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Blackstones True To Their Roots

BY Simone Morgan Observer staff reporter morgans@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, December 22, 2011:

 

BRITISH-BASED reggae vocal trio, The Blackstones is paying tribute to pioneers in Jamaica’s industry.

The group has just completed a 18-track project entitled The Blackstones Salute Slim Smith and The Uniques.

BLACKSTONES… just completed a 18-track project entitled The Blackstones Salute Slim Smith and The Uniques

SLIM SMITH

In speaking to the Observer, Blackstones founder Leon Leiffer explained that the group felt the need to do such an album as the group The Uniques played a major part in bring reggae music across the globe.

“The Uniques have contributed so much to the reggae and rocksteady market since the 1960s. We felt that we needed to pay our dues to them and what better way to do it than with the release of an album dedicated entirely to them. We have poured out our hearts and souls in this project as we wanted to take the listeners to an era where rocksteady ruled,” Leiffer said.

Some of hits that were reconditioned by the Blackstones are Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Out Of Love, Lessons in Love, Slip Away and My Conversation.

Slim Smith was the founding member and lead vocalist of The Techniques. After the Techniques disbanded in 1965, he formed The Uniques, who at one time or another comprised Roy Shirley, Franklyn White, Jimmy Riley, Lloyd Charmers, Cornell and Al Campbell.

Leiffer said his team, comprising Tony Mahoney and Junior Bailey, will continue to produce authentic reggae music because although dancehall music is prominent, ska and reggae music are readily accepted by the European market.

“Jamaicans refuse to accept the music that we have. I believe that that Jamaicans are sometimes more into the pop culture therefore they are ignoring or throwing away a music that other countries are picking up and holding very close to them,” the reggae artiste said.

He further stated that although the Jamaican music changes with time he objects to the vulgarity and violence are now portrayed by some artistes making reference to it as “disrespectful”. Leiffer stated that he still has confidence that reggae music will not die as the music of artistes such as Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Beres Hammond, The Heptones, Morgan Heritage and Luciano will continue to keep the music on the musical map worldwide.

However, he also stated that he is not satisfied with the progress of reggae/dancehall music as there no major recording companies especially in the United Kingdom and USA.

“Other than companies like VP records and Studio One which is considered by many to be the Motown of Reggae there are none,” he said.

The Blackstones whose last performance in Jamaica was in 2004, emerged on the music scene in 1974 and released their first album entitled Insight. The trio who are all Jamaican born has since released 12 other albums three of which are Take Another Look At Love in 1983, Greater Power in 2007 and Tribute To Studio One in 2005.

According to Leiffer, the group is currently putting final touches to two other projects to be released in mid 2012 while preparing for gigs in Europe and Canada next year.

 

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