Out of the Rhythm & Blues and into the Rocksteady with this majestic cover of the Impressions cut. Rarely does a cover do justice to the original for me but this one is an exception to the rule..
Written by Master Curtis Mayfield and originally recorded by the Impressions for the 1966 Ridin’ High LP the Sensations recorded this version in 1967. Released in the UK on Graeme Goodall’s Doctor Bird label this is a BiG piece from the Sensations, a group originally formed by Jimmy Riley and Cornel Campbell that featured, (along the way), Buster Riley, Aaron ‘Bobby’ Davis, Johnny Osbourne and Jackie Parris, who the lead is on todays fine piece im not sure but i’m guessing its Jackie Parris rather than Jimmy who had moved onto one of Jamaica’s greatest vocal groups the Uniques by 1967 but it could even be Cornel Campbell?
one thing IS for SURE…the tune is a top ranking, nailed on marrow trembler and one that I’m sure Don Pedro will appreciate as the surf hits the shore on another day in paradise and he watches the sun sink over the pacific as the Don is world renowned for ALWAYS being ‘Right On Time’.
sliding out of the Ska and into the 60′s Rhythm and Blues with this cut from the Vibrations. A vocal group who first appeared on the scene as the Jay Hawks in 1956 and had a ‘hit’ with; Stranded in the Jungle, (remind me to dig it out from the vaults and lay it down), as well as notable early ‘Soul’ cuts Oh Cindy, Since I Fell For You, the Watusi, Peanut Butter and the classic My Girl Sloopy.
Don Pedro shares a West Coast connection with these cats who hail from the City Of Angels in California. the Don took up residency there for many years after deciding it was time to leave the auld Country and head out West to stroll the Boulevards.
Back in the day the Don and I used to be found frequenting ‘Mod’ hang outs. I had become disillusioned with the rare Funk clique and was in between scenes and even though it was my second time, (once a mod/ern/ist always a mod/ern/ist), the scene had evolved, (or maybe it was us who had evolved??), anyway we had some memorable times together and it was there that my love and respect for the Don was born…again I digress so i’ll leave it there. Suffice it to say that the music connects us and i Know that he will enjoy this one… recorded for and released on Atlantic in 1964.
Don Pedro is a lover of the fine things in life…a purveyor of quality and style. Be it women, vehicles, garments, food, ‘kettles’, ‘Tom’ and anything else that catches his attention. Anyone who knows the Don will clarify that the Cats antenna is finely tuned. That’s not to say that he can’t or doesn’t know how to get down with all manner of people as the Don posseses that rare quality of being comfortable in his own skin and therefore non judgemental of others regardless of how they ‘hang’. A proper ‘man of the world’ the DON has seen and lived more on his travels through life than most. I wax lyrical about the man because those of us who have shared some of them travels can say that they have lived too. The Don asks for for little but gives plenty.
Anyway before i digress and get lost, (im on a TIGHT schedule on this fine sunny morning in London Town), …hold this rip roaring piece of Jamaican Ska from led by one its greatest protagonists the mighty Oswald ‘Baba’ Brooks featuring the cream of Jamaica’s musical fraternity. Recorded for Duke Reid and released on his Treasure Isle label in, (what sounds to me like 1965) ..
Big piece of Mento from Jamaican musicologist and knowledgehustler supreme the great Terence Parkins aka Count Lasher whose lyricosity and verbal dexterity is as good as it gets… 1954 Release on the Caribou Label.
sticking with the Rhythm and Blues selection for round two with more Don Pedro Philosophy..but before, during or after the cut i hope you will lend me your ear as i wax philosophically on this thing called Life…
the age old question of meaning is one i often ponder as i walk down the road and the longer the journey goes on the clearer i can see the path. for me life’s meaning is in the relationships we forge. not the aquaintances, the authentic connections to each other. the ones that present us with the opportunity to be ourselves, without fear or damnation. In the play Macbeth, Shakespere wrote the words:
“Out, out brief candle, life’s but a walking shadow a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signyfying nothing”
is it? … I have been honoured to share the journey with Giants along the way and regardless of how long we rolled together they continue to have a positive influence on me. They are by no means angels of virtue but their actions and non actions have touched the depths of me soul.
Don Pedro is one of them giants and the relationship will always be a cherished one.
This selection is taking shape serendipitously as today’s cut features the Gigantic Joe Morris, (another major player at the forefront of the shift from big band swing to small band jump/rhythm and blues), who, in his brief career, journeyed with some heavyweights such as Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Big Joe Turner, Dinah Washington, Wynonie Harris, as well as being the unoficial house band at Atlantic records in the early 50′s when Cats like brother Ray and Lowell Fulsom were cutting their R&B teeth. His candle went out at the tender age of 36 but half a century on and his voice is still heard loud and clear…
cracking on with a new selection in tribute to a genuine living legend who i call Don Pedro, a KING amongst pawns who is an inspiration. Before i kick off though allow me to talk a while.
Hopefully everyone knows a ‘Don Pedro’ one of them Cats whose actions speak MUCH louder than their words. Trailblazers who lead, Shepherds not sheep who ‘Walk the Walk’ rather than ‘Talk the Talk’. I first met Don Pedro in my late teens, the man was sharp like PAPER. Never settling for anything less than the best that life was offering. International traveller with a taste for the fine things. Don Pedro hustled with the best and could sell snow to eskimos. The best hustlers are the ones that present opportunities rather than try to take you for what you’ve got and Don Pedro was right up there with the champions. Life was/is NEVER dull when you are rolling with the Don. Memories are made of these connections and relationships like these are rare and full of life. Pedro lives life to the FULL and this selection is in his honour. Enough with the words and on with the music. STRICTLY boss tunes for the Don from across the musical spectrum
Roll on DON Pedro you touch and continue to inspire everyone who has the fortune to call you friend…
First up is a slice from one of the Rhythm and Blues pioneers whose Tympany 5 was instrumental in changing the direction of urbanmusicology from Big Band Swing to Small Band Rhythm & Blues and in the process inspired a new genre. a GENUINE legend Louis Jordan and Don Pedro speak the same language, sing from the same hymn sheet, blow the same horn and would have rolled together in the 1940′s. NO doubt.
Fitting start to the selection as Don Pedro ALWAYS made sure to ‘Let The Good Times Roll’
themusicologist is back in the saddle today with a remix of the Johnny Osbourne Downbeat Roots Classic ‘Truth & Rights’. Recorded in the late 70′s at Sir Coxsons Studio 1, although in truth it was, like much of Coxsons later output an overdub recorded over an early 70′s ‘golden age’ Studio 1 rhythm, a practice originated by Sugar Minott a few years earlier.
By the late 70′s Jamaica was on the edge and Kingston was to all intents and purposes a battlefield. The economy had collapsed due, (in part), to outside influence as well as infighting between the opposing forces of the JLP and the PNP. Without going into too long a narrative Jamaica, (and the Caribbean) was on the frontline of the Cold War. Manley was a ‘Socialist’ and Seaga was a ‘Capitalist’ and the war that erupted was instigated by outside pressure to destabilise the situation. The age of ‘Roots & Culture’, One Love and ‘Ites was almost over and the ‘Gunman’ style was on the march. Studio 1, (as a creative force), was too all intents and purposes finished and Sir Coxson was relocating to the relative peace and safety !!! of Brooklyn signalling the end of the mightiest of Jamaica’s Musical powerhouses…
The rhythm for this tune was originally recorded at Studio 1 in the early part of the 70′s and released as ‘Take a Ride’ (miscredited to Al Campbell). Johnny Osbourne’s Truth and Rights was, (to the best of my knowledge), never released as a 7 Inch and was only available on the LP, (along with other ‘golden age’ overdubs), anyway…before i digress here is my tribute version to one of the mightiest of the Studio 1 roots cuts…