Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: The 19th Annual Jamaican Christmas Show 12-20-15

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Christmas Reggae From The Gable Hall School

Happy Holidays Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

For the nineteenth year in a row, we have produced a show that not only features some of the best and rarest Jamaican Christmas tunes from 1955-1978 like Glen Adams’ 1974 cut for Straker’s Records Christmas Rock Reggae and Jackie Mittoo’s 1978 After Christmas, a dubby haunting organ driven version of Joy To The World, but also we gave you tidbits of Jamaican holiday traditions and foods as well.

Christmas across all cultures has a variety of traditions. Here in America, traditions are often focused on the food we share on the holiday, with staples including turkey, ham, eggnog, and gingerbread cookies. For Americans, you may wonder, what is Christmas like in Jamaica? Christmas time in Jamaica often means the creation of traditional items for the table, and one of those staples is Sorrel drink.  Sorrel is a cold, delicious, spicy and festively red-pink tea made from Sorrel, which is also known as roselle. The roselle is a plant in the hibiscus family, and after the flower blooms on the plant, the sepals of the flower become the source for the tea. The roselle grown in Jamaica was transported to Latin America in colonial times, thus creating the agua de Jamaica you see in Mexico and in taquerias in Los Angeles. The Sorrel drink in Jamaica is often spiced with pimento berries, the fruit that makes allspice, and ginger along with a wee bit of rum, making a festive drink that is perfect for celebrating Christmas, especially in the warm weather of Jamaica.

One of the other staples of Christmas is Christmas cake, a black rum cake made with dried fruit that makes American fruit cake look shameful.  Christmas cake is sometimes made for weddings as well, but it is most common around Christmas time. With origins from English Christmas Pudding, Jamaican Christmas cake uses rum and red wine to soak dried fruits such as prunes, raisins, cherries, and dates, which gives the dessert an intense brown color.  

Another major tradition of Christmas in Jamaica is the visit to the Grand Market on Christmas eve. The Grand Market opens in major towns, with vendors selling toys, sweets, fresh fruit, snacks, games, and clothes. Sound systems and bands also play music throughout the day, and families gather to celebrate the holiday together with some shopping, strolling, eating, and viewing of Christmas decorations on nearby buildings.

Jonkonnu bands were long ago a tradition of the Christmas season. The Jonkonnu bands would parade down the street in large, masquerade costumes. The traditional set of Jonkonnu characters include the horned Cow Head, Policeman, Horse Head, Wild Indian, Devil, Belly-woman, Pitchy-Patchy and sometimes a Bride and House Head who carried an image of a great house on his head. Today, these theatrical bands are not as common, but a few still perform around the holiday.

After Christmas Day, Boxing Day is celebrated, which is a day to further spend with family and to spread cheer. Boxing Day is often spent with extended family and is the time to thank people who provide a service to you throughout the year such as the postal or newspaper delivery or local businesses that you regularly frequent.

You can listen to our full Gladdy Anderson retrospective from December 20, 2015 HERE. Subscribe to our show on Mixcloud; it’s FREE, and you’ll get an email every Tuesday when we post a new show.

Happy December!!! Please help us and spread the word and repost if you liked the show! Repost anywhere you see fit.

Join the group for the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on Facebook.

Happy New Year!

Lily and Generoso

 

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Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Prince Buster’s Olive Blossom Label 12-15-15

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Johnny Cool By Buster On Olive Blossom

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

We started off this week’s show with a a version to version of The Ethiopians’ classic, Pirate and Gregory Issacs Do You Ever to highlight our first two sets of early reggae.  After a stirring mento set, we ended the first hour with a set of blazing ska before going into the Olive Blossom Label spotlight at the start of the second hour.

In the years of ska, King Edwards, Duke Reid, and Coxone Dodd, and Prince Buster dominated the sound systems and the charts. As rocksteady arrived, Prince Buster fell a bit out of the limelight as Coxone, Duke, and Leslie Kong attracted the stars to their labels. During this rocksteady period, Prince Buster opened up his Olive Blossom imprint, which had beautiful tracks and excellent productions, even if the biggest singers were not recording for Buster. 

Fundamental to the great sounds of the Olive Blossom label was the contribution of Lynn Taitt and last week’s spotlight artist, Gladstone Anderson. This pair, as they did with Merritone, Gayfeet, and any other label they traveled to during the rocksteady era, arranged the musicians for this new rhythm that they were seminal in creating. Adding to the talents of Taitt and Anderson was Prince Buster’s fearless commitment to placing unique sounds within his recordings, which he did in the ska era and is in the foreground of our favorite track that you’ll hear at the closing of this label spotlight.  We started with a killer cut from Dawn Penn with the mid-tempo ska/rocksteady, “Are You There.”

At this point, you may be wondering, what are all of Buster’s labels? There are plenty, with each dedicated to a specific period in Jamaican music or a specific period of Buster’s life. The imprints included: Prince Buster, Shack, Soulsville Center, Islam, Olive Blossom, Buster Wild Bells, and Voice of the People. And, if you were wondering if Prince Buster continued to be tough through the rocksteady, Lee Scratch Perry, who recorded “Call On Me” for Olive Blossom, has said that one of the benefits of recording for Buster during the Olive Blossom years was that Buster was fair to his artists and that he stood up and protected his artists if other people wanted to give them a hard time.

You can listen to our full Olive Blossom Label retrospective from December 15th, 2015 HERE.

Subscribe to our show on Mixcloud; it’s FREE, and you’ll get an email every Tuesday when we post a new show. Happy December!!! Please help us and spread the word and repost if you liked the show! Repost anywhere you see fit.

Join the group for the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on Facebook.

Love, Lily and Generoso       

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Gladstone “Gladdy” Anderson Memorial 12-8-15

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Amazing work from Gladdy Produced By Mudie

 

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady listeners,

With heavy hearts we are sad to report that pianist and vocalist Gladstone “Gladdy” Anderson has passed away.

As a studio musician and an arranger, Gladdy worked for many labels and many house bands, making this memorial show probably one of the most difficult to put together, but one that we are proud to present to honor the fantastic work of Gladdy Anderson. Born in Jones Town in 1934, Gladstone “Gladdy” Anderson had musical influences quite early in his life. Though his father was a railway engineer, his uncle was Aubrey Adams, pianist for groups such as Clue J and the Blues Blasters and band leader for the Courtleigh Manor Hotel house band. Adams taught Gladdy how to play piano as a boy. As Gladdy continued to practice as a teenager, Adams took a trip to Panama, and when he returned, he introduced Gladdy to Duke Reid, where Gladdy first focused on playing rhythm parts on piano, occasionally getting a chance to play with his uncle, who performed the primary piano, organ, and keyboard parts. At Duke Reid’s Gladdy would also rise in the ranks, becoming one of the first people hopeful artists would audition for. Given Gladdy’s early history with Duke Reid, wekickoff off this memorial spotlight on Gladdy Anderson with three tracks from the Duke Reid All Stars; tracks where Gladdy would play with his uncle Aubrey Adams.

The sheer number of tracks that Gladdy played on is staggering as was the many different musicians in bands that he recorded with throughout his legendary career.

  1. Duke Reid All Stars
    1. Drumbago, Aubrey Adams, Cluett Johnson (bass), Ernest Ranglin (guitar), Rico trombone, Rolando Alphonso (saxophone), Theo Beckford (piano)
  2. Buster All Stars
    1. Drumbago, Cecil Bustamente Campbell, Dennis “Ska” Campbell, Ernest Ranglin, Gladstone Anderson, Jah Jerry Haynes, Karl Bryan, Lloyd Knibbs, Oswald Brooks, Raymond Harper, Rico Rodriguez, Val Bennett
  3. Skatalites
    1. The Skatalites – Gladdy would be on the piano parts for the Skatalites, replacing Jackie Mittoo because Duke Reid preferred Gladdy
  4. Tommy McCook and the Supersonics
    1. initial lineup: Johnny Moore and Lloyd Knibb, the group also included trombonist Danny Simpson. Herman Marquis on sax, pianist Gladstone Anderson, Winston Wright on organ, Clifton ‘Jackie’ Jackson on bass and either George Tucker or Ranny ‘Bop’ Williams on guitar
  5. Lynn Taitt and the Jets
              Gladdy with Hux Brown (guitar), Bryan Atkinson, Joe Isaacs, Deadly Headly, and Carlton Samuels


Gladdy was uniquely prolific, and given his reputation and constant work beginning in the 50s, he was present at some key points in the evolution of Jamaican music. When in the studio with Lynn Taitt, who Gladdy helped as a translator and band leader because many musicians had difficulty understanding Lynn because of his Trinidadian accent, Gladdy was in the band that would record the first rocksteady track, Hopeton Lewis’ “Take It Easy.” In fact, it is believed that Gladdy may have been the person to name the rocksteady genre, given that he described the recording of “Take It Easy” as “rock steady.”

With the tune, “Hold Them” -Roy Shirley had this melody and brought it over to Gladdy and Joe Gibbs. During the rehearsal, he brought Slim Smith and Ken Boothe to perform backing vocals, but after rehearsing the song, Gladdy suggested that Roy perform the song as a soloist because he better understood the rocksteady rhythm at the time.

A gifted vocalist, the second hour of  our tribute began with tunes from The Seraphines, which was the name Stranger Cole and Gladdy came up with when they sang fro Sonia Pottinger and her Gayfeet label.   The duo would also record hits under their own names like “Just Like A River” and “Seeing Is Knowing” but due to Mixcloud’s policy that limits the amount of tracks that one program can play from one artist, we limited his vocal spotlight to the Seraphines cuts.  We welcome you to find these tracks yourself as they are quite impressive.

During this period that saw Gladdy arise as a vocalist, he of course continued to play on a huge amount of tunes during the rocksteady and reggae eras.

  1. The Crystalites
    1. Barry Biggs, Bongo Herman, Bongo Les, Gladstone Anderson, Jackie Jackson (3), Karl Bryan, Larry McDonald, Lynford Brown, Paul Douglas, Wallace Wilson (2), Winston Wright
  2. Clancy Eccles’ Dynamites, the backing band for Eccles’ productions
    1. Gladdy Anderson (piano) Hux Brown (lead guitar), Jackie Jackson (bass), Winston Grennon (drums), Neville Hinds (organ) and Wallace Wilson (rhythm guitar), while others who recorded with the group included Hugh Malcolm (drums) and Winston Wright (organ)
  3. Harry J All Stars
    1. Winston Wright (organ, keyboard), Val Bennett (saxophone), Aston “Family Man” Barrett (bass), Boris Gardiner (bass), Jackie Jackson (bass), Carlton Barrett (drums)
  4. Mudie’s All Stars
    1. known as Gladdy’s All Stars occasionally for tracks led by Gladdy  
  5. Joe Gibbs and the Professionals
          1. Sly Dunbar, Bobby Ellis, George Fulwood, Vin Gordon, Tommy McCook, Lloyd Parks, Robbie Shakespeare, Earl Chinna Smith, and Ruddy ThomasR.I.P. Gladdy.  Thank you for all that you did to drive this music we love forward.

You can listen to our full Gladdy Anderson retrospective from December 8, 2015 HERE. Subscribe to our show on Mixcloud; it’s FREE, and you’ll get an email every Tuesday when we post a new show.

Happy December!!! Please help us and spread the word and repost if you liked the show! Repost anywhere you see fit.

Join the group for the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on Facebook.

Love,

Lily and Generoso

 

 

 

 

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Duke Reid’s Dutchess Label 12-1-15

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Killer Derrick and Patsy on Dutchess!

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! On the first day of December, we were excited to present another edition of Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady with a special label spotlight on Duke Reid’s Dutchess label. To kick off the show, we started with a fantastic version to version cover of the Isley Brothers’ hit, “It’s Your Thing.” Delroy Wilson and Alton Ellis each took a shot at the iconic track, and the results are both impressive. After the first set of reggae, we began the second set with “Penny Wally,” a track from the Soul Defenders, followed by “Pack Up Your Things and Go” from The Overdrives, a group who recorded a limited number of gems for Lloyd Daley’s Matador label. For the mento set, we opened up with “The Walls of Jericho,” a mento from Laurel Aitken, and then closed off with Lord Composer’s “Daphne Walking,” a track from the Songs from the Caribbean LP, a release from the American ART label.

Then, to prepare for the spotlight on Dutchess, we presented a set of ska that included the lovely “Too Late” from Lloyd and Glen and the too pretty “Dance With Me” from Bob Marley and the Wailers.

At the top of the second hour, we were proud to present the spotlight on Duke Reid and his Dutchess imprint. We’ve had spotlights on imprints on all of the major soundsystem names from Coxone Dodd to Prince Buster to King Edwards, and in that arena of music giants, we cannot forget Duke ‘The Trojan’ Reid. Long before he entered the music industry, he served as a police officer for ten years before he changed courses. First, he opened up The Treasure Isle Grocery and Liquor Store in Kingston. And, in addition to this business, in 1953, Duke opened up his Trojan soundsystem, which was supposedly named after the Trojan van that Duke Reid drove and filled with the equipment, liquor, and records for the dances he held. Given the distinctiveness of the Trojan van and Duke Reid, when he would arrive to a location, it is claimed that people said, “Here comes the Trojan,” thus giving birth to the name of the soundsystem.

Like many other operators, Duke first played R&B from America on his soundsystem but would have the itch to record his own tracks. In the late 50s, Duke first recorded 78s for his Trojan label, and when he moved to recording on vinyl, he opened up additional imprints, including Dutchess, which was named in honor of his wife and is the subject of our spotlight tonight.

“Love Not to Brag” was an early hit for the Dutchess label and for a young Derrick Morgan. One of the earliest hits for a male and female duet; it preceded Keith and Enid’s “Worried Over You.” Derrick has said that the track was Inspired by Monty Morris, whose family was better off than Derrick’s, so he may have boasted a little bit about the things he had.

The backing bands for the label were a bit scattered:

In early recordings:

  1. Baba Brooks Orchestra
  2. Lynn Taitt and the Comets
  3. Tommy McCook and the Supersonics
  4. Treasure Isle Stars

By the time rocksteady comes around, we see a domination by Tommy McCook and the Supersonics and the Lynn Taitt Band

By the time reggae comes around, the backing bands are mostly the Treasure Isle All Stars and Tommy McCook and the Supersonics

You can listen to our full show from December 1, 2015 HERE. Subscribe to our show on Mixcloud; it’s FREE, and you’ll get an email every Tuesday when we post a new show.

Happy December!!! Please help us and spread the word and repost if you liked the show! Repost anywhere you see fit.

Join the group for the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on Facebook.

Love,

Generoso and Lily

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Bobby Kalphat’s Soul Sounds Label

A New Gaylads Track on Bobby Kalphat's label with Willi Williams at the Producer Helm

A New Gaylads Track on Bobby Kalphat’s label with Willi Williams at the Producer Helm

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays, and, to celebrate, we had a food themed Thanksgiving edition of Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady. All sets outside of the spotlight on Bobby Kalphat’s dazzling Soul Sounds label were related to food in some way, and to start off the Thanksgiving cheer, we presented two sets of ska, beginning with a 19 year tradition of starting the Thanksgiving edition with Prince Buster’s excellent track, “Thanksgiving,” a super ska from the Hard Man Fe Dead LP. Then, Laurel Aitken kicked off the second set with his “Mash Potato Boogie,” a rollicking track that should make you dance anytime you are mashing potatoes (regular or sweet!). Given the food theme, there was no way that we would forget to include “Night Food” by Alerth Bedasse or “Night Food Recipe” by Chin’s Calypso Sextet in the mento set. After some fun and salacious mento, the last set of the first hour featured food related rocksteadys, including “Coconut Water” from Desmond Dekker and “Food of Love” from The Inventors.

At the top of the second hour, we presented a two set spotlight on Bobby Kalphat’s label, Soul Sounds.

Bobby Kalphat, the mighty melodica player, began performing as a vocalist. Upon realizing that his voice was not quite the best, he began to perform as an instrumentalist, first as a keyboard player and then gaining enough of a reputation to become a member of Bobby Aitken and the Carib-Beats. He first recorded for Lloyd Bell’s President Hi Fi sound system before heading over to Lyndon Pottinger’s SEP label. And after recording for other producers and saving up his salary from being a correctional officer as he honed his craft as a musician, in 1968, Kalphat began producing his own tracks, debuting with, “Rhythm and Soul,” which he released for his own label, Soul Sounds.

We began the spotlight on “Rhythm and Soul,” which was distributed in England through Pama, whose purchasing payment did not include a royalty agreement but did allow Bobby to purchase a Wurlitzer keyboard he would use in the coming years.

While Bobby founded the label and even designed its logo, Willi Williams, who was a member of the Set Takers, a band that Bobby performed with, would eventually take over the Soul Sound label, releasing his own recordings on it along with his own productions. One of those Willi Williams’ productions of note is “Revenge,” credited to Youth Winston. Youth Winston would become Dr. Alimantado, but Willi Williams met him before those days and gave him the name Youth Winston in order to evoke a similarity to Big Youth, who was rising in popularity.

Beyond Soul Sounds, Bobby Kalphat continued to produce records and open up his own imprints. Some of note are Roots Rock Inc./International, which released tracks in the late 1970s, Hit Vibes, which released recordings in the 1980s, and Music Mania, which released productions in the 2000s.

After the trek through Soul Sounds, we closed off the show with some sensational reggae, including I Roy’s “My Food Is Ration” and Skin, Flesh and Bones’ “Bammie Fe Fish.”

You can listen to our full show from November 24, 2015 HERE. Subscribe to our show on Mixcloud; it’s FREE, and you’ll get an email every Tuesday when we post a new show.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Please help us and spread the word and repost if you liked the show! Repost anywhere you see fit.

Join the group for the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on Facebook.

Love,

Generoso and Lily