The late Delroy Wilson may not be as well-recognized as other Studio One alums like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, but the man holds a rocksteady place in the pantheon of popular Jamaican singers. Under the tutelage of Studio One founder and producer Coxsone Dodd, he began singing at the tender age of thirteen and found success early on. As early as his late teens, he developed a rich, honeyed voice that found success on a string of hits, including “Riding for a Fall” and “Conquer Me.” Although initially mentored by Dodd, Wilson left Studio One in the late ’60s to pursue other recording venues and options (though he occasionally returned to record with Dodd in the following years).
Shortly after this departure, Dodd issued this collection as The Original Twelve, collecting both the aforementioned hits and lesser-known but no less inspiring material, such as the easy skanking cover of “Get Ready.” With the backing of house band the Soul Vendors, Wilson performed a range of music that showcased both his expressive range and the gradual development of the rocksteady beat.
Amazingly, Wilson was not even twenty when he cut these records. Scarcely leaving puberty, he quickly demonstrated an emotional depth and musical maturity that singers twice his age would have yearned for. Now, Rounder expands on this collection with alternate cuts/mixes and other rarities that have not been available on CD before, highlighted by the tender “Rain From the Skies” and the slow-rolling “Easy Snappin’.”