Ken Boothe – Feel Good

29th September 1968 · 1960s, 1968, Music, Reggae

Here’s how reggae riddims evolve: nine versions of the same rocksteady riddim, from Roy Shirley to Ken Boothe via Big Youth and I-Roy.

Ken Boothe is best known here for his chart-topping cover of Bread’s song Everything I Own in 1974 but long before that in Jamaica he rivalled Alton Ellis as the king of rocksteady.

This great tune is from that era, 1968, and is a response to another rocksteady tune, Hold Them, released the previous year by Roy Shirley – one of the first tunes produced by the legendary Joe Gibbs.

Someone (DJ Algoriddim) has kindly lined these up together on YouTube in a perfect illustration of how reggae riddims are recycled and evolve into new recordings.

It starts with Boothe, goes back in time to Shirley’s original – complete with bizarre comedy introduction in an ‘English’ accent – then forward again to a later version by Shirley himself and a Lloyd Charmers instrumental referencing some of Double Barrel along the way.

The set is completed by two tasty toasts, and some nice Lee Perry production, by two of the greatest deejays of the Seventies, the late great I-Roy and Big Youth.

Older listeners may remember the latter’s version – Johnny Reggae – being cannibalised for a hideous novelty tune by Jonathan King in the early Seventies, under the name ‘The Piglets’.

Feel Good (Hold Them): Ken Boothe

Feel The Dub: Sound Dimension

Hold Them: Roy Shirley

The Great Roy Shirley, One Two, Three, Plus One (Medley): Roy Shirley

Rum Rhythm: Shirley & Charmers

Johnny Reggae: Big Youth

Johnny Reggae Version: Big Youth

Buck And The Preacher: I Roy

Johnny Reggae: Big Youth