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The Jamaicans

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The Jamaicans (Tommy Cowan, Norris Weir, Martin Williams) burst on the scene in 1967 by winning the second Jamaican Festival song contest with a bit of nonsensical rocksteady called “Ba Ba Boom,” a piece that had been written by Cowan and Weir. The pair continued to write, and the group had a middling successful career between 1967 and 1972 recording their frequently novelty-tinged songs (they sang “ba ba” in myriad different ways, sometimes even inventively) for producer Duke Reid and his legendary Treasure Isle label, scoring hits with “Ba Ba Boom” and the poignant “Things You Say You Love. ” One of their best tracks was a solid cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Dedicate My Song to You,” while their original “Black Girl” was a hit for Boney M when re-recorded in 1978. The Jamaicans fall right at the cusp between ska and rocksteady, and slowed-down horn charts figure heavily in most of their tracks. When the group disbanded, Cowan went on to a successful career as a producer, as well as becoming a popular Sunsplash MC.

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