So much to say but, words, for me, don’t do thoughts/feelings justice. That said, I will do my best with the vocabulary I ‘have’ in an effort to communicate my thoughts/feelings on the what, why, how, when of the nubag (new bag) that I feel like working out of for the new year.
Interestingly and without my knowledge (but not without my understanding), the time has come and the nu beat is being played and the dance begins TODAY.
Not ONLY is it the dawn of spring it is also the dawn of the final phase (for me) and rebirth is coming as we ‘sail into the mystic’…
My aim is to post a tune every day between Feb 8th (new years day) and Jan 27th (year end), a marathon for sure but I will give it my best ‘shot’. The music will be diverse.
First up a top ranking piece of, (late), Ska from a king of Jamaican music, Justin Hinds (and the Dominos), one of the pioneers of the vocal group style at his/their very best. Recorded for the mighty Duke, the Trojan, Reid and released on his Treasure Isle Label. Echoes of and certainly inspired by Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler’s early Soul killer .. I’m a Telling You. One more example of Curtis Mayfield’s contribution to the development of Jamaican music.
Don Pedro is a lover of the fine things in life…a purveyor of quality and style. Be it women, vehicles, garments, food, ‘kettles’, ‘Tom’ and anything else that catches his attention. Anyone who knows the Don will clarify that the Cats antenna is finely tuned. That’s not to say that he can’t or doesn’t know how to get down with all manner of people as the Don posseses that rare quality of being comfortable in his own skin and therefore non judgemental of others regardless of how they ‘hang’. A proper ‘man of the world’ the DON has seen and lived more on his travels through life than most. I wax lyrical about the man because those of us who have shared some of them travels can say that they have lived too. The Don asks for for little but gives plenty.
Anyway before i digress and get lost, (im on a TIGHT schedule on this fine sunny morning in London Town), …hold this rip roaring piece of Jamaican Ska from led by one its greatest protagonists the mighty Oswald ‘Baba’ Brooks featuring the cream of Jamaica’s musical fraternity. Recorded for Duke Reid and released on his Treasure Isle label in, (what sounds to me like 1965) ..
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.
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.
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.
Seeing this theme through until the end of the week and then I’ll be rolling out something fresh on Monday. Just like to thank all you Cats for the visits and comments on the Wailers cut, (and tee), most apprecited. Following a marrow trembler like that is nigh on impossible..one of them cuts that has left me ‘chewing canvas’ to use an old boxing colloquilism…you know the score, hanging on to the opponent for dear life hoping that the bell tolls for the end of the round..so without further delay hold this cut from one of Jamaica’s finest vocal groups The Uniques featuring one of the greatest vocalists to ever grace the M.I.C…Keith ‘Slim’ Smith, alongside Jimmy Riley and Lloyd ‘Charmers’ Tyrel with a first outing on themusicologist. A 1967 Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee production that sounds like it was recorded at the Dukes ‘Treasure Isle’ studio…the home of Rocksteady.
Today’s 1966 cut is one from themusicologist’s Ska box courtesy of the almost unknown Dion Cameron & The Three Tops who are perhaps better known for the few slices released on Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label, This one is An ‘Olive Branch’? production released in the UK on the Rio label. Can’t tell you much more about it other than it was one of my earliest purchases back in the early 80’s.. Ranking Saxaphone break on this one.