Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Felix “Deadly” Headley Bennett Memorial Show 8-30-16

deadly-headley-a

“Deadly” Headley Bennett on UK Unity Label

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

It is with great sadness that we must report the passing of legendary saxophonist, Deadly Headley Bennett.

Deadly Headley passed away at his home on August 21st at the age of 85. He had been suffering from back and prostate issues since 2013, and two Sundays ago, he passed away suddenly after being up and about earlier in the day. We will pay tribute to Deadly Headley’s impressively prolific career for the full two hours of this week’s show.  Headley received the Order of Distinction in 2005 for all of his contributions to the progress of Jamaican music, and in this program, you’re going to hear some of the biggest tracks in Jamaican music because Deadly Headley was there for those history changing moments.

Born as Felix Bennett in Kingston, Deadly Headley started his music education at an exceptionally young age, enrolling in the Alpha Boys Catholic school at the age of five. With the education and support of the school’s music program, Deadly Headley emerged from the school ten years later, at the mere age of 15, as an accomplished saxophone player. 

As the fifties arrived, Bennett performed primarily in jazz, and as the sixties arrived, he had established himself as an excellent performer and session musician. Bennett’s recording career had a sudden and surprise beginning. Bennett performed and hung out with Rico, and when Rico was invited to play Coxsone’s sound system, Deadly Headley was part of the horn section. During this performance, Coxsone’s friend spotted him, and suggested that Bennett should be playing for Coxsone’s recordings.

Coxsone invited Bennett to Federal Studios, and Deadly Headley first recorded “Independence Blues” for him, with Lester Sterling also on the recording, which created a battle for solos between Lester and Deadly Headley. “Independence Blues” was cut for Coxsone’s D. Darling label and features the voice and guitar of Basil Gabbidon, and it is the track that would start Bennett’s many decade career in the recording industry. Consequently,  it is the track that will started tonight’s memorial on Deadly Headley Bennett.

In addition to recording in the studio in 1962, Deadly Headley also performed as a member of The Shieks in their performance to welcome Princess Margaret when she visited Jamaica to mark the nation’s independence. It is unclear as to what tracks Deadly Headley would play on for Coxsone in 1962, but his role was certain on recordings for a young producer named Leslie Kong and his Beverley’s label. It is well documented that Headley was a featured player for Leslie Kong, who insisted that Headley play a solo for the more prominent singles to come out on the label during its beginning  We then heard tracks on Beverley’s from not only a young Jimmy Cliff, Derrick Morgan and Eric Morris but also the very first recording of Bob Marley prior to his time with the Wailers.  Four tracks were cut at Beverley’s with Marley from that session with Headley in 1963, including “One Cup of Coffee,” “Do You Still Love Me,” “Terror”, and the track played for our tribute, “Judge Not”

In the early 1960s, Deadly Headley would play for a multitude of producers in the ska era and  Bennett would continue to record for Studio One during this time. Included in the tracks recorded for Coxsone Dodd is Wailer Peter Tosh’s “Maga Dog,” which features a wonderful solo from Headley Bennett. That was the track we played next on the show.

In 1966, rocksteady would become the preferred beat of the time, and Deadly Headley would play on some of the era’s finest tracks. Of course, during the rocksteady, the band that was most in demand bore the name of the man who invented the rhythm, Lyn Taitt. We then heard two instrumental tracks that feature Taitt’s guitar and Headley’s beautiful sax sound.

“Satta Massagana” was recorded at 7 am at Coxsone’s studio through Carlton Manning, who arranged for his brother Donald Manning and his group The Abyssinians to record in Coxsone’s studio without his approval or knowledge. “Satta Massagana” was the first recording of the session.   In the short session, three tracks were quickly recorded, and shortly thereafter, “Satta Massagana” became a hit rhythm that would get versions many many times

In 1969, Deadly Headley went to Canada and returned in 1977 and when Headley returned to Jamaica in ‘77, he was in as much demand as ever and performs on some of the most legendary albums of the era.  We went through album after album of his recordings from 1977 to 1979 and selected our favorite performances from Headley from those full length records.

Only one full length album bears Headley’s name in the title as the featured artist…35 Years From Alpha was produced in 1982 by the king of On-U Sound, Adrian Sherwood and featured Headley on alto sax, Bim Sherman on vocals, and fittingly his former horn section partner Rico on trombone. To end this two hour tribute to Headley, we played two selections from that amazing album.

Here is the August 30th, 2016 edition of Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady and our two hour tribute to the late, great Felix “Deadly” Headley Bennett:

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 8/11/2015: Coxsone Dodd’s Tabernacle Label

tabernacle b

Great Jamaican Gospel From The Marvetts

Howdy there Bovine Ska listeners!

For this past week’s show, we decided to take the spotlight in a bit of a different direction by focusing on the Gospel recordings of Coxone Dodd’s Tabernacle label. We’ve always talked about how some of Studio One’s stars recorded beautiful tracks for the Tabernacle label, and we realized it was time to shine a light on a genre of Jamaican music we’ve only briefly touched upon in the past. But, before that spotlight, we had two sets of ska, one set of mento, and one set of rocksteady to build up to the midway spotlight. In the first hour, we shared two skas from Prince Buster’s Islam label: “Country Girl” by The Charmers and “The Soldier Man” by Prince Buster himself. We also were thrilled to play the airplane opening “One Minute to Zero” by Karl Walker & The All Stars. In our rocksteady track, we included the lovely vocal stylings of The Heptones with “Cool It Amigo” and The Wrigglers with “Get Right.”

Then, we proceeded to the Tabernacle spotlight, starting off with “I Left My Sins,” a stunning Gospel recording from none other than Bob Marley and The Wailers.

As many know, Coxone Dodd was a major fixture of the Jamaican music industry. Originally trained as a cabinet maker and auto mechanic, Coxone Dodd was inspired to enter the music industry after spending some time in America as a farm laborer and then returning to Jamaica with jazz and  blues records in hand, allowing him to get a jump start on his Downbeat sound system and marking his arrival into Jamaica’s music industry. From his initial sound system emerged plenty of record labels as he began to record artists. Beyond Studio One, the other familiar imprints are Worldisc, D. Darling, Muzik City, Allstars, Supreme, and C&N. While most of Coxone Dodd’s productions focused on secular music, Coxone did have a gospel label, appropriately named Tabernacle. As a lifelong Christian, Coxone recorded Tabernacle tracks on Sundays, and many artists from his secular music labels would record a gospel track for Tabernacle on those Sundays. 

And after the Tabernacle spotlight, we closed off the show with a reggae set filled with outstanding cuts, including the sensational “Face Your Trouble” from Vin Morgan and The Soul Defenders.

Listen to the Tabernacle spotlight and the ska, rocksteady, mento, and reggae tracks of the August 11, 2015 edition of the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on Mixcloud HERE.

Subscribe to the show on Mixcloud to get reminders when we post up the show, and join us on Facebook to get updates on upcoming spotlights, record discoveries, and upcoming Jamaican music performances and shows in the Southern California area!

Enjoy!

XOXOXO Lily & Generoso

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 12/31/2014: A Show of Firsts!

Jack Sparrow-Ice Water

Jack Sparrow’s (Leonard Dillon) First Recording

 

To celebrate the arrival of the first day of 2015, this past week’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady featured the first recordings from some of Jamaica’s greatest artists.

Following the chronological order of each artist’s debut to the Jamaican recording industry, this New Year’s Eve show also follows the progression of movements in Jamaican music, beginning with Rhythm and Blues, then Ska, then Rocksteady.

In this special show, not only will you hear the first recordings from the legends, such as John Holt, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and Desmond Dekker, you will also hear the first tracks from BSR favorites including The Jamaicans, The Pioneers, Roman Stewart, and Nora Dean. In addition, you will also hear anecdotes about the artists and how their first recordings emerged. It was a tough show to research, but we hope that you will enjoy hearing how your favorite artists sounded when they began their music careers!

Enjoy! Happy 2015 from Lily and Generoso! May this year be a wonderful one for all!

Listen to the New Year’s Celebration Show HERE.

The archive will be available until 1/12/2015.