Tree of Satta

Tree of Satta

by The Abyssinians
     
 
The Abyssinians cut the original version of "Satta Massa Gana" in 1969 at Clement Dodd's legendary Studio One in Kingston, Jamaica. This first "Satta" featured a lead vocal by Bernard Collins, a distinctive bassline played by Leroy Sibbles of the Heptones, and a simple but

Overview

The Abyssinians cut the original version of "Satta Massa Gana" in 1969 at Clement Dodd's legendary Studio One in Kingston, Jamaica. This first "Satta" featured a lead vocal by Bernard Collins, a distinctive bassline played by Leroy Sibbles of the Heptones, and a simple but effective horn chart voiced by Headley Bennett on alto sax and Vin Gordon on trombone. The song was a big hit in the dancehalls of the day, and before long new versions and dub plates of "Satta" began to appear. In time, the "Satta" rhythm became one of the most versioned in Jamaican history, with over 450 known variations to date. Britain's fine reggae reissue label Blood and Fire has collected several of these musical offspring, along with the original Abyssinians version, in a single package that chronicles Jamaica's obsession with this timeless groove. Collins revisits "Satta" a couple of times himself, with reworked lyrics, as "Satta Me No Born Yah" and "Satta Don." U-Roy preaches Psalm 1 over the rhythm as "Blessed," while Big Youth toasts Psalm 2 over it as "I Pray Thee." Lloyd Charmers of the Uniques is featured with an organ rendition called "Charming Version," while Tommy McCook adds tenor sax and Vivian Hall's trumpet, along with assorted additional percussion, and calls it "Mandela." Ernest Ranglin runs a bebop guitar solo over the top and names the track "Ranglin Satta." Yami Bolo sings yet another set of new lyrics to the rhythm in his so-called "waterhouse" style as "Conspiracy," while Capleton does it as "Dislocate" in an angry, militant "bobo dread" rap. The disc closes with a version by Dean Fraser called "Dahina Dimps," which has Fraser adding double overdubs on soprano and alto saxes. With its churchy, reverent tone and that one of a kind bassline and horn part, "Satta Massa Gana" has proved itself a versatile and resilient strand of Jamaican musical DNA, and Blood and Fire is to be commended for charting some of its history in this release. Casual listeners may find the repeated opening horn line maddening after a few tracks, but dedicated fans of classic roots reggae will find Tree of Satta a fascinating account of the evolution of the little rhythm that could.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/16/2004
Label:
Blood & Fire Records
UPC:
0783564004522
catalogNumber:
640045

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Abyssinians   Primary Artist
Leroy Sibbles   Bass
Richard Ace   Keyboards
Eric Frater   Guitar
Vin Gordon   Trombone
Bongo Herman   Percussion
Robert Lyn   Keyboards
Bernard Collins   Vocals
Donald Manning   Vocals
Lynford Manning   Vocals
Ibo Cooper   Keyboards
Fil Callender   Drums
"Deadly" Headley Bennett   Alto Saxophone

Technical Credits

Steve Barrow   Liner Notes,Interviewer,Annotation
Bernard Collins   Producer
Carter Van Pelt   Interviewer
Nicky Birch   Interviewer

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