musicology #0656

Tribute to Don Pedro #6

the Sensations – Right On Time

Out of the Rhythm & Blues and into the Rocksteady with this majestic cover of the Impressions cut. Rarely does a cover do justice to the original for me but this one is an exception to the rule..

Written by Master Curtis Mayfield and originally recorded by the Impressions for the 1966 Ridin’ High LP the Sensations recorded this version in 1967. Released in the UK on Graeme Goodall’s Doctor Bird label this is a BiG piece from the Sensations, a group originally formed by Jimmy Riley and Cornel Campbell that featured, (along the way), Buster Riley, Aaron ‘Bobby’ Davis, Johnny Osbourne and Jackie Parris, who the lead is on todays fine piece im not sure but i’m guessing its Jackie Parris rather than Jimmy who had moved onto one of Jamaica’s greatest vocal groups the Uniques by 1967 but it could even be Cornel Campbell?

one thing IS for SURE…the tune is a top ranking, nailed on marrow trembler and one that I’m sure Don Pedro will appreciate as the surf hits the shore on another day in paradise and he watches the sun sink over the pacific as the Don is world renowned for ALWAYS being ‘Right On Time’.

BIG up yourself Don Pedro….


musicology #527

Jamaica #7

(The Techniques – Love is not 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, not forgetting cats such as Bruce Ruffin, [who wrote this cut], 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 Duke’s Treasure Isle 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 #234

inmodwetrust #1

(Walter Jackson – That’s What Mama Say)

new theme on themusicologist and one that is very much a part of my musical education due to the fact that both my mum and dad were first generation mod/ernists, (1962-1966). the cuts laid down this week were all played in and around London during the above period.

first up is a piece from one of the premier ‘mod’ labels, operating out of ‘Chi’, OKeh. A label that was one of the first to focus on ‘immigrant’ music in the 1920’s recording many of the early Jazz pioneers such as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Sidney Bechet and Mamie Smith. After some time spent lost in the musical wilderness the company’s fortunes were reignited by employing Carl Davis in 1962 as head of A&R who had the vision to employ Curtis Mayfield as associate producer in 1963 as well as three of the best arrangers Johnny Pate, Riley Hampton and Gerald Sims who is quoted to have said

“the Chicago sound came from basically one source…Curtis Mayfield”

This one from 1963 is sung by one of themusicologist’s favourite singers, Walter Jackson. Produced by the aforementioned Carl Davis, arranged by Riley Hampton and songwriten by none other than Curtis Mayfield with, (possibly), the Impressions harmonising.

musicology #233

communication #11

(The Wailers – Dreamland)

This one is dedicated to the woman of my dreams who I have had the pleasure of spending half my life with. and even though we are in the process of seperation and our paths are taking different turns I will, (and do), love and cherish her for as long as I draw breath. Yesterday was her 40th Birthday and I wanted to lay this one down especially for her.

As far as I’m concerned this is the Wailers at their best. ‘Bunny’ delivers lead on this one with Peter and Bob harmonising in true Impressions style and is yet another piece of majesty from Coxsone Dodd’s Studio1 label. I grew up listening to and being inspired by Third World’s version of this song from their, (1977), ’96 Degrees In The Shade’ LP and much as I cherish that version this ‘marrow trembler’ brings me to my knees whenever I hear it.

musicology #166

malevocals2 #4

(Leroy Hutson – Paradise)

today’s cut is an 80’s Soul & Boogie classic from a man whose apprenticeship was served under one of the genres undisputed kings…Curtis Mayfield. Originally a member of vocal group ‘The Nu Tones’, he went onto feature (along with Donny Hathaway), as a member of the ‘Mayfield Singers’ after hooking up with him at Howard University.

multi talented as Singer, Songwriter, (he co-wrote Donny’s solo anthem ‘The Ghetto’), arranger and musician. he took over from Curtis as lead singer of ‘The Impressions’ in 1970

in 1973 having served his apprenticeship he went solo and released some extra fine work especially on his Hutson, and Hutson II albums. This one is a later work, (1982), taken from his only album for Elektra.

musicology #101

sixartist, sixtune, sixweekspecial #24

(Impressions – Never Too Much Love)

you know what…I’m angry. angry with the mountain of useless information that is burying wisdom. why? allow me to break it down…today I ran a search for Curtis Mayfield lyrics. first stop can you believe Curtis wasn’t even listed !!! let me say that again…..not even listed…

my conclusion..waste of time unless youre looking for the words to popular, (commercial), songs.

only way to do it then is for me to transcribe them myself…there are a few sites with some lyrics on them but I won’t waste your time linking them so in future I won’t be promoting any ‘lyrics’ sites on themusicologist

if anything it has strengthened my resolve to fly the flag for artists like Curtis and keep them in the public domain…back to the music with this uncomplicated plea for unity from 1963. if you think about it who else was writing and performing songs as deep as this at that time?

“after silence that which comes closest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
-aldous huxley-

.. listen them lyrics

too much love, too much love,
never in this world will there be too much love

never too much love, too much love,
never in this world will there be too much love

an old story told now passed from me to you
in simple little words to get my meaning through

young and old I feel will understand
take heed everybody to a wonderful plan
we all know how, get together right now
clap your hands, sing and shout

never too much love, too much love,
never in this world will there be too much love

never too much love, too much love,
never in this world will there be too much love

maybe you don’t know how to sing or express words the way you like to say
but everybody I know can clap their hands and make a new friend everyday

never too much love, too much love,
never in this world will there be too much love

never too much love, too much love,
never in this world will there be too much love

Curtis Mayfield, Rest In Peace secure in the knowledge that your legacy and inspiration lives on.