#themusicologist #0777 – You Make Me So Very Happy – Alton Ellis

aSongForConZu #77

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” – Bruce Lee


musicology #0693


Rude Boy Prayer – Desmond Tucker & Los Cabelleros

Cuts like these don’t grow on trees..

One listen alone could NEVER do it justice.

Los Cabelleros are none other than Alton Ellis, Zoot Simms and the Wailers..

BIG, HEAVYWEIGHT Rocksteady Selection from themusicologist vaults.

bloodsweatandtees Sir Coxsons Downbeat
bloodsweatandtees Sir Coxsons Downbeat

musicology #0647

Augustus Pablo – Too Late      

I remember the days when themusicologist’s only piece of online communication was here…bwooooooooooooyyyyyyyyy them days are LONG gone. Now it’s Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Tumblr, Twitter and Pintrest which are all branches of the #tUmp tree. Of course that’s the way of an Organic, Natural evolving project. The seed is planted and the tree begins it’s journey. Not that I’m complaining, for me, the authentic life is like that. Music was, is and will always be the air I breathe and I believe that theUrbanMusicologyProject is my lifes ‘work’ and I am happy to give it all I have….anyway enough about me and back to the music.

second up in the A.P Special theme is this cut the instrumental version of Alton Ellis’s (previously featured), KILLER: ‘Too Late To Turn Back Now’…

musicology #541

Jamaica #21

(Wailing Souls – Don’t Fight)

So as the 70’s begun Jamaican music yet again changed gear this time from the light soulful, and more accessible sounds of the 60’s into the roots and culture. Why? of course there are many reasons but the ones that stand out for me are 1: The artists were beginning to grow weary of being exploited by the producers 2: the social fabric of the island was rapidly disintegrating and 3: Rastafarianism was becoming ever more popular in the ghettos especially with the artists and musicians. Of course the Big producers couldn’t really get involved as they were, in essence, Capitalist.

Not surprisingly this change of gear didnt go down well with the record buying public ‘up a foreign’ who weren’t really interested in Ghetto music that talked about sufferation, poverty, exploitation, (no change there then) No they would rather hear about how much the sun shined, unrequieted love and how Jamaica was a paradise…a holiday destination that they could one day envisge visiting. Truth is that most people don’t listen to music to hear about harsh reality, (unless it’s glamourised of course), rather use music to escape reality. So Jamaican music turned inwards, (due mainly to internal demand), and the Roots & Culture came to dominate the dancehall.

I’m sticking with the roots, (as unpopular as it is), because for me it’s the essence of Jamaican, (and all come to that), music. Today’s cut is another one from the hallowed halls of Sir Coxsone Dodd’s Studio 1 sung by the MAJESTIC Wailing Souls. (essentially Winston ‘Pipe’ Matthews and Lloyd ‘Bread’ McDonald), Both born and raised in Trenchtown a Kingston district synonymous with Reggae producing greats such as Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, Joe Higgs and the Wailers, (to name but a few), Joined in this period by the notorious Errol ‘Batman’ Wilson, (brother of Delroy), who was immortalised in the Slickers cut ‘Johnny Too Bad’. But it was as a quartet in 1969/1971 that they truly made their mark first at Studio 1 with a selection of cuts from where this one is taken and then following on at the Wailers label Tuff Gong.


musicology #527

Jamaica #7

(The Techniques – Love Is A Gamble)

So what could have happened in 1966 to change the beat from the frenetic Ska to the laid back sound of the Rocksteady? Rumour and word has it that it was a combination of things that conspired..First of all popular information/knowledge has it that a heatwave swept the island forcing the dancers and musicians to slow the tempo..secondly as is often, (if not always), the case the time had come for the islands musicologists to evolve and in my experience slow follows quick. Thirdly, (and I’m guessing here), the Ganja may have influenced proceedings…

By 1966 many of the protaganists of the Ska were ‘Beardmen’ and were likely to have been ‘licking chalice’ Up Warika Hills with the legendary Count Ossie. I’m not suggesting that the Ganja was the chief reason for the shift..only one of many.

As for outside influences we only have to consider how Soul and the Vocal Group sound became dominant in America around this time and how much influence the likes of the Impressions subsequently had in Jamaica.

Finally and perhaps of most significance was the Skatalites splitting into two groups after the incarceration of Don Drummond in 1965…The Soul Brothers led by Roland Alphonso, (at Studio 1), and the Supersonics led by Tommy McCook, (resident at Treasure Isle). Notably Lynn Taitt is widely recognised as ‘Inventing’ the Rocksteady with the Hopeton Lewis cut ‘Take It Easy’ but other early pieces included Alton Ellis’s ‘Girl I’ve Got A Date’ and Derrick Morgan’s ‘Rougher Than Rough’, (all of which featured Lynn Taitt’s guitar).  Whatever the reasons for the emergence of Rocksteady it was at this junction that ‘Reggae’ began to take shape with the Bass rising to prominence and it must be said, (at least from my perspective), that Duke Reid wore the Rocksteady Crown.

So with that in mind the first cut has to go to the Duke and the Majestic Vocal Group known as the Techniques whose fluctuating line up included some of the great Jamaican vocalists; Slim Smith, Pat Kelly and Winston Riley as well as Junior Menz and original members Frederick Waite and Franklyn White. Clearly influenced by The Impressions this one epitomises Jamaican Vocal Group Harmony. 1967? recording on the Treasure Isle label.

musicology #324

DownbeatTheRuler #4

(Ken Boothe – You’re No Good)

Today’s cut is from one of THE greatest Jamaican vocalists never known, (outside of the Reggae community) of music’s many mysteries to me is how Ken Boothe has never had the global recognition that his talent deserves. Time after time, year after year from the earliest days right up until the present this Cat has delivered. In truth his Studio 1 output alone could have easily filled this theme to overflowing. His ‘cup certainly runneth over’ as they say and todays slice should illustrate why.

I love Alton Ellis as well you know but I would have to say that in my humble opinion Ken Boothe is ‘Mr Soul Of Jamaica’.

Born and raised in Kingston Mr Boothe was a foundation stone in the Coxsone empire as important to the Label’s success as the Miracles were to Tamla Motown who stuck by Downbeat until parting company in the early Seventies. Without further delay hold this, The original Ska version of his later ‘hit’. Look out for A Ken Boothe special on themusicologist sometime in the future.

musicology #95

sixartist, sixtune, sixweekspecial #18

(Alton Ellis & Eddie Perkins – My Heaven)

last of the Alton selection..and it’s this one from the earliest days of Jamaican musicology…recorded for none other than Clement Seymour Dodd. The second of his two cuts with Eddie Perkins as the duo Alton & Eddie from 1959, (cut three weeks after his first recording ‘Muriel’)

Alton..thank you for the music.

p.s next week it’s the turn of themusicologists first musical icon..Curtis Mayfield.