Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 11/25/14: Bunny and Skitter

Bunny and Skitter Chubby Single

Count Ossie Adds Some Furious Drumming To This Bunny and Skitter Classic

As this week’s show aired twenty four hours before Thanksgiving 2014, we just had to start with the only Jamaican track to honor our day of overeating, football, and some thanks, Prince Buster’s sublime mid-tempo ska, Thanksgiving.  A fun cut that was released in Jamaica on the “What a Hard Man Fe Dead” LP in 1967.    We then surrounded that cut with two sets of tantalizing rocksteady, culminating with a Merritone label track from Hopeton Lewis entitled “At The Corner of The Street,” which up until recently was a long forgotten song on tape until the kind folks at Dub Store Records in Japan released it.

Our last set of the first hour featured some splendid ska instrumentals which included “One More Time” from Lloyd Brevett and his Group, released on Lyndon Pottinger’s SEP Label in 1964 and ending with a sensational instrumental from Roland Alphonso recorded for Justin Yap called, “Live Desire.”

For our spotlight this week, we chose the early Jamaican rhythm and blues duo, Bunny and Skitter, who despite recording some fantastic hits during the pre-ska era, also remain quite the enigma as there’s still a little bit of mystery surrounding the identities of Bunny and Skitter.  There is some solid agreement on the identity of Skitter, who was Vernon Allen. There are reports that Bunny was Zoot Simms and other reports that identify him as George Dudley. Though, the exact identity of Bunny is not clear, we do know quite a bit about their discography. Bunny and Skitter recorded their earliest tracks for Coxone’s Worldisc label and after working with Coxone, the duo would work with Prince Buster and Vincent Randy Chin.  It must be said that although they would only do one session with Buster, it would produce a high point for their career in the song called “Chubby.”

When “Chubby” was recorded in 1961, the Rastafarian was still viewed as a cult by proper Jamaican society.  This fact seemed to elude Buster who had always operated with a downtown ethic.  For this recording, Buster brought in the Nyahbingi drumming of Count Ossie and a team of four burro drummers as he had with the Folks Brothers R&B hit, “Oh Carolina” but here Buster removed the R&B elements to produce the first pure example of Nyahbingi drumming ever recorded in Jamaica which also proved a hit for Bunny and Skitter.  Shortly after the success of “Oh Carolina” and “Chubby”, several other Jamaican producers such as Coxsone Dodd and Vincent Chin would turn to Count Ossie for a hit.  With Bunny and Skitter’s voices and the Count Ossie drumming, a musical revolution had begun.

We were delighted to present the spotlight on Bunny and Skitter. Listen to this past week’s show HERE.

The archive will be available until 12/8/2014. Enjoy!

 

 

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