The Pioneers are a Jamaican reggae vocal trio, whose main period of success was in the 1960s. The trio has had different line-ups, and still occasionally performs.
Founding and early years: 1962-67
The Pioneers were formed in 1962 by brothers Sydney and Derrick Crooks, and their friend Winston Hewitt. Their early recordings "Good Nanny" and "I'll Never Come Running Back to You" were self-produced at the Treasure Isle studio using money lent to the Crooks brothers by their mother and appeared on Ken Lack's Caltone label.
Several other singles followed, none of them hits, before Hewitt emigrated to Canada in 1966. Hewitt was replaced for around a year by former Heptone Glen Adams.
The Pioneers' early singles were not successful, and Sydney began promoting concerts, while Derrick took up a job with the Alcoa bauxite company. The group broke up in mid-1967.
The Pioneers revived: 1967-68
Sydney began working at Joe Gibbs' record shop, and through Gibbs, returned to recording. At his first session (to record "Give Me Little Loving"), with the other members of The Pioneers gone, Crooks recruited Jackie Robinson, who he found outside the studio just before recording began. Crooks later said of the encounter:
"When I was about to voice the song I looked outside the studio and I saw a little boy sitting on a stone. I said 'Hey, come here man, you can sing?' He sang the harmony for 'Give Me Little Loving' and his name was Jackie Robinson. After that I said to him 'You are one of the Pioneers from today' and he became the lead singer of the Pioneers".
The new version of The Pioneers enjoyed success with singles such as "Longshot" (a track written and produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry on Gibbs' behalf about a long-lived but unsuccessful racehorse), "Jackpot", "Catch the Beat", and "Pan Yu Machete" (an attack on Perry, who left Gibbs in 1968 to start working on his own productions). Crooks and Robinson also recorded as The Soul Mates in 1967. The group parted ways with Gibbs after an argument and moved on to work with Leslie Kong, the first recording for Kong being "Samfie Man", a song about a confidence trickster, which topped the Jamaican singles chart.
The classic trio, and the move to the UK: 1969-77
After a few further singles with Kong, the group recruited Desmond Dekker's half-brother George Agard to become a trio again. Sydney Crooks and his former Pioneer brother Derrick, along with Winston Bailey also recorded as The Slickers, recording "Nana" for producer Neremiah Reid. The Pioneers scored again with a sequel to "Long Shot", "Long Shot (Kick De Bucket)". When Kong heard that the horse had died (during its 203rd race), he insisted that the group write a song about it; The song was written and recorded quickly and became an instant hit.
The band was popular in the United Kingdom, particularly among skinheads. "Long Shot Kick de Bucket" was a big hit in 1969, and led to a tour of the UK, during which they resolved to relocate there. Their cover of Jimmy Cliff's "Let Your Yeah Be Yeah" made #5 as a single in 1971.
The band did indeed move to the UK in 1970. Their third UK hit was "Give and Take", which reached #35 in January 1972.
The Pioneers - Let Your Yeah Be Yeah / More Love
UK Trojan TR 7825 (1971).
Record produced by Jimmy Cliff and S. Crooks.
The vinyl record attains a strong excellent grading, suggesting few plays.
Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.
Both record centre labels are free from tears, stains or stickers.
The record labels are clean and unmarked.
The record comes with an original company paper sleeve.