musicology #546


Jamaica #26

(U Roy/Hopeton Lewis – Tom Drunk)

How does it go?…. ..”I’ve started…so I’ll finish”.

Up until the early 70’s, (in Jamaica), there were really no more than a handful of producers and musical styles to contend with, as far as the musicology is concerned), but as the 60’s rolled into the seventies wide ranging changes both musically and socially changed the game. First there was the music made for export to satisfy the English popular market, (loosely termed ‘Skinhead’), headed by, (among others), producers such as Lee Perry, Bunny Lee, Leslie Kong, Joe Gibbs, Rupie Edwards and then there was the Indigenous market that was at first dominated by the Sound System operators. It was in this arena that innovation flourished. That’s not to say that some of the producers mentioned, (especially Lee Perry and Bunny Lee), were not active in both arenas and let’s face it everyone wanted to make money but in truth it didn’t take long for the artists to realise that no matter how ‘popular’ their music was ‘up a foreign’ they still found themselves in the same position financially…..skint..(or for those among us whose dialects don’t recognise such terminology)..poor.

It was into this cauldron that the DeeJay took centre stage in tandem with the version or ‘Dub’, (both hugely influential on all urban music that followed), and the figure that stood tallest at the birth was none other than Ewart Beckford aka Hugh Roy. NO history of Jamaican music would be complete without him. Not the first or even, (in my opinion), the most eloquent but certainly the most important. Today’s cut is from 1971..produced by Duke Reid..Vocal by Hopeton Lewis.

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