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Round two of the Tribute Tees is in homage to the Legendary Jamaican musicologist Clement Seymour ‘Sir Coxsone, Downbeat The Ruler’ Dodd whose musical legacy is integral not only to the sweet sounds of Jamaica but also to what has since become labelled as ‘Urban Music’.
Dodd was a pioneer and vanguard whose love and appreciation of music was the primary reason for setting up his ‘Sound System’ way back in the 1950’s after hearing and becoming hooked on ‘Jump’ Rhythm & Blues while working the fields in Florida..In fact ‘Downbeat the Grafter‘ would be just as appropriate a moniker for the Cat such was his commitment, energy and ambition.
Coxsone was a foundation ‘Sound System DJ’ who, (along with Duke Reid and Prince Buster), was one of the first ‘operators’ in Jamaica to record local talent, (in the late 1950’s), for the sole purpose of dropping exclusives at his ‘dances’ when Rhythm & Blues in America was supersceded by it’s imitator, (and more easily accessible format), Rock and Roll.
In the early 60’s it was Coxsone that set up the first recording studio in Jamaica owned and run by a ‘black’ man and it was this the legendary Studio 1 that recorded and begun the careers of many of the most famous names in Jamaican musical history. The Wailers, (featuring Bob Marley), Lee Perry, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Burning Spear, The Skatalites, Bob Andy, Delroy Wilson., The Heptones, Dillinger and Jackie Mitoo, (among many others), all passed through the gates of his legendary Brentford Road powerhouse delivering, along the way, a large percentage of the most well known and most loved music to have come out of Jamaica.
From Shuffle, through Ska, Rocksteady and eventually what became known as Reggae Coxsone Dodd was at the cutting edge of developments and half a century later remains at the top of the Tree as far as the music of Jamaica is concerned. Above all other Jamaican producers Reggae owes most to Coxsone as witnessed by the continuing use of the rhythm tracks that were born there and are still recycled more than 30 years later.