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Jackie Mittoo & The Soul Brothers Last Tain to Skaville

Jackie Mittoo's dossier is so thick you'll be shocked that you never heard of him before. Mittoo helped found the Skatalites at age 15, became the musical director at "Clement Coxsone" Dodd's legendary Studio One label in the mid-'60s, and wrote the music for the Soul Brothers, with whom he appears on this reissue of tracks from 1965 to 1967. Last Train to Skaville documents a key transition between the faster rhythms of ska and the lazier grooves of rocksteady. It's full of Mittoo's organ bubbles and kinky syncopation that veers between traditional sounds and '60s kitsch, as with their cover of the James Bond theme and the Latin shakers on "Sufferers Choice." It's not necessarily a record for the novice, but still dramatic evidence of where bands like the Specials, the English Beat and even No Doubt picked up their sound.

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