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TopFeature ArchivesLabel Hall of FameGay Feet / High Note
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Gay Feet / High NoteText by Harry Hawks
Sonia Pottinger was Jamaica's first and foremost female record producer; her husband, Lyndon O. Pottinger, was one of the unacknowledged founding fathers of Jamaican music.
Gay Feet / High Note
Founded 1965
Place of Establishment Kingston Jamaica
Main Studio(s)
Treasure Isle
Sonia Pottinger
Lyndon O. Pottinger
Byron Smith
Errol Brown
Related Artist(s)
Related Label(s)
Lyndon O. Pottinger started producing records in 1961. His earliest hit was Jimmy James' 'Come To Me Softly', which came out on WIRL, and he then began to release records on his Gaydisc, Golden Arrow and SEP labels. He built a small recording studio on Sundown Crescent where he started recording Lord Tanamo on hits such as 'Mother's Love' and 'You Belong To My Heart' and Tanamo's 'Festival Jump Up' was the first Gaydisc long playing release. But Lyndon soon stopped producing records and, in 1964, he sold his recording equipment to Duke Reid at Treasure Isle. He remained in the record business cutting stampers and pressing and distributing records at the Tip Top Record Centre and Disc Pressers Limited on Kingston's Orange Street.

"He was one of the first men to have a pressing plant in Jamaica. He had his pressing plant and stamper cutting facilities and he used to export records all round the islands."
Bunny Striker Lee

The following year his wife, Sonia Pottinger, began to produce records for her Gay Feet and High Note labels. The first release on Gay Feet, 'Every Night' by Joe White & Chuck backed with '1st Session' by Baba Brooks & His Recording Band, was a massive hit and the record remained high in the Jamaica charts for months. Sonia now started to produce a series of releases that included some of the most elegant rock steady records ever made with backing provided by The Fugitives or Lynn Taitt & The Jets: 'Won't You Come Home' from The Conquerors, 'The Whip' from The Ethiopians, 'ABC Rock Steady' & 'It's Hard To Confess' from The Gaylads, 'A Little Nut Tree' & 'Swing And Dine' from The Melodians and the transcendental 'Let's Get Together' backed with 'Cross My Heart' from Johnny & The Attractions.

And, as rock steady eased into reggae, the pressure from Tip Top never let up with 'Build Me Up' from Brent Dowe (of The Melodians), 'Unbelievable Sounds' from Scotty, 'Dance With Me', 'Don't Believe Him' & 'That's Life' from Delano Stewart and 'Doctor No Go' & 'Reggae Pressure' from The Hippy Boys who also played most of High Note's exemplary reggae rhythms. Other producers such as Bunny Striker Lee would give their records to the Tip Top Record centre to press and distribute and two of Striker's greatest productions with Slim Smith, 'Everybody Needs Love' and 'The Time Has Come', were released on High Note.

The roots revolution of the mid seventies left many of the well established record producers behind. They were now seen to be out of time and out of step with what was happening on Kingston's streets but Mrs. Pottinger did not falter and continued to come forward with a profusion of superb singles and classic albums: Bob Andy with 'Slow Down' and the 'Lots Of Love & I' album which included the impeccable 'Ghetto Stays The Mind', Culture with 'Natty Never Get Weary', 'Stop The Fighting' and the blistering long playing 'Harder Than The Rest' and Marcia Griffiths with 'Stepping Out Of Babylon', 'Peaceful Woman and the dignified 'Steppin' album'. Two High Note instrumentals from Bobby Ellis, 'Stormy Weather' and 'Shank I Sheck', became dance hall anthems as the decade came to a close.

After Duke Reid's untimely death from cancer in 1974 Mrs. Pottinger took over the Treasure Isle catalogue. Her original intention was to rebuild the Treasure Isle studio but instead she instigated a comprehensive reissue programme of the Duke's music. Compilation albums including Justin Hinds & The Dominoes 'From Jamaica With Reggae', 'Hottest Hits Volumes One & Two', a selection of twelve inch disco mixes that mixed and matched classic rock steady vocals with up to the minute deejays and dubbing techniques such as Alton Ellis' 'If I Could Rule The World' and 'I Can't Stand it' and The Sensations' splendid 'Baby Love' and a vast array of seven inch singles such as Alton Ellis & U Roy's 'Ain't That Loving You' and The Silvertones' 'True Confession' kept the sound of Bond Street alive and kicking.

Mrs. Pottinger retired from the music business in the mid-eighties. In October 2004 this musical matriarch was awarded the title of the Honourable Sonia Pottinger OD (Order of Distinction) for her contribution to the music, arts and culture of Jamaica. Sonia Pottinger died 3rd Nov. 2010 at her St Andrew home. She was 79 years old and suffering from Alzheimer's Disease in recent years.
Date Added: Nov 15, 2017
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