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The Aggrovators

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This was the name given by Jamaican producer Bunny Lee to whichever team of session musicians he happened to be using at any given time. Lee had named his reggae shop and record label Agro Sounds in the late 60s, after hearing about the UK skinheads’ adoption of the word to mean a fight or problem, and he passed on the name to his musicians. These included many artists of varying quality, but on their few long-playing releases the Aggrovators included Robbie Shakespeare (bass), Carlton ‘Santa’ Davis (drums), Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith (b. 6 August 1955, Greenwich Farm, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies; lead guitar), Ansell Collins (piano), Bernard ‘Touter’ Harvey (organ), Tony Chin (guitar), Bobby Ellis (trumpet), Vin Gordon (trombone), Tommy McCook (tenor saxophone) and Lennox Brown (alto saxophone). Lee’s work came to the fore during the rocksteady period, but he achieved real prominence in the mid-70s when his ‘flying cymbals’ sound, originally a reaction to the then-popular American ‘disco beat’, was ubiquitous. Rivalling the popularity of the vocal sides of the flying-cymbal releases, were the instrumental b-side ‘versions’, credited to the Aggrovators and mixed by King Tubby, and it was through these Jackpot and Justice record label releases that the Aggrovators achieved fame.

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