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Let Your Yeah Be Yeah - Anthology 1966-1986

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Album Review

The Pioneers are legends of the rocksteady era, known primarily to those outside of Jamaica for their hugely influential hit song, "Longshot Kick de Bucket," which was covered most famously by the Specials. A version of their equally fine "Let Your Yeah Be Yeah" was a highlight of UB40 vocalist Ali Campbell's solo album. Apart from those two songs, however, the Pioneers' great popularity in Jamaica (and, to a somewhat lesser degree, the U.K.) never spread far abroad; they have remained a specialized interest, though they still command deep respect in the reggae community. This anthology offers 54 tracks, about as much as most listeners could ever need, and includes multiple takes on the "Longshot" rhythm as well as such less-renowned fare as "No Dope Me Pony" (continuing "Longshot's winning horse-race theme), the brilliant "Samfie Man," and an ill-advised adaptation of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." For novelty value, you can't beat "I'm Gonna Knock on Your Door," which features both bluegrass banjo and orchestral strings. As one would expect, the early tracks are marred by seriously subpar sound quality. However, the later material offers both high-quality production and harmony vocals that have matured into the kind of creamy perfection that only comes from ten to 15 years of experience — as well as poppy arrangements that will annoy purists. Recommended.


Formed: 1962 in Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Formed in 1962 by Winston Hewitt and brothers Sydney and Derrick Crooks, the Pioneers were one of Jamaica's finest harmony groups. Hewitt had been replaced by Glen Adams by the time the group began recording for Leslie Kong's Beverley label in 1965, and following a move to Caltone Records in 1967, the group was essentially down to just Sydney Crooks and a newly recruited Jackie Robinson. Crooks and Robinson, as the Pioneers, scored a big hit with "Long Shot" (produced by Joe Gibbs), a song about...
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Let Your Yeah Be Yeah - Anthology 1966-1986, The Pioneers
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