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Sonia Pottinger’s Catalog of Amazing Tunes to Get Another Look.


Sonia PottingerThe Jamaican Observer
recently published an interesting article about the expansive catalog of the island’s grand dame Sonia Pottinger. She ran many a label and the quality of music she released via her Tip Top Records shop, SEP, Highnote and Gayfeet labels was amazing.

She also bought the Treasure Isle label and studio in total from it’s founder Arthur “Duke” Reid in 1975 shortly before his death. That’s quite a collection of #1 hits and classic recordings!

Here’s the full piece:

The expansive catalogue of the grand dame among Jamaican record producers, Sonia Pottinger, is being administered by the Los Angeles-based Noteable Music Publishing Company in an effort to collect outstanding royalties while searching for opportunities to promote it to a
wider audience.

This was disclosed by Noteable Music’s vice-president, Damon Booth, and his visit to the island recently to attend the EME Awards ceremony at which Pottinger was one of three Music Role Models being honoured. The others were King Jammy’s and Freddie McGregor.

“We started last year working with Sharon Pottinger (Sonia Pottinger’s daughter), and we are administering her publishing catalogue and helping her promote it to film and television projects and collect her royalities around the world and to look for opportunities for the songs and bring in new audience for her amazing legacy of this music,” the vice-president of the publishing company started in 1962, told the Observer.

“What blows me away,” Booth added, “is that she could start with Baba Brooks and Joe White and Chuck in the ska era, took up where her husband Lyndon Pottinger left off, and then from there continued to have success through the rocksteady period into those amazing soul albums with Marcia Griffiths, and the group Culture and Sonia Spence in the late ’70s. And so that span and that range is really amazing.”

It is arguable, that in the annals of Jamaican music, there are only two record producers who are ranked ahead of Sonia Pottinger – Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd and Duke Reid. What is undisputable is that Sonia Pottinger is the most important woman involved in the production of Jamaican music.

Opening her Tip Top record shop in the mid 1960s, she ran many labels. Starting out with SEP (Sonia E Pottinger), then Gayfeet, after which it was Highnote Records, Glory (from which came local gospel pioneers such as Claudette Clarke and Otis Wright); and her Trojan UK sub-labels, as well as the Treasure Isle label which she bought from her long-standing associate Duke Reid shortly before his death in 1974.

She reissued many Treasure Isle’s tunes before she went into retirement in 1985. Her first hit was Joe White and Chuck’s Every Night, with which she got off to a running start, and from then came numerous follow-ups. Sonia Pottinger became a very prolific hit-making record producer, and among her most well-known productions are The Whip by the Ethiopians, The Melodians’ Swing and Dine (and dance for your money), Culture’s Harder Than the Rest, 1978 album. And of course, she also has successful projects with Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Delano Stewart, Toots and the Maytals, Bob Andy, U Roy and Big Youth.

And as was noted in her citation at the EME Awards function, she has the distinction of having three of her productions included on a list of top 100 Jamaican hits of all times, and Joe White and Chuck’s Every Night, was listed at number 40.

One of the country’s leading record producers (male and female) for the first 25 years of Jamaican music, Sonia Pottinger is indeed a role model and legendary doyenne whose place in the history of Jamaican music is secured.

Source: Jamaica Observer

I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.