the bass line rather than the horns. Taitt & the Jets recorded for all the major Jamaican producers of the day, including Gibbs, Duke Reid, Sonia Pottinger, Leslie Kong, Derrick Morgan, Ken Lack, Bunny Lee, and Lee "Scratch" Perry, and an in-depth anthology like this two-disc set has been long overdue. The first disc assembles instrumentals drawn from Taitt & the Jets' two Federal LPs, Sounds Rock Steady and Rock Steady Greatest Hits, and includes classics like "Soloman," "The Brush," the slow-burning and funky "Intensified '68," and the beautiful "Rainbow Valley," which features Gladdy Anderson. The second disc spotlights vocal tracks where Taitt & the Jets served as the session band, including Hopeton Lewis' laconic "Cool Collie," the Jamaicans' "Cool Night," the Overtakers' smooth and vocally polished "Girl You Ruff," the Melodians' "Swing and Dine," the Kilowatts' bouncy and eccentric version of Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home," and Texan Johnny Nash's infectious "Hold Me Tight," which was a Top Ten hit in the U.K. in 1968. Vastly respected in Jamaica, Taitt is barely known elsewhere, a situation this substantial anthology should help address. ~ Steve Leggett