This week’s program began with two sets of fantastic ska which started with a cut from the virtually unknown artist named “Pulus” with a track entitled “Sow To Reap” for Merritone in 1966. Thanks again to the good folks at Dub Store in Japan for finding and pressing these lost tapes from the Merritone vaults. I hope that there is only more lurking somewhere to be released soon. After a brisk mento set, we launched into the sounds of vocal group extraordinaire, The Cables.
The Cables are Vincent Stoddard, Elbert Stewart and Keble Drummond. Named after a modified spelling of Keble’s own name into The Cables, which he felt was a right name because cables could send a message to the world. Born in St. Elizabeth, The Cables’ frontman Keble Drummond moved to Kingston as a child and grew up in the dire neighborhoods that would produce some of Jamaica’s greatest talent. Spending most of his adolescent years in Ghost Town, Drummond interacted with some of Jamaica’s greatest talents including Rita Marley, who lived in Ghost Town as well. Drummond attended Chetola Park School and then Kingston Senior School, a school that produced the great talents of Earl Morgan from the Heptones and Marcia Griffiths, so music was not a surprising path for him. Growing up in neighborhoods where musicians were often performing, Keble began to interact and sing with local groups. Eventually, Kebel met Peter Austin of the Clarendonians who taught him his first guitar chords. Keble then saw a flyer for Herb Moral Song Studio Training, and he attended a song writing course. In this course, he wrote his first song, “You Lied,” which would be the first track he would record with The Cables for Linden Pottinger’s SEP label, the track that begun our hour long spotlight on this phenomenal vocal group. It’s a bit of a coincidence that the last of the Cables is called “You Betrayed Me.” The Cables would stop working with the Pottingers because they did not receive payment for their recordings, which had gone directly to Bobby Aitken and his band, who was the backing band for many of the tracks on the SEP label. After leaving the Pottingers, The Cables traveled over to Coxone Dodd to record for his labels. At Studio One, The Cables had to audition for Jackie Mittoo, who at first pushed off the group, but after a bit of a yelling scuffle, finally gave the group a chance to record. We then played The Cables’ Studio One output next.
One of their most popular tracks, “Baby Why” was written about a failed relationship with one of his Keble’s girlfriends who moved from the country to the city to try to start a new life with him. As with many Jamaican artists, The Cables did not have great financial success or luck with Coxsone. Consequently, when an up-and-coming Harry Johnson (Harry J) met The Cables as he was transitioning out of insurance sales and into the recording industry, the group took the opportunity to go over to the Harry J and show him how to record while they were still on contract with Coxone. With Harry J, Keble developed a friendship with him, and their closeness is definitely reflected in the music because the Harry J cuts are some of the strongest Cables’ recordings. When Harry J did not have his own recording studio, his recording sessions happened at Dynamic, so it is natural that The Cables would also record for the Dynamic label, except with Syd Bucknor at the Producer helm. In following the trend of befriending his producers, Keble and the Cables were also close to Hugh Madden, who Keble still visits in Jamaica .
Thankfully, the Cables perform to this day.
Listen to the full program with The Cables smooth vocals sounds: HERE.
Enjoy! The archive will be available until 2/3/2015