musicology #522

Jamaica #2

(Jackie Opel – You’re Too Bad)

Various Cats have laid claim to ‘inventing’ the Ska but as far as I can hear it seems to have been more of an evolution. In an attempt to provide a little insight for those who are not clued up on the historicity of Jamaican musicology before Ska there was what’s known as ‘Shuffle’ which to be brutal was more of a home grown version of American Jump/Rhythm & Blues so popular in the dance. Early Operators such as Tom The Great Sebastian and Count Nick were followed by hungrier Cats such as Duke Reid, Coxsone Dodd and Prince Buster who needed a constant source of new material to ‘mash up the dance’ and ‘Kill’ opposing Sound Systems. The competition was ferocious and it was this more than anything that fed the emerging scene for home grown talent. Combine such a need for a constant supply of fresh cuts, (Concurrent with the decline of Rhythm and Blues and looming Independence from colonial rule), with Jamaica’s strong sense of ‘national’ pride and identity and the stage was set for ‘Ska’

Coxsone led the way by setting up the legendary Studio 1 recording studio in 1963 and the icing on the cake was a collective of the hottest musicologists on the island coming together in 1964 as the Skatalites. As previously mentioned on themusicologist Jackie Mittoo was Coxsone’s musical director and as such is as responsible as anyone for defining Ska.

Today’s cut is a prime slice of the Skatalites pie from 1964? featuring the majestic Jackie Opel on vocals and the combined talents of any number of Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb, Lester Sterling, Don Drummond, Jah Jerry, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore and Percival Dillon…in a word..BOSS


musicology #321

DownbeatTheRuler #1

(Jackie Opel – Eternal Love)

This week’s theme is a tribute to Sir Coxsone Dodd’s Jamaican musical powerhouse..Studio 1. Clement Seymour Dodd was a genuine music lover who set up his sound system ‘Downbeat The Ruler to play Rhythm & Blues after returning from a trip to America in 1954. It wasn’t until 1963 however that he setup the first Recording studio to be owned by a ‘Man on the street’ the legendary Studio 1.

Almost every Jamaican singer or musician of note has at one time passed through the Brentford Road studio and although many were unhappy with the financial arrangements I hope that none would argue that the man was a Giant in the progress of Jamaican musicology.

So without further delay hold this 1963 cut from the majestic and already featured on themusicologist, Jackie Opel with a piece from the earliest days of Studio 1 featuring The cream of Jamaica’s musicians The Skatalites.