First Cut: Duke

It’s a toss up to whether Pat Kelly’s voice has ever sounded quite so sublime as it does in The Techniques cover of “I Wish It Would Rain”, the first cut for the Duke label. Now, technically, the first cut for this label was The Bubbles “The Wasp” which was released in 1960. But only two other singles would be released between 1960 and 1961 on the label before it was left to lay dormant. Then in 1968, with the popularity of the Trojan label starting to pick up steam in the UK, the label was revived as a showcase for the productions of the legendary Duke Reid. Hence Duke, get it? For the rest of 1968 the label would release some absolutely beautiful rocksteady cuts before going on in 1969 to release some skinhead reggae classics. We’ve stated it before in our Techniques and Pat Kelly profiles, but there really hasn’t been anyone that better filled a spot like the one Slim Smith left open in the Techniques in quite the manner Pat Kelly did. The man has one of the most beautiful voices in the history of Jamaican music. Combine that with the harmonies provided by Winston Riley, Franklyn White and Frederick Waite and throw in the kind of top shelf muscianship Reid featured on all his products and we’re back on a roll for the First Cut Friday series.

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One thought on “First Cut: Duke

  1. Beauty!

    Didn’t know about the ’60 imprint and was even surprised to see the purple label from ’66. In my head I assumed Duke started in ’68.

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