Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Coxsone Dodd’s Sensational Label 5-24-16

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The Jiving Juniors on Sensational!

Howdy Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

The night after the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady this week, The Rastafarians played a brilliant set at Dub Club here in LA, that was further enhanced by Scientist, who was manning the boards and spinning the band’s sound into wild beautiful experiments.   We are still a bit tired as their set went very very late which is tough for a Wednesday but who’s complaining.  It was great.

The opening set of the May 24th 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady  was inspired by my good friend Douglas Purdy, who posted Kris Kristofferson’s 1971 classic, Loving Her Was Easier which started a conversation about the famed singer/songwriter and actor.   We wondered if the current generation was even aware of Kristofferson’s huge impact on music during the 1960s and 70s and as a response, I selected a few of my favorite Jamaican versions of his songs including: Ken Parker’s take on Help Me Make It Through The Night which he cut for Treasure Isle in 1972 and Glen Adams interpretation of For The Good Times, released on Straker in 1971.

After the next set of early reggae from 1971-1973, we went to our weekly mento set that started with Count Owen’s Draw Down More from the Rock Steady Calypso record  which was released on Kalypso in 1968.  We then ended the first hour with a long set of Jamaican rhythm and blues to get you ready for this week’s spotlight on the early Coxsone Dodd imprint, SENSATIONAL.  The set of rhythm and blues began with the very first recording by famed vocalist Gene Rondo, who cut a two sides for the Magico label in 1960.   We played his track with Roy entitled Little Queenie.   We followed that with a rare cut from the famed duo of Joe Higgs and Roy who cut the early rude boy tune,  Gun Talk for Luxor in 1961.   When the set was over, we started the second hour with our spotlight on The Sensational Label…

We’ve been focusing quite a bit on reggae labels recently, and for this week’s show, we thought we should go back in time and genre to the Jamaican Rhythm & Blues.  This early style had plenty of smaller producers such as BSR favorites Charlie Moo and Simeon Smith, but the era was dominated by Coxsone Dodd.  The man of the Downbeat Sound System, Clement Seymour Dodd received the nickname Coxsone from the sport of cricket, far from the world of music where he would make his name. As a young man, he was a strong cricket player, and for that he was given the nickname “Coxsone” after Alec Coxon, a member of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Dodd had many imprints that released R&B tracks, and Sensational was one of them. It’s a special one because there was a lot variety in sounds here, with the short life of the label including multiple backing groups and distinct arrangements. And to begin the spotlight, we’ll start off from a group that epitomized the R&B sound, The Jiving Juniors.  In these early days of Coxsone productions, two of the backing bands he relied on a great deal were  Rolando Alphonso and his Alley Cats and Hersang & the City Slickers.

We hope that you enjoy the show.  Here is the May 24th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady:

 

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Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Baba Brooks’ Double B Label 5-17-16

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Barbara Jones cut her first tune for Double B!

How’s it going, Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

Lily and I were super excited after dancing to a fantastic set of original reggae and ska from David Hillyard and The Rocksteady Seven at La Cita on Friday night that we went home at 1AM and began pulling a massive Bovine Ska and Rocksteady for May 17th! Sure, we were a bit danced out, but we still grabbed some killer tracks for you, beginning with two sets of ska which started with Lee “Scratch” Perry’s anti-Prince Buster tune for the N&D Label in 1963, Don’t Copy!  Our second set of ska began with a version to version of Count Ossie and The Upsetters’ ( the vocal group, not the Lee Perry backing band) Studio One gem, Turn Me On, which was followed by the version from Rolando Alphonso, also on Studio One in 1965, Tall In The Saddle. 

A mento set followed with Percy Dixon and His Merry Boys leading the way with their version of the naughty, Ben o Dict.  We ended the first hour with rocksteady to get you in the mood for the DOUBLE B Label spotlight.  Part of that rocksteady set had a tune  from beautiful voice of Ken Parker, from the DOUBLE D Label which has nothing to do with your spotlight label, DOUBLE B, called The Search Is Over from 1968.  Yes, we did that just to confuse you.  Soon, we were off to do the DOUBLE B Label spotlight! Major props to Lily for doing the research on this one as there is very little known about this small, but vital label.

The Double B label existed from 1972 to 1975, and all of the records were produced in Jamaica and based on the early releases and the name of the label, we have reason to believe that the owner of the label was Baba Brooks.  Baba Brooks produced the debut single for Double D, and then most of the remaining productions were created by vocalist Glen Lee.  We began the label spotlight, with Barbara Jones’s Sad Movies, followed by Sir Harry’s version of the track, both produced by Baba Brooks. Sad Movies is a cover of Sue Thompson’s track of the same name from 1961, which went to #5 on the American Billboard charts. Sad Movies is also Barbara Jones’s debut recording.

As mentioned in the introduction, Glen Lee was both a vocalist and a producer. He recorded as a singer for Double B as he produced other artists. In the early 70s, he would gain further notability as a producer for his work with George Faith. And Glen Lee’s recording studio was not too far from Lee Scratch Perry’s record shop, and this proximity would facilitate the beginning of Lee Scratch Perry’s collaboration with George Faith.  We hope you enjoy the spotlight!

For news on the upcoming spotlights and fun discoveries tied to early Jamaican music, join the group for the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on Facebook.

XO
Lily and Generoso

Here is the May 17th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Radio Show.  Please share!

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Pete Weston’s Advance Label 5-10-16

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Alton Peanuts Davis 1972 Cut On Advance

Howdy Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

A lovely week of weather and good eating lead into the festive May 10th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady so we decided to do a deep and extended spotlight on Pete Weston’s wonderful, reggaerific ADVANCE LABEL which features top tune from Junior Byles, Alton Ellis, Shorty The President, Ken Boothe and many more. The spotlight, as always, begins in the middle of the show!

The show began with two sets of ska, beginning with Eric Monty Morris’s forthright tune for Duke Reid from 1964, Drop Your Sword!  Prince Buster and Hazel followed with World Peace, a top cut on Buster’s own Voice Of The People label from 1963.   Sammy and the Drumbago Band was next with You’ve Been Drunk which was originally released on Count John The Lion in 1963 and we ended that first set with the Spanishtown Ska Beats and King Solomon from 1964.   The mento set started with a track never before played on The Bovine Ska, a mento from the Chin’s label entitled, Not Guilty, which is amazing considering we have been doing a mento set for almost fifteen years!  A long rocksteady set was next and that began with a cool one from the vocal group, The Lyrics on Coxsone’s Studio One, called A Get It from 1966.  That set ended with a Tommy McCook instrumental released on Sure Shot in 1967, Soul For Sale.  We then got into the special one hour spotlight on the ADVANCE LABEL.

We do not know a ton about the Advance label, but we do know that it was a subsidiary of Micron Music, which was owned by Michael Johnston, Ronnie Burke, and Pete Weston. Michael Johnston and Ronnie Burke were roommates at Jamaica College who loved jazz, and the two founded Micron Music together. They soon brought Pete Weston on board, with Pete adding his production gift to Johnston and Burke’s distribution and promotion sensibilities. Pete Weston entered the world of production when he approached Herman Chin Loy. At the time, Pete wanted to leave his work in the insurance industry to become a producer, and Herman Chin Loy took him in, allowing him to work on Chin Loy’s projects. Quickly, Weston established himself as a strong producer, and he headed over to Micron Music. It is unclear when the Advance imprint opened up, but it must have been shortly after the creation of Micron and Pete Weston’s arrival because Weston’s productions dominate the releases. However, the label had some flexibility with production, and as a result, a variety of artists and producers released a handful of tracks for the imprint.

Scouty Whyte was one of these producers, recording one of Advance’s earliest releases in 1971, Ken Boothe’s Make Me Feel Alright, which is the track that kicked off the spotlight. As a producer, Pete Weston attracted quite a bit of talent to Advance, and one of the major artists was Lee Scratch Perry. Their collaboration was solidified in 1975, and Scratch would distribute records through Micron, and he would also collaborate with Pete as a producer and as an engineer on the Advance label.

For news on the upcoming spotlights and fun discoveries tied to early Jamaican music, join the group for the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on Facebook.

XO
Lily and Generoso

Here is the May 10th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Radio Show.  Please share!

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: The Rocksteady And Soul Of The Stag Label 5-3-16

 

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The Selectors With Lynn Taitt On Stag in 1968

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

A lovely week led into the May 3rd, 2016 edition of The Bovine Ska and Rocksteady which featured a spotlight on the small, yet excellent rocksteady and soul label, STAG.

The show started with two sets of ska, beginning with a lost classic from Derrick Morgan and Patsy Todd entitled Money, which was released on Voice Of The People in 1964.   The set also featured It’s Impossible a pretty 1966 mid-temp ska on Studio One from the late great Delroy Wilson.  For our mento set, we started with a track, courtesy of our friend, and longtime listener, Scott, who years ago gave us a perfect copy of Scandal In Montego Bay, the 1964 Sue Label LP from Percy Dixon and His Merry Boys.  From that wonderful record, we played the tune, Balimbo.  We then went into a rocksteady set and the wonderful voice of keyboardist Glen Adams on S-H-I (I’m Shocking) on the Lee Label.  After that set of rocksteady, we rolled into our STAG label spotlight.

We’re not 100% sure of the primary owner of the Stag label, but we definitely know who was responsible the rocksteady sounds of Stag.  Lynn Taitt arranged and produced most of the singles released on the label, and as a result, you’ll hear some fine rocksteadys along with pretty soul cuts in this spotlight. Born in Trinidad, Lynn Taitt began performing and creating music on steel pan at the age of eight. Around the age of fourteen, Taitt hid a guitar for his friend who had taken it from a drunken sailor. His friend did not pick up the guitar for sometime later, and as a result, by the time he returned to get it, Taitt was already learning how to play the instrument, so Taitt simply purchased it from his friend. After he learned how to play guitar, Taitt joined a group called the Dutch Brothers for a couple of years and then formed his own group. This group received an offer to perform at the Jamaica Independence celebration, and on this trip, Taitt decided Jamaica would be his new home, and he joined the stage band known as the Sheiks, kicking off the beginning of his presence in the Jamaican music industry.  Despite not being labeled as the primary producer on countless rocksteady tracks, Lynn Taitt was in fact the arranger on a large percentage of that rhythm’s output from 1966-1968. On Stag, we do see him listed as a producer on the predominance of tracks, and we started off with two soul tracks from the vocalist Glen Miller backed up by the Lynn Taitt orchestra.

As far as the era we cover here on The Bovine Ska (1955-1975), Lloyd Robinson is an artist whom we love and have played frequently . During the Jamaican Rhythm and Blues, Robinson performed with Basil Gabbidon in the Mellowlarks. During rocksteady, he recorded as a member of the group The Tartans and as a member of a duo with Glen Brown, and during reggae, he recorded with Devon Russell and in dancehall, he saw fame as a soloist again.

For news on the upcoming spotlights and fun discoveries tied to early Jamaican music, join the group for the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on Facebook.

Here is the May 3rd, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady and our spotlight on the Stag Label:

XOXO,
Lily and Generoso