musicology #641

tUmp #4

the Wailers – Rolling Stone

one of themusicologists favourite early Wailers cuts…a TOP ranking interpretation of Bob Dylan’s ‘Rolling Stone’ from the time when Ska was slowing down and making the transition into the Rocksteady (1965/66)….I’m getting bored of saying “yet another example of the Downbeat sound” but it is…

musicology #640

tUmp #3

Ken Boothe & the Wailers – The Train Is Coming

more Rocksteady from the Downbeat stable but this time featuring themusicologist’s #1 Jamaican vocalist Ken Boothe on lead and the Wailers on back up…DEFINITELY touched by the hand of Lee Perry and Jackie Mitoo….

musicology #639

tUmp #2

the Wailers – Let Him Go

Sticking with the Early Wailers selection with this piece of Rockin’ Steady social commentary on the Emerging Rude Boy who was beginning to make his presence felt in and around Kingston’s more notorious districts and parishes as the reality of Independence unfolded and the ‘hustle’ became the primary way of earning a living and even more importantly a reputation for the ghetto sufferers.

Yet another example of why Sir Coxsone Downbeat’s Studio 1 was establishing itself as the prime Studio for recording and releasing the authentic sound of independent Jamaica.

musicology #638

tUmp #1

the Wailers – Where is my mother

been busy…(still am), as I continue crossing the border into the ‘brave new world’ where the ‘immaterial’ is overtaking the ‘material’ and hegemony reigns…

but for me themusicologist has always been the space where I come to let off, connect and communicate with music that speaks so today sees the beginning of a new theme….tUmp (theUrbanMusicologyProject), of which there are, (already), material and immaterial parts.

The first step I took over the brave new threshold was here with themusicologist almost 5 years ago but the actual journey was already well under way. I’m a traveller, (it’s my nature), and I’m always ‘on the road’ with music as my only consistent companion along the way. theUrbanMusicologyProject is who, what and why I am and the next few weeks is the latest movement in the(Urban)musicologist’s symphony.

First up is a cut from the Wailers whose Urbanmusicology I was originally introduced to by my family in the early 1970’s, (‘Catch a Fire’ with the zippo style album cover), and it was there that my Jamaican music lesson began and the ‘SouL RebeL’ sound has remained a BIG part of my narrative ever since.

Today’s unreleased? accoustic cut is from the mid 60’s features the mighty trio at the place where their combined journey began, Sir Coxsone’s mighty Brentford Road musical power-house…Studio 1.

musicology #589

Flow #8

Doreen Schaffer & the Brentford Disco Set – This Love

I feel like I have shortchanged all you musicologists out there and not delivered enough Soul food recently so today I’m going to lay a three course meal on you in an effort to fill your musical plates with enough cuts to keep them ‘belly full’. I have been locked into preparing sets over the last few days and as a result have unearthed some gems from deep within the vaults.

For starters we have a musicologist favourite from what, (for me), was one of Sir Coxsone’s most harmonious periods, a little window sometime in the mid 1970’s where the Studio 1 team recorded and released some of the finest music ever recorded. The vocalist is none other than Doreen Schaffer who begun singing for Downbeat at the birth of his studio in the early 60’s. Best known for her duets with Jackie Opel this one never fails to tremble my marrow. The perfect balance between Soul, Reggae and available studio technology. Had to mix in the dub..haunting. I hope you’ll find it to your taste..

Scratchy on the intro but to be honest all the best tunes are because they have been well and truly RINSED..

musicology #0581

mOareEssentials #4

(Cedric Im Brooks – Mun Dun Gu)

Been a long time coming but I feel the fog is clearing. Troubled mind can be a living hell. In my world change happens, isn’t forced so I find myself riding the downs same way as the ups…for all their worth. Too often over the past few years I’ve been hanging on by my shredded and torn fingertips, knuckles white as winter snow. Bwoyyyyyy it’s been a long dance but the music’s changed and it’s time to step to a new beat.

Hold this next entry courtesy of the MAJESTIC Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks. Studio 1 in all it’s glory..Second time round on themusicologist having featured it when I laid it down on the BBC back in the day. Slipped it into my set at the weekend..to me it communicates a message of a new day dawning..

musicology #574

Essential Cuts #4

(Nina Soul – Sleeping Trees)

Sticking with the Sir Coxsone selection with an ESSENTIAL cut by Nina Soul.

musicology #573

Essential Cuts #3

(Jerry Jones – Still Waters)

Didn’t manage to lay a cut yesterday..BIG night Friday and as a result I floated through yesterday in a bit of a bubble. That’s one of the things about BIG nights out..sleep deprivation..Worth it though. Music was excellent, company too. Met some good people, (all genuine music lovers), which is always a real pleasure. In fact it was a proper gathering of musicologists. The Filthy Six were excellent and by a strange serendipitous, (having already laid it down on themusicologist a few hours earlier) quirk had included Sookie, Sookie in their set. If any of you cats and/or kittens get the opprtunity to catch them live…take it. If not then second best is to buy their self titled set available on Acid Jazz.

Part of what I, (Sir Errol too judging from his recent comment), enjoy about music is the voyage of ‘discovery’ and on the night Corinna Greyson and Noel McKoy were both welcome additions to my list of noteworthy vocalists. I can’t lay an example of Corrina’s vocals on you as I don’t have any to pass on but I bought 2 copies of Noel’s latest CD, (Brighter Day), on the night so hopefully, (if/when I confirm with him that it’s ok), I’ll lay down an example on themusicologist.

So on with the Essentials…(all cuts that, for me, ‘stand’ at the top of the musical mountain). Today’s cut is another from the number one Jamaican sound ‘Sir’ Coxsone ‘Downbeat The Ruler’s Studio 1. Absoulte marrow trembler released 1970 in the UK on the Bamboo label….Jerry Jones’s version of the Four Tops scorcher.

Listen Tune.

musicology #553

Times #5

(Sound Dimension – Soulful Strut)

Wicked piece of instrumentalism, (Cover of the Young Holt Unlimited Soul Classic),  from the Studio 1 house band of the period, (late 60’s – Early 70’s), known collectively as the ‘Sound Dimension’. (Cover of the Young Holt Unlimited Soul Classic)

musicology #548

Jamaica #28

(Ken Boothe – Be Yourself)

Top Ranking piece of Jamaican musicology sung by one of it’s greatest artists recorded for and released by it’s champion studio, (Studio 1), and backed by the cream of the island’s instrumentalists.

Doesn’t get better than this as once again I find myself sitting in the park on a scorching day..soaking up the rays…and listening to the sweet sounds of Jamaica. Not sure of the year but do I give a F**K?…no. Peace and love to the haters and doubters that would take pleasure from seeing me stumble and fall..don’t hold your breath ; )

LISTEN TUNE

musicology #545

Jamaica #25

(Burning Spear – Weeping & Wailing)

Sliding into this early 70’s cut from the legendary Winston Rodney aka Burning Spear..already featured on themusicologist a few times so I won’t try to ‘stand in the same river twice’ and repeat the same information..Suffice to say that the Spear kicks arse…always has done and always will. Today’s cut is from his early days at Coxsone’s Studio 1.

Looking Forward to shaking me boots tonight down at the Jazz Cafe…strictly Soul, Funk & Boogie..so don’t hold your breath waiting for a slice of the Jamaica pie tomorrow !!

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.

LISTEN TUNE

musicology #535

Jamaica #15

(Sound Dimension – Baby Face)

As far as the music of Jamaica is concerned for themusicologist there is only one studio that stands above all others..Coxsone Dodd’s legendary Studio 1. Almost every singer, instrumentalist, songwriter, arranger has at one time passed through the Brentford Road gates. Far too many to list or even mention so I won’t even try, suffice to say that if you pick a name he will have a connection. Coxsone was a visionary…and as such allowed others far more suited to the creative process to express themselves. He opened the doors for Jamaican music to carve itself a unique sound that finally arrived during the period now in question…(late 60’s early 70’s), known globally as Reggae. To wax a tune at Studio 1 meant that, as an artist, you had made it to the top. Not financially but artistically. No matter how much the sound was crafted by others, (and it most certainly was), it was Coxsone who drove it.  His greatest skill was in his ability to see the wider picture and create a platform to realise it. Ideas are the lifeblood of innovation but on their own they are no more than talk….when you check it no one person did more than Coxsone to establish Jamaican music as a global force and the music stands as witness to such a claim.

So with that in mind hold this wicked instrumental cut from the previously mentioned Studio 1 house band..Sound Dimension. One listen, (for those who don’t know it), should be enough to realise why Studio 1 is the Don Sound. 1969 Release, (in the UK), on the English Bamboo label. BIG Tune.

musicology #532

Jamaica #12

(Barrington Spence – Contemplating Mind)

Final cut of the Rocksteady and then it’s on to the ‘Moonstomp’ Reggae. But before that it’s time to roll one out from Sir Coxsone ‘Downbeat’ Dodd’s Studio 1. A cut featuring the vocal talents of Barrington Spence who began singing in the early sixties but stepped out of Kingston for a few years and didnt return until around 1966 whereupon he hooked up with Naggo Morris and Sylvan Clarke, (as the Soul Boys), and cut a few tunes at Studio 1 and Treasure Isle?

Just like to finish by adding that even though Coxsone got left behind a small piece during the Rocksteady, in part due to the emergence of producers such as those featured over the last week as well as his less than fair business practices concerning artists and musicians, he was still ‘swinging’ and turning out top quality music, (as today’s cut bears witness to), but it would be in the next phase of Jamaican musical development that he began to take back the crown and deliver the ‘golden age’ of Studio 1.

LISTEN TUNE…

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 #521

Jamaica #1

(Delroy Wilson – Joe Liges)

Right…been waiting, (impatiently), for inspiration regarding the next theme and I’m pleased to announce that it has arrived. Random cuts are all well and good but they have no direction which is something the butterfly mind is prone to suffer from in all honesty. I say suffer because direction is, at least for me, essential when travelling down satisfaction’s long and winding road.

So what is the theme I hear you ask? Obviously the title should  give you a clue…Jamaica and it’s RICH musical heritage. In fact I would go so far as to say that contemporary music owes a HUGE debt disproportionate  to the Country’s size and population. How was it that such a small and as far as many people are concerned, (me most definately NOT being one of them), insignificent island produced such a treasure trove of musicology? I’m not planning on transcribing Jamaica’s history as I don’t know enough about it but at the risk of sounding like I’m blowing my own trumpet…I do know about the islands musical historicity. A genuine love affair that stretches back to some of my earliest musical memories starting in the early 70’s and, (along with Soul), stretching up to today. Fact is I truly LOVE Jamaican music with a passion. So much it has given me that I would like to try and repay the debt in the only way I know how and that is by sharing it with youse Cats and Kittens.

For the officionados among you I doubt there will be anything you havent already heard but themusicologist is not in the business of unearthing cuts that nobody has heard rather I’m in the business of playing what I consider to be cuts from the top of the tree and lets face it those are sometimes the best known. That said you won’t be hearing the internationally known ‘popular’ tunes during this theme purely because they are not the ones that I know and love.

I have been listening to and collecting Reggae since the early 80’s from I was a teenager whereas before that it was only what I was introduced to by family members. Just like to give an extra nod to one of my Uncles whose debt I will always be in for introducing me to such profound musicology..

Before we begin I would just like to lay me cards on the table and confess my alliegance to what I consider to be the premier studio and sound system to hail from the land of wood and water none other than Sir Coxsone ‘Downbeat The Ruler’ Dodd’s CHAMPION sound..Studio 1. Above all others it’s the Coxsone sound that has hit me hardest but there have been far too many TOP RANKING artists and producers along the way to namecheck, rest assured I will do my best to represent as many as I can as the theme unfolds over the coming days and weeks.

The format will be linear starting not at the dawn, (the late 50’s), of the Island’s musicology but rather when Jamaican music found it’s own unique ‘voice’ after Independence in 1962. The sound was named ‘Ska’ a term many are already familiar with so I’m not going to get caught up in the why’s, who’s and wherefores of the terminology as I would rather let the music speak. Of course this is only one persons subjective evaluation of the music and I’m sure that others will have their own ‘favourites’ but that’s part of what makes ‘Reggae’ so special…’Every Man Does His Thing A Little Way Different’

Finally..before I begin the sessions proceedings I would just like to add that I may ‘double up’ on some of the cuts that I have already thrown over the preceding 3 years so forgive me if I do…

First up is a cut from 1963..featuring the 13 year old Delroy Wilson singing a piece written by Dodd employee and all round musicologist Lee Perry concerning former Coxsone Sound Man, Enforcer and ‘dance crasher’ Prince Buster who, (thank the stars for us music lovers), decided to step to his own beat…

45 released in England on the pioneering R&B Label.

musicology #507

CoversWeek2 #4

(Cornell Campbell – Ten To One)

Slipping back into the sweet sounds of Jamaica for today’s cut with a piece by one of the islands great artists the MAJESTIC and pioneering Cornell Campbell . A Cat who begun his recording career at the tender age of 11 in the mid 1950’s for Coxsone, moved on to record with King Edwards in the mid 60’s, harmonised within ‘The Sensations’ for Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle, returned triumphantly to Studio 1 with ‘The Eternals’ and then begun a long solo career that continues HALF A CENTURY later to this day.

Here heard cutting his teeth on a Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions soul classic. As far as I’m concerned an absolute marrow trembler from start to finish and yet another musical diamond mined from the Studio1 archives. One listen should leave us in no doubt as to the influence both Curtis Mayfield and Coxsone Dodd had on Jamaican musicology….LISTEN TUNE.

musicology #451

TheManWithTheBag #1

(The Wailers – Christmas Time)

The time has come to roll out this years Christmas selection..what a difference a year makes !! could never have imagined that my/our whole world would have turned on it’s head but in the words of Lord Creator…Such Is Life or even master Terry Callier, C’est La Vie..(yet to feature but soon come), if I thought 2008 was a hill and gully ride then F**k knows what to call 2009 !! still..we made it through and I’m feeling very positive about the prospects for 2010, (couldn’t get any worse?…hahahahahahahahaha…I gots to laugh), one thing about adversity…you either get through it and emerge stronger or it gets the best of you and f**ks you good and proper. For all the Cats on both sides of this fence…I feel for you..know that musically themusicologist has ‘got your back’ and if you want me to lay one down especially for you then check me and I’ll see what I can do.

First cut is a top ranking slice of the Christmas musicology pie from None other than the Wailin’ Wailers (Peter, Bob and Bunny), with a majestic piece of rip roaring Ska out of the bowels of Sir Coxsone Dodds legendary Studio 1. Originally released in December 1964 as a 45 in JA on Dodd’s Muzik City label as ‘Christmas Is Here’ backed, (of course), by The Skatalites

musicology #428

noExcuses #5

(Live Good – Burning Spear)

oi..3 days running !!
are the storm clouds lifting and is that the sun I can see trying to break through?
dont know for sure but what I am learning along the way is how authenticity can and does challenge existence. when someone wants to hurt and blame you for the muck in their life there’s a choice for you to make.
do you look to excuse, (blame), yesterdays behaviour and argue or do you genuinely take full responsibility for your actions, recognise your weakness and resolve to not make the same mistakes again? as the title of this theme suggests for themusicologist the choice I choose to make is, noExcuses.

Today’s cut is courtesy of the genius that is Winston Rodney a.k.a Burning Spear with a top ranking slice of the Studio 1 musicological ‘pie’…

LISTEN TUNE..

musicology #332

DownbeatTheRuler #12

(Delroy Wilson – I Want Justice)

Penultimate cut of the Downbeat Tribute selection. Just like to make clear that for themusicologist Sir Coxsone’s Studio 1 is the Number 1 sound which is obviously a reason for paying a two week tribute to the musical legacy he laid down. Of course without the musicians, singers, producers and engineers who contributed it wouldn’t be. So even though this is a tribute to Downbeat it’s just as much a tribute to all who participated in delivering some of greatest music ever made and I hope the last two weeks have been as enjoyable for you as it has been for me.

Tomorrow I will be releasing part two of ‘The Project’ that has occupied an ever growing part of my heart and mind for more than 20 years and as always would appreciate your feedback/critique/opinions on it.

Today though it’s time for a slice from Mr Delroy Wilson who begun his career with Coxsone at the tender age of 13. Born in 1948 Delroy first enjoyed ‘success’ with his musical attacks on Dodd’s one time employee Prince Buster, ( ‘Joe Liges’), which I was going to lay down, but it was during the Rocksteady period, (and after), that his star truly shone with cuts like I’m Not A King, Dancing Mood, Riding For A Fall,  Keep On Trying etc, (all of which almost made it onto the tribute), At the tail end of the Sixties Delroy and Sir Coxsone parted ways and he drifted between various producers such as Bunny Lee, Gussie Clarke, Niney The Observer and the Hookim Brothers Channel 1 but as with many of Jamaica’s foundation artists the 80’s weren’t kind to him and his star begun it’s descent into almost obscurity by his untimely death in 1995.

So if you’re listening Delroy…this one’s for you….a top ranking slice of the Ska pie from 1965 originally released as a 45 on the Studio 1 label featuring, (unless my ears are deceiving me), what sounds like The Wailers on backup.