Boris Gardiner as a member of the Upsetters.
Todays’ record is a rainy day record for sure. Hot out of some crates at the Asbury Park Record Show, I figured I’d give this guy a little shine. It’s not Funk, like you may have thought from his record with The Boris Gardner Happening. It is Boris Gardiner, backed by the Happening, but playing some Sweet type Soul with “Love’s Been Good To Me” on Dynamic Records.
Boris Gardiner was born in 1943 in Kingston, Jamaica. He was a founding member of the teen group The Rhythm Aces, The Broncos (home base The Bronco Club), Kes Chin & The Souvenirs, and a member of Byron Lee’s Dragonaires, as well as Carl Malcolm and the Afro Caribs, playing the tourist and cruise circuit during the 1960’s. He’s also known for being a studio bass player, playing with such notables as The Aggrovators, The Upsetters, and the Crystallites. When he was still sessioning, he went on to release a record in 1970, “Elizabethan Reggae”. Mistakenly credited to his Byron Lee (who really produced it) for the first month, Gardiner finally got his credit after that. He has lent his name to many records, most notably not his own, the Upsetters Roast Fish, Collie Weed, & Corn Bread . He has recorded for Dynamic, Trojan, Duke, Water Lily, Revue and many others. While his first record made a bit of a splash in the UK, he has had more success in Jamaica more than anywhere. He had a comeback in 1986 with a cover of Mac Davis’s 1986 song “I Want To Wake Up With You”. His funkier sides include “Ghetto Funk” on Leal, and a cover of “Melting Pot”. Highly recommended and a bit different from this Soul side I have here today.
While Gardiner has held his roots firmly in Reggae music, this record is a bit Johnny Nash like, some crossover Soul. Not true Soul, but very Soulful. This record contains some great playing (The Happening were just that, happening!). Boris on the Bass and Lead Vocals, Peter Ashbourne on Electric Piano, Keith Sterling on Organ, Wallace Wilson on Guitar, Steve Laws helping out on Bass, Paul Douglas on Drums, Larry McDonald on Percussion, and Camille and Margaret Lewis and Majorie Whylie lending some Back Up Voices. These are some slow burning tunes people, perfect for a rainy day. This record was reissued on CD in 2004 by Vampisoul with a bunch of bonus tracks. Like I said, this is some rainy day, Soul for you, I hope you enjoy it and stay dry. Keep Diggin’!