Various - Bunny Lee's Agro Sounds, 101 Orange Street
Bunny Lee first learnt the ways and means of creating hit records during his early years as a dancer on ‘Teenage Dance Party’ plugging records for Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid and Leslie Kong. He moved into record production in 1967 tearing up the Jamaican charts with The Uniques and ‘Let Me Go Girl’. The hits never stopped and, alongside close associates and occasionally close rivals, men such as Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Clancy Eccles, Striker began to create a brand-new style that pushed the music forward in startling new directions. The rhythms became faster, more aggressive and reggae was born.
Striker first visited England that year where, instead of cash advances from Island Records for releasing his records, he asked director, Dave Betteridge, for instruments for his musicians back home. On his return to Kingston his musicians put them to good use and continued to build this dynamic new sound. On one of his subsequent visits to London Striker met up with Eddy Grant who introduced him to the term ‘agro’ and Striker decided to adopt the name for his musicians.
“My friend Larry Lawrence used to tease Eddy Grant from The Equals all the time and Eddy used to say ‘Bunny, your friend is causing me agro’. I said, ‘What is that Eddy?’ and he said ‘aggravation’ meaning that he is annoying him. ‘Talk to him, man’ because Larry always teased him. Up to now if I see Eddy Grant I call him Agro! ‘Wha’ ‘appen Agro?’ and he says, ‘Yeah Bunny man!’ He is a good friend. So, I said I liked the name and when I went back to Jamaica, I’m going to call my group of guys The Aggrovators. That annoyed the other musicians… the big musicians!" - Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee
Between 1968 and 1971, ‘Striker’ was everywhere… travelling between Kingston, where he had opened his Agro Sounds record shop at 101 Orange Street, and London where he set up his Unity label with the Palmer brothers for the exclusive release of his productions and his Jackpot subsidiaries with both Trojan and Pama Records.
This compilation collects some of the biggest hits produced by Bunny Lee at Agro Sounds during this important period in reggae history.
Maxie Romeo’s ‘Wet Dream’ spent six months on the charts in 1969 without once being played on the radio. Bunny was always trying new things… or old things. American R&B star Donnie Elbert’s ‘Without You’, voiced in London over Striker’s Jamaican ‘Lonely Girl’ rock steady rhythm, was playlisted on national Radio One later that year. It did not make the UK charts, but it did go straight to Number One in Jamaica. Bunny’s brother-in-law Derrick Morgan’s stirring ‘Moon Hop’ then bothered the lower reaches of the UK National Charts, but the record would have been a real smash hit were it not for The Pyramids’ (as Symarip) cover version which they renamed ‘Skinhead Moon Stomp.’
Lester Sterling & Stranger Cole - Bangarang
Derrick Morgan - Seven Letters
Donnie Elbert - Without You
Slim Smith - Everybody Needs Love
Delroy Wilson - Cool Operator
U Roy & Lennox Brown - King Of The Road
Derrick Morgan - Moon Hop
Bunny Lee All Stars - Ten Thousand Tons Of Dollar Bills
Pat Kelly - If It Don’t Work Out
Derrick Morgan - Hold You Jack
Delroy Wilson - Who Cares
Max Romeo - Wet Dream
Roy Shirley - Joe Razor
Winston Williams - D.J. Choice
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