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: