Nubag #1 (a year in the life)
My Mama Told Me – Justin Hinds and the Dominos
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.
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
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
Earl Sixteen – Freedom (theUrbanmusicologist mix)
Today’s MASSIVE cut is courtesy of The MAJESTIC Earl John Daley aka Earl 16..who started his recording career at Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle in vocal group The Flaming Phonics but had little impact until after going Solo in 1975. Teaming up first with Derrick Harriott and then Boris Gardner before linking with Lee Perry in the late 70’s when he waxed a few gems for the Upsetter at the Black Ark..
In a, (top ranking), interview from AUTHENTIC Reggae periodical Small Axe Earl has this to say about the session….
“We actually laid the track with Dalton Browne, that was actually the first time that Steelie came to the studio as well, we first brought him, Steelie, Albert Malawi, (he used to play in sound system, but he’s a drummer), and Dalton Browne, that’s the musicians that we used for that session, and we did four songs all at once. We did “Cheatin” (?) was played by Boris Gardener, and “Bird in the Hand”, those two were played by Boris Gardner, but “Give Black People Freedom” and “Do Good and Good Will Follow You” was played by Albert and them lot”.
BIG piece of Rebel Music, (mixed down by themusicologist)…….
The Silvertones – Bring It On Home
For the next couple of weeks themusicologist is focusing on Lee Perry, The Upsetter, Chicken Scratch, Little Lee. A man whose impact on Jamaica’s, (and the world’s), soundtrack is, (almost), as big as Coxsone Dodd’s.
No surprise that the Upsetter began his career beside Dodd and even less of a surprise that they parted due to, (as far as Lee Perry is concerned), Downbeat’s failure to reward his creative endeavours….a common Jamaican tale which I am not in a position to pass judgement on, (and nor would I no matter what I knew)
Anyway, the(urBan)musicologist ain’t about hearsay and rumour….STRICTLY music and Lee Perry and Coxsone Dodd helped shape Jamaican music into what we know and love.
Studio 1 carried the swing throughout the 1960’s and early 1970’s but Lee Perry emerged with the ‘Soul Rebel’ sound in the late 60’s and wrestled the (recording) Crown from Sir Coxsone between 1972-1977..Channel 1 was there as where a whole host of producers during the period but, (as with Coxsone Dodd), Lee Perry changed the game.
It was Lee Perry who insisted that Bob Marley reform the Wailers rather than go it alone after returning from abroad in 1968 and history went on to be made. It was Lee Perry whose ‘Black Ark’ RULED from late 1973 until 1978 recording a HEAP of classic, KILLER material with many of the great Jamaican musicologists and whenever we reflect on Jamaican musical history Lee Perry’s name is right up there with the Champions.
Today’s cut is courtesy of The Silvertones Gilmore Grant, Keith Coley and Delroy Denton who first recorded for Duke Reid in 1965? with the magnificent Ska tune ‘True Confession’, (buried somewhere on themusicologist !!) following up with some quality Rock Steady and early Reggae for various producers, (including Lee Perry).
Before I drown in a sea of monologue and information please allow me to cut this short..
According to David Katz’s excellent book ‘People Funny Boy’ the rhythms for this piece were recorded at the, (almost completed), Black Ark and the vocals at King Tubby’s Studio at the dawning of 1973? and the musicians consisted of Hux Brown, Ansel Collins, Ranchie McLean and Anthony ‘Benbow’ Creary…
Finally I just want to add that I rate this tune and the Silvertones HIGHLY…oh yeah….It’s a cover of Sam Cooke’s ‘Bring It On Home To Me’
theUpsetter triButetee available in various colours @
(U Roy/Hopeton Lewis – Tom Drunk)
How does it go?…. ..”I’ve started…so I’ll finish”.
Up until the early 70’s, (in Jamaica), there were really no more than a handful of producers and musical styles to contend with, as far as the musicology is concerned), but as the 60’s rolled into the seventies wide ranging changes both musically and socially changed the game. First there was the music made for export to satisfy the English popular market, (loosely termed ‘Skinhead’), headed by, (among others), producers such as Lee Perry, Bunny Lee, Leslie Kong, Joe Gibbs, Rupie Edwards and then there was the Indigenous market that was at first dominated by the Sound System operators. It was in this arena that innovation flourished. That’s not to say that some of the producers mentioned, (especially Lee Perry and Bunny Lee), were not active in both arenas and let’s face it everyone wanted to make money but in truth it didn’t take long for the artists to realise that no matter how ‘popular’ their music was ‘up a foreign’ they still found themselves in the same position financially…..skint..(or for those among us whose dialects don’t recognise such terminology)..poor.
It was into this cauldron that the DeeJay took centre stage in tandem with the version or ‘Dub’, (both hugely influential on all urban music that followed), and the figure that stood tallest at the birth was none other than Ewart Beckford aka Hugh Roy. NO history of Jamaican music would be complete without him. Not the first or even, (in my opinion), the most eloquent but certainly the most important. Today’s cut is from 1971..produced by Duke Reid..Vocal by Hopeton Lewis.