Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: The Jamaican Gospel of the Henry’s Label 12-20-16

A wonderful Gospel from 1969 done by Gloria Bailey and The Joy Bells

Hopefully you all are enjoying this holiday season. Last week, Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Radio Show did our 20th Annual Christmas Fantastical, and this week, Lily and I have done a show for the holidays that is a bit different… All of the ska, rocksteady and reggae cuts from 1955-75 are sung for the Lord like The Heptones classic, “Hands of the Lord,” and Alton Ellis’ “Lord Deliver Us.” Keeping with that theme, our spotlight will be on the Jamaican gospel label run by Lenworth Henry, HENRY’S (1969-1975).

On the fourth week of advent, we thought it was only appropriate that we spotlight a gospel label for this week .The Henry’s of The Church of Jesus Christ label was run by Lucien Henry.  The label was quite prolific, and it did have a range of artists, but there were four big stars on the label: Gloria Bailey, Myrna Tingling, Evangelist Higgins, and Lucy Myers. Unfortunately, there is very little documented about Lucien Henry or the major artists of his label.

We do know that Myrna Tingling would become Lucien Henry’s wife, and we do know that the label had at its headquarters at 35 West Avenue in Kingston, the primary location of The Church of Jesus Christ. It is possible that Henry’s is a subsidiary of Studio One that focused, like Coxsone’s own Tabernacle label, exclusively on gospel. There was one collection of Henry’s productions released on Tabernacle, but for the most part, all of Henry’s productions were released on the Henry’s label. We’re going to kick off this spotlight with the recordings of Mrs. Henry, that is Myrna Tingling.

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Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Our 20th Jamaican Christmas Fantastical 12-11-2016

A 1965 Christmas miracle from The Maytals on Rolando and Powie

Merry Christmas Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

For the twentieth year in a row, we played some of the greatest and occasionally rarest Christmas ska, mento, rocksteady, and reggae for you to put you in the holiday mood. We also kept our long-standing tradition of sharing with you all some of the holiday traditions of Jamaica.

There are many Christmas traditions that celebrate the holiday in Jamaica. We’ve talked about the treats at the Christmas market in the past. We’ve also extensively discussed the outrageously delicious treats served at Christmas time, including the Christmas fruit cake and sorrel. And this year, we’re going to focus on a Christmas time tradition that has seen a little less prominence recently but has a rich history that deserves some attention: Jonkonnu!

With its origins from Africa, the Jonkonnu has transformed over the centuries that it has been performed. It is mentioned in Jamaican history accounts as early as the 18th century, and it also has variations on the performance and characters in its different versions in the Caribbean and in various diasporas from the Caribbean. The modern day format seen in the major cities in Jamaica blends the original African tradition with English theater and music, but the original tradition still has remnants in Nassau and St. Elizabeth. At a high level, the Jonkonnu performances involve a group of ornately masked and costumed dancers who dance and play music.

Originally, the key instrument of the Jonkonnu was a box drum known as the gumbay, and the ceremony has a ritual and spiritual purpose. However, the modern day incarnation of the dance is usually performed with a fife and drums and additional percussion instruments such as rattles, bottles, and graters, and it is more of a secular tradition to be performed during the Christmas season. There are many characters in Jonkonnu, and we’ll learn more about them throughout the show

  • King & Queen – The King and Queen symbolize two forces that had in power in Jamaica: the English royalty and the English aristocracy.
  • Devil – The Devil is an original character who dances and pokes at the crowd with a pitchfork.
  • Pitchy-Patchy – Specific to Jamaican Jonkonnu, Pitchy Patchy is the crowd control character whose costume is made of many colorful strips of fabric. He is masked, and he often uses a whip to make sure that the crowd does not get too rowdy.
  • Belly Woman – The Belly Woman is a pregnant woman who dances and shows off her curves to the crowds.
  • Cow Head – The embodiment of the rolling calf duppy that is said to haunt Jamaica.
  • Policeman – The Policeman originates from the days when the Jonkonnu performances were prohibited. Originally, it is believed that a policeman would arrive to a performance, but he would get lured into the music and join the dance. Consequently, the policeman over time became a fixed character in the Jonkonnu.
  • Horse Head – The Horse Head teases the audience with a lance. The origins of when he appeared is uncertain, but given the allusions to jousting, we could guess that Horse Head is a newer character to the Jonkonnu cast who was added as the performance took on some European influence.
  • The Wild Indian can be male or female, and the character is responsible for providing a specific rhythm and dance. They stomp in an arched posture, have a cane and bow & arrow, and are often clad with pieces of mirror and a silver heart on a necklace.
  • House Head – House Head is one of the original characters of Jonkonnu and is consistent in most versions of the performance. House Head tends to be the leader of the group of dancers.https://www.mixcloud.com/bovineska/generoso-and-lilys-bovine-ska-and-rocksteady-our-20th-jamaican-christmas-fantastical-12-11-2016/

 

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

advance label b

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: Lloyd Daley’s Syndicate Label 3-22-16

Syndicate Label A

A Classic From Alton Ellis On Syndicate

Welcome Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

If you love the ska, and we think you do, then you will love the beginning of this week’s Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady from March 22nd, 2016.  We started with two sets of rare ska beginning with the massively underrated vocalist and guitarist, Basil Gabbidon and his 1963 cut for Prince Buster’s Wildbells Label, Dig The Dig.  Our mento set this week featured an awesome tune from Joseph Gordon, aka Lord Tanamo entitled Wicked Woman that was released on the Caribou label.  We ended the first hour of the show with an early reggae set beginning with a version to version excursion from 1972 on the Sioux Label.  Joe Higgs’ Lay A Foundation was followed by Jackie Rowland’s version.

Lloyd the Matador Daley is one key figure in the Jamaican music industry that we love on the Bovine Ska. While best known for his Matador label and soundsystem, Lloyd Daley has much more known to his name.

As a young man, Daley graduated from Kingston Technical High School with a focus on electronics. As a result, he had the skill to transform his amplifier to one for a sound system. In 1958, the popular Matador sound system opened up on Victoria Avenue, and nearly simultaneously, Daley also opened up Lloyd’s Radio and Television Service to repair electronics in Kingston. Given this technical gift, Daley was able to create a purer, richer sound for the Matador system, giving him an advantage over others and allowing him to advertise his sound systems to other selectors and operators who would then purchase their equipment from Daley.

Due to difficulty in getting records, Daley decided to record his own tracks starting in 1958, beginning in the Rhythm & Blues. Given his sound engineering focus, Daley’s recordings would come to be known as some of the cleanest, undistorted recordings in R&B and ska.

As with many operators, Daley had plenty of record labels, including Mystic and secret Agent in addition to his signature Matador label, and the one we want to highlight tonight is Syndicate, an excellent reggae label laden with Daley’s deep knowledge and skill of sound production.  The Matador sound was so strong that on the celebration of Big Junior, who had just been a part of Dr. No, Duke Reid and Lloyd Daley were set to each play an hour set. However, Duke Reid decided he wanted more than an hour, and in order to correctly take his turn, Daley, laid down Lloyd Lambert’s “Heavy Sugar” and turned up the volume, eventually drowning out Duke Reid.

When police gave Daley a hard time about the noise produced by the sound system, he took it down and sold parts of it to fund a recording studio in the new electronic repair shop. In this studio and recording space, Jackie Mittoo’s “Dark of the Sun” and The Scorchers’ “Ugly Man” were recorded.

 

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.

XOXO,
Lily and Generoso

Here is our March 22nd, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady:

 

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: The 20th Annual Anti-Valentine’s Day Show! 2-9-16

daltons kiss

Well Daltons, Don’t Do It Then!

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

A prized tradition during the almost twenty year run of Generoso And Lily’s Bovine Ska And Rocksteady from when it was started was the Annual Anti-Valentine’s Day. This is where I, Generoso, would play two hours of songs featuring sets dedicated to many maladies associated with love like the pain breaking up, revenge, sadness, rejection…Yep, you get the picture.  These sets would be combined with dire facts relating to love like the current divorce rate and the costs of such splits and stories, many sent in by listeners, that regale accounts of tragic relationships from blind dates to the end of thirty year marriages. Fun!

Why would I do this, a now happily married man take such an assault on the saccharin, greeting card created holiday that ruins couplings both young and old?  Well, you got part of the answer there but the other part consists of feelings held by the long term committed bachelor that I was prior to meeting my lifelong cohost Lily.  You see, I had seven relationships in my past life as a single end between the first and fourteenth of February with three ending on the very saint’s feast day. Coincidence, no I don’t think so as this “holiday” puts an unneeded pressure on relationships as the kind of gift/evening is contingent on the current duration/affection amount of the union.  For example, let’s say that you have been dating for two weeks when the dreaded Cupid Day occurs…What amount of buy in are you supposed to have? If you do too much, it may make a more sensible partner run from level jumping and not enough pageantry might convince the more romantic partner that they are not the intended apple of your eye.

Hence, Valentine’s Day is the giant foot stamping on the flower of budding romance.

The 2016 year’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Show selected sets based on the following moments of a doomed relationship in a chronological breakup order…The FOOL set which normally occurs during the Valentine’s Day preparation that leads to failure, the set that highlights the moments when you let that love GO, the music assembled for the times when you realize that they are GONE. The subsequent set of songs about HEARTACHES when you start to notice that your love is no longer sitting with you on the couch.  As you stare at the empty couch, you begin to feel SORRY for messing it all up which forces you to sadly REMEMBER all of the good times you had as opposed to moments like when she opened up your Valentine’s Day present and called you an asshole for getting her a set of car air fresheners because you thought that it would be funny to remind her that her car smell like an old man’s armpit (I thought she would think it was funny).

So, you can now profit from my years of pain and listen to a superbly curated Anti Valentine’s Day Radio Show that features top ska, rocksteady, and reggae by such artists as The Heptones, Alton Ellis, Bob Andy and many more in the comfort and safety of your own home via Mixcloud.

Please share the show on Facebook and Mixcloud.

Enjoy and screw Valentine’s Day

Love,
Generoso and Lily

 

 

 

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Jamaican Artists’ First Recordings 12-29-15

New Years Label B

Baby I Love You by Carl Dawkins on JJ

Happy New Year Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

Another tradition fulfilled this week as we on The Bovine Ska have produced our nineteenth New Years show where we play the first recordings of many of your favorite Jamaican artists.  In some cases, the artist was part of a vocal group and we noted this when we backtracked each cut.  Here are some of the tracks we played during this show.

  • Alton Ellis – Alton and Eddy – Muriel
    • Alton teamed up with Eddy Parkins after winning a few contests to record for Coxone Dodd. Muriel is believed to be one of Coxone’s first recordings aimed at commercial, rather than sound system release. Beyond Alton’s debut, this was a special track because it was written by Alton himself while he was worker as a laborer on a construction site. 
  • Eric Monty Morris – My Nights Are Lonely
    • After seeing some success with his performances at Vere John’s talent shows, Eric Monty Morris teamed up with his neighborhood friend Derrick Morgan to record for Simeon Smith.
  • Winston Samuels – In Jail
    • The exact history of Winston Samuels is unclear, but we do know that his first single, released on Coxone’s All Stars label was a single that had opposite but connected titles: Paradise and In Jail 
  • John Holt – I Cried A Tear
    • Before John Holt ever entered a studio, lots of folks were already talking about him. Beginning at the age of 12, Holt performed at talent shows, including the Vere John’s Opportunity Knocks Talent Show, and in total, during his competition years, won 28 awards. Given this success, it is no surprise that Holt caught the eye of Leslie Kong, who would record and release his first song, I Cried a Tear, for the Beverley’s label in 1962 
  • Bob Marley – Judge Not
    • After moving to Trenchtown and gaining more experience with the growing Kingston music scene, Bob met Jimmy Cliff and Derrick Morgan, who together in 1962 would introduce the 17 year old Marley to Leslie Kong. Kong would record and release Marley’s first song, Judge Not, with Bob under the pseudonym Bobby Martell, a stage name given to Marley by Jimmy Cliff.  
  • Desmond Dekker – Honor Your Mother and Father
    • As a young man, Desmond Dekker was a welder in Kingston. Here, he would sing with his co-workers and eventually, given his voice and talent, his co-workers convinced him to pursue a career in the recording industry. Dekker auditioned for Coxone Dodd first without success, and then traveled over to Leslie Kong, who signed him to a record deal. In 1962, Dekker’s first recording, Honor Your Mother and Father, a song Dekker wrote himself and was the one he auditioned with for Kong, was released on the Beverley’s label. 
  • Jimmy Cliff – I’m Sorry
    • Cut as a dub plate for Sir Cavalier’s sound system, Jimmy Cliff recorded I’m Sorry a little before his formative years at Leslie Kong’s Beverley’s label.  
  • Hopeton Lewis – The Regals – Shammy Back
    • As a young man, Hopeton Lewis sang at the Burnt Savannah Holiness Church, which nurtured and encouraged his talent and passion for music. Upon entering the music industry, Hopeton Lewis joined the vocal group, The Regals, who first recorded for Coxone Dodd and his Wincox label.
  • Junior Soul – Miss Kushie
    • Junior Soul, born Murvin Junior Smith, learned how to sing from the phenomenally talented Eric Monty Morris and Derrick Harriot and gained his stage name when he would perform for people with Jackson Jones. When he first decided to record, he went over to Sonia Pottinger’s Gayfeet label to record Miss Kushie in 1966.

You can listen to our full Gladdy Anderson retrospective from December 29, 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

 

 

 

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: 1968 Only! The 19th On-Air Birthday Show 10-13-15

1968 A

A Top 1968 Release From The Consumates

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

This show this past week had a singular purpose, and that was to celebrate Generoso’s birthday the only way he knows how: By playing only Jamaican cuts from the year of his birth, 1968.  He has been doing exactly that since the show started on WMBR, 88.1FM  in Cambridge in 1996.  As for 1968, that was a tumultuous year in history as it saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.  The shooting of Andy Warhol by Valerie Solanis, the May 1968 riots in Paris but in the positive was the successful Apollo 8 mission, Shatner laying a kiss on Nichelle Nichols on Star Trek, and the end of rocksteady and the birth of reggae in Jamaica!

We began Generoso’s birthday with two sets of rocksteady and reggae that feature “1968” in their title.  In the sets you heard cuts like The Three Tops track for Coxsone, “Great 68′ Train.” Lord Creator’s “Come Down ’68” which he recorded for  Vincent Randy Chin.  Some of the sensational 1968 rocksteady and early reggae cuts that made it onto the show are “Soul Day” from The Ethopians on Merritone, “Fun Galore” a top side from The Kingstonians on JJs and many many more.  Between these songs, we played promos from 1968 television shows, we talked about the big records in the United States that year.  A silly, fun, program that we hope you will enjoy!

You can hear our full show from October 13th, 2015 HERE.  Subscribe to our show on Mixcloud, it’s free and you’ll get an email every Tuesday when our new show goes up.

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

Join the group for the radio show on Facebook.

Love,
Generoso and Lily