pioneers catch the beat

A: Pioneers – Catch the beat

B: Pioneers – Janan


Here’s another 7 inch that makes me smile for more reasons than just the music. Catch the beat is a superb early reggae monster that, no surprise there, hit big for the Pioneers and Joe Gibbs. It was released both in the UK, where it was released on the Trojan Amalgamated subsidiary, as well as in Jamaica where it was released on Pressure Beat. The thing that makes me smile though, is its release on the US Randy’s imprint, the copy you see right here. Randy’s was a competitor label and studio at the time and they had a wizard on the mixing board by the name of Errol Thompson, who apparently recorded for Joe Gibbs earlier on in his career than is commonly assumed: Although Joe Gibbs ran his own two track studio back then (with Joe Gibbs himself ‘pon engineering duties)  Joe  Gibbs recorded a track called Them a laugh a ki ki, by the Soulmates/Pioneers/ReggaeBoys at Randy’s. Later on in the decade Joe Gibbs moved his studio right across the street of Randy’s. Apparently the competition was so stiff that Randy’s used to blast anti-Joe Gibbs tunes out of his store which led to fierce counteraction recordings by mr Gibbs. Funnily enough, most of these recordings were made by the same musicians and it was never really a war to begin with, just some innocent clash business. But still, this 7 inch on the Randy’s imprint makes me smile because it’s living proof that behind the pretence of animosity there was actually solidarity. A fact that is still proven today by the classy re-issues that are released on the Randy’s offshoot VP Records.

Sydney Crooks and Jackie Robinson take no prisoners in their attempt to make the people dance to the latest dancehall craze: a thing called reggae. It’s faster than rocksteady and even heavier on the basslines. Catch that beat! Janan, in the meantime, should’ve been dubbed Jane Ann as it’s a song about a girl with that name. Janan is also riding the new reggae beat. One that would propel the Pioneers – an apt name, although they had already formed in the rocksteady era and (unsuccesfully) recorded a few discs – to great fame and glory and bring them to all four corners of the world.


Label: Pressure Beat (ja) / Amalgamated (uk) / Randy’s (us)
Matrix: FJG 7490 / 7492
Release date: 1968
Riddim: original

(originally posted on 09-01-11)


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