Finishing up Round one of the Jamaican Musical History selection with this piece courtesy of the Chinese/Jamaican producer Justin Yapp who for 3 years, (1962-65) produced and delivered Ska that is as good as anything ever waxed. Yet another piece led and written by the legendary Don Drummond. Of course it’s the Skatalites, (who else !!), providing the impeccable back up. Recorded and released on Yapp’s Top Deck Label in 1964.
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
Stepping up the pace with this majestic piece of Jamaican musicology, (a tribute to Marcus Garvey), from the vaults. Recorded at Coxsone’s Brentford Road powerhouse, Studio 1 for Justin Yap and released on his top ranking Top Deck label.
Final cut of the Coxsone Tribute. Have to finish up with this 1965 piece of rip roaring Ska sung by the Wailers. Featuring not only Jamaica’s premier band the Skatalites but also no less than Sir Coxsone Dodd himself on ‘Beer Bottle Percussion’ Duties !! Just like to add that many a deserved artist didn’t get a spot on the Downbeat Tribute most notably The Heptones, Jackie Mittoo, Dennis Brown, Sugar Minott, Ken Parker, Cornell Campbell, The Clarendonians..(too long a list to name them all). Some of them have already featured on themusicologist and I imagine that all will eventually..
In addition, the Second in the Tribute Tee series is to communicate my appreciation, (in more ways than one), for the man who made it all possible. Clement Seymour ‘Sir Coxsone/Downbeat The Ruler’ Dodd whose musical legacy is, for themusicologist, second to none. For more information click on the images below