Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners:
First, we wish Happy Birthday to our dear friend and Studio One artist Dudley Sibley. Over the years Dudley has been a source of vital information to our show and we really appreciate it. In honor of Dudley, we began this week’s show with our favorite track that he recorded, “Message Of Old.” We followed with two sets of rocksteady to begin the show before going into a mento set that featured another gem from Chin’s Calyposo Sextet “Woman’s Tenderness.” We ended that first hour with a set of rare ska beginning with The Monarch’s 1965 cut for Kentone Records, “All Of Me” and ending with Roland Alphonso’s mighty instrumental “Jazz Ska” from King Edwards. We then began the second hour with our spotlight of the BMN Label…
Owned and founded by Ronnie Nasralla, BMN is an acronym. B for the Blues Busters. M for the Maytals. And, N for Nasralla.
A high school classmate of Byron Lee, Ronnie was an early member of the Byron Lee’s Dragonaires. The group received their first major moment of fame when featured as the house band seen in Dr. No. Then, in 1964, Ronnie as the manager and Byron as the band leader arranged for a special dance at the Glass Bucket, an uptown Kingston club, to promote ska to Edward Seaga and executives from Atlantic records in order to represent Jamaican culture to America. With this promotion, the group traveled to America to perform on TV and in American clubs and would eventually represent Jamaica at the World’s Fair, with Ronnie choreographing the dancers for the performance.
On a more production side, Ronnie worked with George Benson, the owner of WIRL after Edward Seaga sold it to him, in order to build a recording studio in the backyard of the WIRL building. In turn, he developed the knowledge for production and began to produce the bands he managed, including the major two in the name of his label and many others that you will hear on this BMN label spotlight.
Ronnie formed the Federation of Musicians with Byron Lee and Sonny Bradshaw to prevent musicians from getting exploited, creating new rules to prevent overlong hours and new standards to creating recording contracts and paying salary. In 1966, the label won the festival song of the year with Toots and the Maytals Bam Bam Festival song. Winner of the first ever Jamaican Independence Festival song competition. Ronnie received the Order of Distinction in 2013.
Listen to the entire program from September 15th, 2015 with the BMN spotlight HERE:
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Lily and Generoso