musicology #0746

Nubag #15 (a year in the life)

African Queen – the Skatalites

MIGHTY piece of heavyweight instrumental Ska from it’s, for me, greatest collective, the Skatalites. No need for me to wax about them too tough as they are well known and greatly appreciated. Suffice to say that this piece, produced by the majestic Vincent ‘King’ Edwards and delivered by the cream of the islands urbanemusicologists IS Ska. Simply put these are the musicians who ‘invented’ and created Jamaican music after 1962.

musicology #0739

Nubag #5 (a year in the life)

El Bang Bang – Jackie Mittoo

(Sir Coxson) Downbeat marrow trembler courtesy of the majestic Jackie Mittoo, (the backbone of Studio 1 throughout the golden years), and the brentford road massive aka the Skatalites, the soul brothers, Sound Dimension the Brentford road all stars/disco set at the top of the game. released in 1966, (as the Ska slid into the Rock Steady) on Downbeat’s genre defining Studio 1/Supreme Label.

Regulars on themusicologist know how strongly the ‘Keyboard King’ has been representing over the years due to his credentials as one of the greats of the music that I love. Jackie is/was and will always be the KING of Studio 1 for me

there are rare tunes and there are BOSS tunes..no doubt which category this STANDS in.

musicology#0732

Nubag #1 (a year in the life)

My Mama Told Me – Justin Hinds and the Dominos

monkey-year

So much to say but, words, for me, don’t do thoughts/feelings justice. That said, I will do my best with the vocabulary I ‘have’ in an effort to communicate my thoughts/feelings on the what, why, how, when of the nubag (new bag) that I feel like working out of for the new year.

Interestingly and without my knowledge (but not without my understanding), the time has come and the nu beat is being played and the dance begins TODAY.

Not ONLY is it the dawn of spring it is also the dawn of the final phase (for me) and rebirth is coming as we ‘sail into the mystic’…

My aim is to post a tune every day between Feb 8th (new years day) and Jan 27th (year end), a marathon for sure but I will give it my best ‘shot’. The music will be diverse.

First up a top ranking piece of, (late), Ska from a king of Jamaican music, Justin Hinds (and the Dominos), one of the pioneers of the vocal group style at his/their very best. Recorded for the mighty Duke, the Trojan, Reid and released on his Treasure Isle Label. Echoes of and certainly inspired by Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler’s early Soul killer .. I’m a Telling You. One more example of Curtis Mayfield’s contribution to the development of Jamaican music.

 

musicology #0654 Special Event

Tribute to DON Pedro #4

Baba Brooks – Special Event

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 urbanmusicology

musicology #645

tUmp #7

the Wailers – Sinner Man


what more can I say about the ‘Wailing Wailers’…the trio who went on to internationalise the music of Jamaica that has since had such a BIG impact on contemporary music especially ‘Hip Hop’ and ‘House’ both of which owe a great debt to the artists, producers and engineers who were always innovating and showing what was possible with limited technology. EVERY 21st ‘bedroom producer’, whether consciously or unconsciously, takes inspiration from Jamaican Urbanmusicology.

From the early 1950’s the Sound System pioneers helped to blaze the trail for what was to follow, chatting on the mic, selecting in the dance etc but it was in the 1960’s and particularly with Sir Coxsone Downbeat’s Brentford Road powerhouse, appropriately named ‘Studio 1’ that the music really took shape. Of course there were other BIG and influential producers at the time notably Duke Reid, Leslie Kong, Justin Yap, King Edwards, Prince Buster but Coxsone was the one who truly moved the focus out of the dance and into the Studio with artists such as the Wailers. Coxsone was a businessman but also a vanguard AND music lover who knew how to pick a winner and without him the musical landscape of not only Jamaica but, (in my opinion) the world would be a different place.

DOWNBEAT THE RULER will ALWAYS be the CHAMPION sound for me.

Wailing Wailers TributeTees designed and produced by themusicologist available EXCLUSIVELY at

bloodsweatandtees

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musicology #644

tUmp #6

the Wailers – Freedom Time

More Ska from the Wailers, who were first introduced to Studio 1 by percussionist Alvin ‘Seeco’ Patterson and went by the name ‘the Teenagers’. Bob had already recorded a tune for Leslie Kong before arriving at Coxsone’s Brentford Road gate but as a (5 piece), group they were yet to record. Lee Perry was assigned the task of making the ‘Wailers’ the islands #1 group and encouraged them to work at their original material rather than the covers that Coxsone, (who was a fan of the group), was forwarding. This SUPERB piece is one of those original compositions..Jackie Mittoo on the keys leading the Studio 1 band, (formerly known as the Skatalites)

 

musicology #643

tUmp #6

the Wailers – Bend Down Low

Original Studio 1 version of Bend Down Low..later revisted by Bob Marley in 1974 for his first solo album ‘Natty Dread’.

musicology #641

tUmp #4

the Wailers – Rolling Stone

one of themusicologists favourite early Wailers cuts…a TOP ranking interpretation of Bob Dylan’s ‘Rolling Stone’ from the time when Ska was slowing down and making the transition into the Rocksteady (1965/66)….I’m getting bored of saying “yet another example of the Downbeat sound” but it is…

musicology #0637

Frank Cosmo – Merry Christmas

themusicologist has been on, (what we call here on the streets of London), a ‘long ting’ these last few weeks refining the project but I’m back in the saddle for a christmas Jamboree..

(keep it locked as I’m planning on delivering a little musicologistChristmasSpecial sometime between now and Christmas Day !!)

regular musicologists will be aware that it’s traditional for me to throw down a christmas selection so keeping that tradition alive hold this piece of 1963 Christmas Ska courtesy of Frank Cosmo and the Beverley’s All Stars featuring what sounds like Charlie Organnaire blowing on the harmonica…

musicology #0620

ChristmasComing #13

Bunny and Skully – White Christmas

4 days and counting…busier than a busy bee who’s busy buzzing around the garden collecting nectar for the hive. I’ve neglected all you dedicated musicologists out there in the hyper real but I aim to make it up to you with a couple of musical Christmas presents delivered via themusicologist before the Big day…in the meantime hold this festive ska cut courtesy of pioneering Jamaican duo Arthur ‘Bunny’ Robinson and Noel ‘Skully’ Simms whose recording career began by singing and recording Jamaican Rhythm and Blues in the early 50’s..

musicology #526

Jamaica #6

(The Skatalites – Confucius)

Finishing up Round one of the Jamaican Musical History selection with this piece courtesy of the Chinese/Jamaican producer Justin Yapp who for 3 years, (1962-65) produced and delivered Ska that is as good as anything ever waxed. Yet another piece led and written by the legendary Don Drummond. Of course it’s the Skatalites, (who else !!), providing the impeccable back up. Recorded and released on Yapp’s Top Deck Label in 1964.

musicology #525

Jamaica #5

(Edwards All Stars – North Coast)

Was unable to spare the time to throw down yesterday..played out last night at a very dear and cherished friend’s birthday bash and spent most of the day preparing the set. Anyway explanations aside and moving on from Don Drummond at the Duke’s Treasure Isle to a cut delivered by one of the other major Ska producers and sound systems of the time; King Edwards, (The Giant). Don’t know hardly anything about the Cat other than he had a major Sound that for a while competed with the players; Sir Tom The Great Sebastian, Duke Reid, (The Trojan), Sir Coxsone Downbeat, Lord Koos, and V-Rocket on top of producing some BOSS Ska.

His main DJ, (not selector), was none other than Sir Lord Comic who went on to record what is considered to be the first ‘DJ’ cut, (Ska-ing West), in 1966 at the dawn of a new era, (Rock Steady), but more about that next week. This week it’s all about the Ska and this piece is a rare, (and I mean rare), treat. 1965 release on the, (English), Rio label. Credited to the Edwards All Stars but better known as the Skatalites.

musicology #524

Jamaica #4

(Don Drummond – Treasure Isle)

Looking to catch the earlier train with today’s cut otherwise I find myself too far behind the 8 Ball which is no place to be for the I. That and having too many plates up there spinning take too much of my time and energy which I haven’t got to spare. I would rather spend it with my children, listening to, finding and curating music or with my spars.

So on with the journey..day four of the Jamaican Musical History excursion and so far we have heard from two of the foremost producers of the period Downbeat the Ruler  and Prince Buster so today it’s the turn of Duke Reid aka The Trojan whose Soundclashes with Coxsone are the stuff of myth and legend. Of all the islands sound systems It was these two who contested with the most ferocity and passion both musically and physically leading to heated battles between them and their respective followers both in and out of the dance. Pitched battles were fought in an attempt to intimidate and lock off the opposing sound and in part it was out of this culture that the Rude Boy emerged. Combined with Jamaica’s violent and rebellious history as well as the abject poverty and general lawlessness especially in the ghettos of Kingston the ingredients were all there to light the fuse that would eventually blow up in all out political warfare in the 70’s but I’ll get to that later on in the theme when the right time come.

Back to the Ska and Duke Reid..for me what has always distinguished The Trojan’s Treasure Isle sound is it’s sweetness and light. As far as I know Reid never allowed Ganja to be smoked in the studio or entertained any kind of Rasta ideology whereas Coxsone turned a blind eye knowing that not only did it stir the creative juices, (which it does), but that Rasta was beginning to have a major impact in Jamaican ghetto life..Duke Reid was a traditionalist and considerably older than the young and visionary Coxsone but the music produced in his studio, (and he had a speaker wired up in his Liquor store so that he could hear what was being recorded), was as good as anything produced. It was with the Rocksteady that Duke Reid truly came into his own but he was also responsible for producing some BOSS Ska as witnessed with this piece courtesy of the legendary Don Drummond..Original Skatalite, Trombonist supreme and leading light in Jamaican musical history. No one rocked the instrument like the Don and although his story ended in violence and mental illness his music will forever stand as his legacy. Quite Simply..this is Ska

LISTEN TUNE

musicology #523

Jamaica #3

(Prince Buster – Linger On)

Moving out of the Studio 1, (before it threatens to consume the WHOLE theme), and into a cut from one of the other notable players in the development of Jamaican musicology…Cecil Bustamente Campbell who along with Sir Coxsone, Duke Reid, Justin Yap and King Edwards had a major impact on the Ska.

Prince Buster, (so named because of his boxing prowess), was a security man for Downbeat in the early 60’s but turned his talented hands to recording and producing in 1962 after leaving Coxsone. Today’s 1964? cut is a piece from the ‘Golden Age’ paying tribute to the legend known then as Cassius Clay. Note the innovative Reverb technique employed by Buster which at the time must have been well and truly ‘modern’. The musicians backing the man were known as Buster’s All Stars and included legends Val Bennet, Raymond Harper, Baba Brooks, Junior Nelson, Rico Rodriguez, Earnest Ranglin, Jerry Haynes, Gladstone Anderson and Arkland Parks.

musicology #522

Jamaica #2

(Jackie Opel – You’re Too Bad)

Various Cats have laid claim to ‘inventing’ the Ska but as far as I can hear it seems to have been more of an evolution. In an attempt to provide a little insight for those who are not clued up on the historicity of Jamaican musicology before Ska there was what’s known as ‘Shuffle’ which to be brutal was more of a home grown version of American Jump/Rhythm & Blues so popular in the dance. Early Operators such as Tom The Great Sebastian and Count Nick were followed by hungrier Cats such as Duke Reid, Coxsone Dodd and Prince Buster who needed a constant source of new material to ‘mash up the dance’ and ‘Kill’ opposing Sound Systems. The competition was ferocious and it was this more than anything that fed the emerging scene for home grown talent. Combine such a need for a constant supply of fresh cuts, (Concurrent with the decline of Rhythm and Blues and looming Independence from colonial rule), with Jamaica’s strong sense of ‘national’ pride and identity and the stage was set for ‘Ska’

Coxsone led the way by setting up the legendary Studio 1 recording studio in 1963 and the icing on the cake was a collective of the hottest musicologists on the island coming together in 1964 as the Skatalites. As previously mentioned on themusicologist Jackie Mittoo was Coxsone’s musical director and as such is as responsible as anyone for defining Ska.

Today’s cut is a prime slice of the Skatalites pie from 1964? featuring the majestic Jackie Opel on vocals and the combined talents of any number of Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb, Lester Sterling, Don Drummond, Jah Jerry, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore and Percival Dillon…in a word..BOSS

musicology #521

Jamaica #1

(Delroy Wilson – Joe Liges)

Right…been waiting, (impatiently), for inspiration regarding the next theme and I’m pleased to announce that it has arrived. Random cuts are all well and good but they have no direction which is something the butterfly mind is prone to suffer from in all honesty. I say suffer because direction is, at least for me, essential when travelling down satisfaction’s long and winding road.

So what is the theme I hear you ask? Obviously the title should  give you a clue…Jamaica and it’s RICH musical heritage. In fact I would go so far as to say that contemporary music owes a HUGE debt disproportionate  to the Country’s size and population. How was it that such a small and as far as many people are concerned, (me most definately NOT being one of them), insignificent island produced such a treasure trove of musicology? I’m not planning on transcribing Jamaica’s history as I don’t know enough about it but at the risk of sounding like I’m blowing my own trumpet…I do know about the islands musical historicity. A genuine love affair that stretches back to some of my earliest musical memories starting in the early 70’s and, (along with Soul), stretching up to today. Fact is I truly LOVE Jamaican music with a passion. So much it has given me that I would like to try and repay the debt in the only way I know how and that is by sharing it with youse Cats and Kittens.

For the officionados among you I doubt there will be anything you havent already heard but themusicologist is not in the business of unearthing cuts that nobody has heard rather I’m in the business of playing what I consider to be cuts from the top of the tree and lets face it those are sometimes the best known. That said you won’t be hearing the internationally known ‘popular’ tunes during this theme purely because they are not the ones that I know and love.

I have been listening to and collecting Reggae since the early 80’s from I was a teenager whereas before that it was only what I was introduced to by family members. Just like to give an extra nod to one of my Uncles whose debt I will always be in for introducing me to such profound musicology..

Before we begin I would just like to lay me cards on the table and confess my alliegance to what I consider to be the premier studio and sound system to hail from the land of wood and water none other than Sir Coxsone ‘Downbeat The Ruler’ Dodd’s CHAMPION sound..Studio 1. Above all others it’s the Coxsone sound that has hit me hardest but there have been far too many TOP RANKING artists and producers along the way to namecheck, rest assured I will do my best to represent as many as I can as the theme unfolds over the coming days and weeks.

The format will be linear starting not at the dawn, (the late 50’s), of the Island’s musicology but rather when Jamaican music found it’s own unique ‘voice’ after Independence in 1962. The sound was named ‘Ska’ a term many are already familiar with so I’m not going to get caught up in the why’s, who’s and wherefores of the terminology as I would rather let the music speak. Of course this is only one persons subjective evaluation of the music and I’m sure that others will have their own ‘favourites’ but that’s part of what makes ‘Reggae’ so special…’Every Man Does His Thing A Little Way Different’

Finally..before I begin the sessions proceedings I would just like to add that I may ‘double up’ on some of the cuts that I have already thrown over the preceding 3 years so forgive me if I do…

First up is a cut from 1963..featuring the 13 year old Delroy Wilson singing a piece written by Dodd employee and all round musicologist Lee Perry concerning former Coxsone Sound Man, Enforcer and ‘dance crasher’ Prince Buster who, (thank the stars for us music lovers), decided to step to his own beat…

45 released in England on the pioneering R&B Label.

musicology #451

TheManWithTheBag #1

(The Wailers – Christmas Time)

The time has come to roll out this years Christmas selection..what a difference a year makes !! could never have imagined that my/our whole world would have turned on it’s head but in the words of Lord Creator…Such Is Life or even master Terry Callier, C’est La Vie..(yet to feature but soon come), if I thought 2008 was a hill and gully ride then F**k knows what to call 2009 !! still..we made it through and I’m feeling very positive about the prospects for 2010, (couldn’t get any worse?…hahahahahahahahaha…I gots to laugh), one thing about adversity…you either get through it and emerge stronger or it gets the best of you and f**ks you good and proper. For all the Cats on both sides of this fence…I feel for you..know that musically themusicologist has ‘got your back’ and if you want me to lay one down especially for you then check me and I’ll see what I can do.

First cut is a top ranking slice of the Christmas musicology pie from None other than the Wailin’ Wailers (Peter, Bob and Bunny), with a majestic piece of rip roaring Ska out of the bowels of Sir Coxsone Dodds legendary Studio 1. Originally released in December 1964 as a 45 in JA on Dodd’s Muzik City label as ‘Christmas Is Here’ backed, (of course), by The Skatalites

musicology #417

AfterTheStorm #2

(Skatalites – The Reburial)

Stepping up the pace with this majestic piece of Jamaican musicology, (a tribute to Marcus Garvey), from the vaults. Recorded at Coxsone’s Brentford Road powerhouse, Studio 1 for Justin Yap and released on his top ranking Top Deck label.

musicology #403

Catharsis #1

(Lord Creator – I’m Wasting Time)

Still struggling to find direction on themusicologist. It’s not inspiration that’s the problem, (music always delivers), or that I don’t have themes in mind maybe it’s a simple matter of the fallout from the metamorphosis that I am in the middle of. Want it straight?

My partner, (and mother of our children), has, after twenty years, called time on our relationship for the second, (and final), time in 12 months. Why am I laying this out here on themusicologist? ’cause it’s distracting, painful and needs exorcising and where better to get some therapy than here through the form that for me has always delivered catharsis.

Don’t worry though as I’m certainly not going to let the black cloud descend. Nietzsche once wrote, (in The Genealogy Of Morals)

“All instincts which do not find a vent outside oneself turn inwards” and that in a sentance sums up what themusicologist is for me…a vent for my instincts.

First up is a piece from Kendrick Patrick a.k.a Lord Creator who has already featured on themusicologist with his majestic 1968 cut Such Is Life. Produced by Vincent Chin and released on his Top Ranking Randy’s label in the first half of the 1960’s.

musicology #382

Modernist #10

(Derrick & Patsy – Housewife’s Choice)

Sticking with the Jamaican selection with a next piece that was spun back in the day. The quote below from a cat named Ian Hebditch confirms conversations about them days that I have had with a good friend of mine’s Dad, (hold this one Don), who is Jamaican, born in 1947 and was there on the London scene at the time in question.

“There was a great degree of respect between the Mods and the West Indian Community. I personally found that. Within the Mod movement I don’t recollect any element of racism at all and by racism I mean anti-black feeling”.

Many a reason for this but one I would like to add is that in my experience Jamaicans have much of the mod/ernist attitude. Confident, Proud, Defiant, Dynamic are all attributes I have come across in my friends and their familys over the years and often have I witnessed this being interpreted as them having ‘a chip on their shoulder’ a misinterpretation that lingers on to this day.

Today’s cut is a 1962 slice from early Ska proponent Derrick Morgan in combination with a female singer by the name of Patsy Todd and I’ll leave it to Johnny Spencer to give you the details of the cut, a picture of the label and an informative piece of writing on it here on his magnificent project