musicology #0756

Nubag #24 (a year in the life)

Black Up – Karl Bryan & Count Ossie

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars”. Khalil Gibran

Watch over me….x


musicology #537

Jamaica #17

(Dennis Walks – The Drifter)

Today’s cut is a piece from my earliest ‘Revival’ Reggae memories, (early 80’s), introduced to me by my uncle whose commitment to top ranking music was and still remains one of the most important contributions to my existence ever made. Produced by Spanish Town’s..Harry Mudie. Early Sound System owner, (mid 50’s), whose first production in ’62, (Babylon Gone), was one of the first to feature Count Ossie. The late 60’s saw a return to production for Mr Mudie who then went on to introduce Spanish Town Sound System legend I Roy to the record buying public as well as producing some of the most established Jamaican artists of the 70’s. This one is voiced by Dennis Vassell aka Dennis Walks and was originally released in…yep you’ve guesssed it…1969 !!

musicology #381

Modernist #9

(Folks Brothers – Oh Carolina)

Today I’m rolling with another quote from early Mod/ernist Patrick Uden..who as far as I’m concerned has much of value to say on the subject.

“You have no idea how dreary it was. It was really dreary. And then what happened was that the first group of 15 year olds born after the war emerged into a world where they had some money to spend. And at the same time the British economy was being turned around, (other countries had been more fortunate following the war), It was going from what’s called a ‘command economy’ to a ‘demand economy’. This meant that things started to appear that people could buy and there were certainly imports starting to come in. Some of them were ‘grey imports like Levi’s coming through the PX stores in American bases and moving into the black market via, you know, the East End markets and that sort of thing. So very slowly, and then quite rapidly, this purchasing power began to affect what was available. And this blossomed into a kind of early spring, if you like. I’m talking now around 1961/2, and that’s when it started, although you can trace the movement, in terms of things like music and so on, back into the 50’swith the interest in Modern Jazz and those sorts of things. But popular Modernism began to emerge around 1961 and I think that’s the real source of it.”

Reflecting on this and other snippets of knowledge from those who were there at the time crystalises in my mind that the most important and enduring aspect of the nameless thing moved out of the shadows in late 1961 and flowered for almost three years before being rinsed by the establishment for many years to come. All the ‘movements’ that I have had the pleasure to be involved in, (Casual/Rare Groove and ‘House’), lasted for the same duration so I conclude that it’s the nature of such things that the vanguard move on to pastures new once the herd pitches in. Maybe that sounds, and is, elitist but I make no excuse for it. The Elite govern and in some cases dictate all aspects of society and in such matters as trends this is no different. I’m not a supporter of Elitism but in my mind there’s no denying that it doesn’t have the power to exert strong influence on the shifting sands change.

Today’s cut, (courtesy of my uncle), is one that was on the vanguard of the change from what’s known as ‘Shuffle’ to ‘Ska’ a piece produced by ‘The Voice Of The People’…Cecil Bustamante Campbell a.k.a Prince Buster who is as responsible as anyone for Jamaican music shaking off it’s colonial/imperial heritage to stand on it’s own as an authentic language for ‘sufferers’ everywhere. Recorded, (according to Steve Barrow who has it on good authority from Owen Gray..thanks Steve), probably late 1961 but released on BlueBeat in the UK in 1962 if memory serves me right. Not only the year of Jamaican Independence but also the year that Mod arrived. Unique in that it was the first recording to feature Rasta ambassador Count Ossie. DEFINATELY played on the scene back in the day on release making it one of the first Jamaican crossover records to have a universal appeal.

musicology #111

sixartist, sixtune, sixweekspecial #34

(Karl Bryan & The Afrokats – Money Generator)

no post yesterday…got caught up in too much ‘he say she say’ which took the wind out of themusicologists sails so couldn’t find the enthusiasm and motivation to invest the time, emotion and energy required for posting so thought it best to let yesterday go.

it’s a hard life and no mistake when you have to fight every inch of the way…it’s relentless and you can’t let your guard down for a minute and when you do there’s always someone ready with a metaphorical, (or if you’re really unlucky a physical), snaking jab, right hook, ‘glasgow kiss’ or a good old kick in the bollocks to remind you of the ‘struggle’.

anyway enough of that…just wanted to let youse know where themusicologist is ‘at’ and why I left you ‘swinging’ yesterday. Todays cut finds Jackie Mittoo keeping not only keeping time with his organ playing but also supervising, arranging and maybe even writing the music for this session.

for themusicologist this period of Studio1 musicology is beyond compare…the Golden Age where everyone involved at Brentford Road was at the top of their ‘game’.

One of the reasons Studio1 became such a mecca for the islands musicologists is that Coxsone would let the cats smoke the collie at the Studio, (something that no other recording studio allowed at the time), helping create the vibes that allowed such innovative and emotional music to flow.

We all know that many a musician has leaned on the ‘green crutch’ throughout history and Jamaica is no exception…no doubt it enhances creativity, supresses hunger and ‘packs up your troubles in the old kit bag’ while under the influence and Coxsone who didn’t encourage it, but was smart enough to know it’s positive qualities, turned a blind eye.

love this haunting, melancholic, emotion charged slice of musicology and for me the title nails it it two words.