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01/10/2017
Doctor Bird Records

Cherry Red’s Doctor Bird Label

DBCD-001 ‘No More Heartache’s’ & ‘What am I to Do?’ – Various Artists

DBCD-002 ‘Naturally’ & ‘Steppin’’ – Marcia Griffiths

DBCD-003 ‘Sufferer’ – The Kingstonians

DBCD-004 ‘Dancing Down Orange Street’ – Various Artists

DBCD-005 ‘Psychedelic Train’ – Various Artists

DBCD-006 ‘Gay Feet – Every Night’ – Various Artists

Indigenous to Jamaica the Swallowtail Hummingbird is the country’s national symbol. For reasons now lost in the mists of time it is known locally as the Doctor Bird and as the old folk song has it, “Doctor Bud a canny bud, hard bud fe dead”. (It is a clever bird which cannot be easily killed).

Like its namesake the Doctor Bird record label is evidently also a “hard bud fe dead!” Through a licensing arrangement with BMG/Trojan, Cherry Red Records have now re-issued six titles on the newly reinvigorated Doctor Bird label. And very welcome they are too!

Although there are familiar tracks on each release, this is the first time these albums have been issued on CD in their entirety. The first two releases each contain two albums, the others are bulked up with plenty of suitable bonus tracks.

Drawn mostly from the Rocksteady era, all the tracks were initially produced between the years 1966-70, with the exception of Marcia Griffiths’ albums, which are from the late 1970’s. Superbly packaged and presented, all feature newly commissioned sleeve notes, and comprehensively detailed track information.

I have particularly enjoyed the Marcia Griffiths’ albums (DBCD-002), along with the two Derrick Harriott (DBCD-003 & DBCD-005) CDs. Sonia Pottinger’s Gay Feet collection is also especially welcome featuring, as it does, the tragically under-rated trumpet playing of the great Ba-Ba Brooks & His Band. However, all have their merits and it is a pleasure to hear these tracks in the context of their original album release. Given the wealth of additional bonus material and the low retail price currently being asked, the album releases on this label are arguably the bargain of the year.

I understand that a Leslie Kong collection and a Dub compilation are scheduled for release in November. Given that the artistic quality of the material issued so far through this project is assured, it is to be hoped that it also proves to be a similar success commercially as it is expected that further releases will then be forthcoming throughout 2018. This admirable little bird is sure to continue to delight and entertain us for a while to come yet.

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