musicology #563

Tales From The Underground #5

Googie Rene Combo – Smokey Joe’s La La

Superb 1966 Rhythm & Blues instrumental and well known mod stomper from West Coast cats The Googie Rene Combo. Son of songwriter Leon Rene, Rafael Leon ‘Googie’ Rene was a suberb instrumentalist who led a combo full of legendary musicians that at various times included Plas Johnson, Rene Hall, Johnny Guitar Watson and Earl Palmer…

Special request to ‘Jumbo’…Hold tight.

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musicology #425

noExcuses #2

(You Got My Mind Messed Up – James Carr)

too many cuts to choose from and my butterfly mind certainly needs direction while my heart weeps.
today’s slice is courtesy of the majestic James Carr a cat who had the misfortune of suffering from a condition known medically as Bi-Polar Dis-order. What that means, (like many mental conditions), is debatable but it is especially poignant for themusicologist as a much loved and cherished companion is also going through a period of transition that is in danger of being labelled. Recorded and released in 1966 on the Goldwax label.

musicology #399

Sound&Fury #3

(Ray Sharpe & The King Curtis Orchestra – Help Me Get The Feeling Pts 1&2)

Fuck…not sure how you cats are feeling but for themusicologist it sure is a hard road fe travel at the moment. not complaining, moaning or, (worst of all), looking for sympathy just an observation and comment on this part of the journey.

I’m always up for the challenge but the constant pressure is taking it’s toll. So with that in mind I’m going to lay down this wicked piece of 60’s Soul. Keeping in mind that although it’s the ‘Sound&Fury’ signifying nothing music speaks and themusicologist can’t help but listen. Quality double sider of urban musicology that I had no choice but to edit the two seperate parts together.

1966 ‘Atlantic’ release originally released on the Atco Label courtesy of Ray Sharpe featuring one of the top bands of the period none other than The, (King), Curtis Orchestra.

musicology #323

DownbeatTheRuler #3

(Alton & Hortense Ellis – Easy Squeeze)

Out all day yesterday working the tees so apologies for not dropping a next ‘Downbeat bomb’ through your speakers. Hopefully today’s slice of the Coxsone pie will make up for it.

A classic piece of Brentford Road Rock Steady that has trembled my marrow for many years. Could have thrown it down a few times on previous themes but for reason unbeknown to ‘mesang’ didn’t until today.

One of the most emotive, hard hitting, Rough & Tough cuts of the Rock Steady period in my humble opinion…lyrics, vocals, music all combining in soul searching harmony to communicate a message concerning  the quest for that most elusive of feelings, True Love.

Recorded and first released in 1966? for Dodd by the Godfather Of Rocksteady Alton Ellis alongside his younger Sister Hortense, both of whom are sadly no longer with us. What is however (and will be for as long as music like this is being loved and played), are their ‘works’ many of which sit comfortably at the very top of the musicology tree.

Hortense was Jamaica’s ‘first female vocalist’ cutting her teeth as early as 1959 on such legendary talent shows as Vere John’s Opportunity hour, (where many a ‘Jam Down’ legend begun their careers), but it wasn’t until a few years later in 1961 under the tutelage of Downbeat that she begun a recording career. For sure having Alton as a brother helped but anyone who has heard her sing would agree that merit was the foundation stone apoun which she built a career that stretched right up to her untimely death in 2000 AD. Recording for many of the greatest Jamaican producers such as Duke Reid, Bunny Lee, Harry Mudie and Gussie Clarke, (to name a few)

As regulars may be aware Alton has featured more than any other Jamaican artist on themusicologist over the preceeding two years so I won’t wax lyrical on the man and his music today other than to reiterate that it was he and the previous Artist, (Bob Andy), who first opened my ears and heart to Downbeat The Ruler’s output and for that I am eternally grateful..

So in Tribute to the memories of Alton, Hortense and Clement Seymour ‘Sir Coxsone / Downbeat The Ruler’ Dodd hold this…..

musicology #322

DownbeatTheRuler #2

(Bob Andy – I’m Going Home)

Sir Coxson was a music lover and man on the street but also a businessman and a successful one at that which, in my experience is often not appreciated by those who have been left behind to hustle and scratch for survival on the tough streets of places like Kingston, London, New York etc. The truth is that many would rather see you stumble and fall than lift yourself out of the mean streets especially when, as far as they are concerned, (and maybe rightly so), you have made it off the sweat of their brow. This seems to have been the case with Coxsone as the years rolled on but it’s not easy to keep such an enterprise going, (as many record label owners would attest to), when everyone wants a slice of the pie. Coxsone not only put Studio 1 together but also kept it going right up until his death.

Possibly inspired by Cats like Sam Cooke whose SAR label was, (along with Berry Gordy’s Tamla Motown), a pioneer in the record business, Dodd couldn’t afford to ‘take any prisoners’ so paid the Artist, Arranger, Producer and Musician per side, (or as employee), rather than cut them in on the Action. After all it was he who was taking all the risk so why share the rewards? Any business person would agree with his appraisal of the situation but the Artist wouldn’t. To further highlight the point the singer of today’s cut is quoted to say;

“Clement Dodd is a good mentor and he really provided the facilities for a group of youngsters who would never have had anywhere to go in those days, but he could have done more for them. I would say Jamaican music suffers from a Coxsone syndrome.”

I can see why. It was they who created the ‘product’ for Dodd to capitalise on so why should they not be ‘cut in’? Dodd may say that “if you want a piece of the pie you also have to take some of the risk” which hardly any of the Artists were in a position to do. Cats like Prince Buster, (a businessman and Artist), saw the light and parted company with Dodd as soon as possible to make a name, (and hopefully some ‘corn’), for himself but of the many hundreds in Jamaican music history VERY few have much to show, financially, for their achievements.

What they do have though is a place in musical history that will last long after they have been laid to rest and an army of fans that continue to spread their name. Personally I would rather be the Artist than the businessman.

Anyway enough chat and on with the Downbeat show….

This 1966 !! cut, (his first solo piece), is courtesy of former Paragons founding member and songwriter supreme Keith Anderson, (Bob Andy), apparently backed up by The Wailers but to my ears it sounds more like The Heptones? anyway whoever is harmonising it’s Bob Andy’s wailing lead that cuts through and is one of my personal favourites…featured on one of the greatest Studio 1 LP’s Bob Andy’s Songbook.

Bob Andy….Live on…

musicology #308

Live&Direct #5

(Lou Rawls – Goin’ To Chicago Blues)

Today’s cut features yet another of the great vocalists…Louis Allen Rawls. Life long friend of ‘Mr Soul’ Who was equally at home singing Gospel, Soul or Jazz whose impassioned response to Sam Cooke on the immortal 1962 cut ‘Bring It On Home To Me’ deserves special mention. A singer of the highest order about whom Frank Sinatra was quoted to have said “he has the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game”…

This cut, first performed, (and written), by Jimmy Rushing and the Count Basie band was recorded for Capitol in 1966 featuring musicians James Bond, Earl Palmer, Tommy Strode, Herb Ellis..produced by David Axelrod.

musicology #295

JamaicanVocalGroupAction #6

(Dion Cameron & The Three Tops – Get Ready)

Today’s 1966 cut is one from themusicologist’s Ska box courtesy of the almost unknown Dion Cameron & The Three Tops who are perhaps better known for the few slices released on Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label, This one is An ‘Olive Branch’? production released in the UK on the Rio label. Can’t tell you much more about it other than it was one of my earliest purchases back in the early 80’s.. Ranking Saxaphone break on this one.