First Cut: Gayfeet

Sonia Pottinger was one of the greatest producers of the rocksteady era (as well as the first female producer in Jamaica) so one would have high hopes when her Gayfeet label popped on English shores as yet another subsidiary of the Trojan label. Unfortunately the label did little to represent the sort of quality Pottinger was producing on a regular basis throughout the late sixties in Jamaica.

It’s hard to believe the producer responsible for legendary tracks like “Swing and Dine”, “Young Wings Can Fly”, “I Need Your Loving” and “Say You” would be so poorly represented, but many of the tracks that saw light on the UK Gayfeet label did little to represent the immense talents she possessed.

The first cut on the label was very representative of the lacklustre quality of things, with Bim and Bam providing a talkover on “Fatty”. The duo were hardly a staple of her Jamaican productions, it’s almost hard to believe it’s Pottinger at the controls. Flip it over and “Landlord” provides little better.

The label went on to only have around thirteen releases in total, with sporadic releases from 1969 until 1973 with productions by the likes of Bunny Lee, Alvin Ranglin and Sidney Crooks being released as well as Sonia’s tracks. None are really the type of thing you need to hunt down. Instead focus on the Jamaican Gayfeet label, where her best work saw the light of day.

Much like Bunny Lee got the best out of Pat Kelly, some of Ken Boothe’s finest moments came when recording with Pottinger. Many of her finest tracks saw issue in England through the Doctor Bird label and those do the woman justice. There’s also a number of compilations that have been released chronicling her output, in case spending big bucks on the 45s isn’t up your alley.

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