Wizdom (1973)

My Track of the Week is Stranger and Gladdy’s ‘Conqueror’, a killer piece from Stranger Cole and Gladstone Anderson, produced by Lee Perry.

Stranger Cole got his chance to record as a vocalist in 1962 after success as a songwriter, recording his first three number one singles for Duke Reid, going on to record for Coxsone Dodd and Prince Buster.

As rocksteady was evolving into reggae, Stranger Cole is also famed with recording the first reggae tune, ‘Bangarang’. Supposedly due to shyness, he often recorded as a duet, most notably as Stranger and Patsy. When interviewed he explained, ‘Well, it’s not a matter of being shy. But I love harmonious songs. I love to hear harmony. That was one of the things that led me to sing with so many people’.

Gladstone Anderson is one of the key piano, organ and keyboard players in reggae music. He played with the Skatalites, was a member of Lynn Tait’s Jets, The Aggrovators, Rupie’s All Stars, Harry J All Stars, Crystallites, Roots Radics and the Upsetters, among others. I did a quick search for albums he is credited as a musician on and the list is staggering. His work helped define the ska and rocksteady beat, and he is credited with coming up with the term rocksteady, when descrbing Hopeton Lewis’s ‘Take it Easy’.

Stranger and Gladdy recorded a number of duets together, this is one of my favourites. Simply put, three and a half minutes of sweet and uplifting, harmonious music.

Conviction Roots