The Pioneers

Two things The Pioneers were certainly never short of was 1] Talent and 2] Aliases. Pioneers, Reggae Boys, the Soul Directions, the Soul Mates and there is likely a few more. These cats actually broke up prior to hitting it big after their initial foray into the music business went bust. Luckily Sydney Crooks isn’t the sort of guy to give up that easily. After his brother, Derrick, left the music business and other founding member Winston Hewitt moved to Canada Sydney began to work for Joe Gibbs. Being around music rejuvenated Sydney and Gibbs convinced him to give recording another try and so Sydney decided to record the rocksteady classic “Give Me Little Loving”. There was one slight problem: Sydney wasn’t comfortable doing lead vocals, preferring to focus his talent on the harmonies. In a lovely little bit of sheer chance the man who is known to all as the lead singer of the Pioneers, Jackie Robinson, happened to be sitting outside the studio. Sydney recruited him to sing lead vocals after an impromptu bit of singing on the street and the rest is history. The group went on to leave Gibbs and start recording with Leslie Kong, bringing in George “Dekker” Agard (he of “Foey Man” fame). We all know the outcome. Classic tune after classic tune was the result with tracks like “Long Shot (Kick De Bucket)” being staples in the skinhead packed dancehalls of the day. This tune right here is actually produced by Byron Lee, as it happens, but it’s one of their finest.

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