musicology #525

Jamaica #5

(Edwards All Stars – North Coast)

Was unable to spare the time to throw down yesterday..played out last night at a very dear and cherished friend’s birthday bash and spent most of the day preparing the set. Anyway explanations aside and moving on from Don Drummond at the Duke’s Treasure Isle to a cut delivered by one of the other major Ska producers and sound systems of the time; King Edwards, (The Giant). Don’t know hardly anything about the Cat other than he had a major Sound that for a while competed with the players; Sir Tom The Great Sebastian, Duke Reid, (The Trojan), Sir Coxsone Downbeat, Lord Koos, and V-Rocket on top of producing some BOSS Ska.

His main DJ, (not selector), was none other than Sir Lord Comic who went on to record what is considered to be the first ‘DJ’ cut, (Ska-ing West), in 1966 at the dawn of a new era, (Rock Steady), but more about that next week. This week it’s all about the Ska and this piece is a rare, (and I mean rare), treat. 1965 release on the, (English), Rio label. Credited to the Edwards All Stars but better known as the Skatalites.

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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