First Cut: Giant

Giant only released 41 singles, and two more non reggae sides, over the course of 1967 and 1968 but it’s held in high esteem by record collectors around the world. Certainly a lot of that acclaim is down to the legendary “The Cooler” single, by the Wrigglers, seeing release on the label in ’68 and the numerous Dandy produced and likely Dandy featuring sides that also featured. But that’s only part of the story.

The label also featured numerous other killer tracks, many of them hidden gems. Giant singles don’t tend to pop up with regularity nowadays and thus a lot of the labels output isn’t fully appreciated. The backing band for much of the label was Bobby Aitken and the Carib-Beats, so the musicianship is of the highest order.

Throw in vocalists ranging from Dandy to Pat Kelly and Ewan & Jerry to Ken Parker, there’s a lot of top stuff we wish was more widely accessible. But that’s the story of a collectors life now isn’t it? Anyway, to the business at hand.

“Cool Down Your Temper” by Junior Smith was the debut on the label. Surely directed at the rude boys, as so many tracks were at the time whether they be holding the lads in esteem or contempt, this one is a belter. The Trojan Rude Boy boxset is home to a number of classic tracks on the subject, but it’s missing out greatly by not having this one on it.

The B side, “I’m Groovin”, is a much slower paced track. Not terrible, but it certainly doesn’t stand out in comparison to the A side. Still the single as a whole was a worthwhile introduction to one of the better UK labels for rocksteady. Contact us if you have some Giant stuff you want to offload!

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