Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Vincent Chin’s Pat’s Label 4-19-16

Pat's Label A

A Killer Ska From Alton Ellis On Pat’s

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

As our Pat’s Label spotlight was a mix of hot ska and early reggae, we decided to start the April 19th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady with some smooth, pretty rocksteady…Two  sets worth actually, beginning with Dandy Livingstone and Play It Cool from his 1967 LP release on Giant, Rock Steady With Dandy.

A mento set followed the rocksteady sets which had a wonderful tune from The Jamaican Calypsonians on Times Record entitled, Donkey City and for the final set of the hour, we have you a fierce set of ska beginning with the Buster’s All Stars and their TV inspired song, The Fugitive which came out of Voice Of The People in 1965.  After that set, we went full force into the Pat’s Label spotlight.

In terms of dynasties in Jamaican music, there is no family more prolific than the Chins. Born in Kingston, Vincent “Randy” Chin got started in the music industry working for Isaac Issa, who owned jukeboxes across the island. Vincent would rotate in new records and remove older ones from the jukeboxes. With this job, the old records were discarded, and knowing that these records, while not the newest should not be wasted, Vincent accumulated them, creating the starting inventory for the Randy’s Record Mart when it opened in Kingston in 1958.

First, Vincent recorded and produced artists in Jamaican Rhythm and Blues in the early sixties for his Randy’s label, seeing success with Lord Creator and Bunny and Skitter and by 1962, Vincent and Patricia, his wife and business partner, built the formal recording studio known as Studio 17, which would see the talents of everyone from The Skatalites to John Holt to Lee Scratch Perry to Bob Marley as the studio progressed.  Besides the signature Randy’s label, during the early sixties, the Chins also created Pat’s Record as an imprint, which is the subject of our record spotlight tonight. Absolutely named after his wife, Vincent would take the helm of producing the tracks released on Pat’s Record.

While Vincent did produce the recordings, this spotlight would not be right without discussing the role of the lovely Miss Pat, the inspiration for Pat’s Record, in the Chin family music career. Pat was seminal in the creation of a one-stop record store in Kingston while Randy’s Record Mart did of course sell in house productions, it also sold the records of other producers, and those distribution deals were created by Miss Pat.

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.

Lily and Generoso

You can listen to our April 19th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady with our spotlight on the Pat’s label here:

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 8/4/15: The UK “Giant” Label

giant dandy LP

A Rare Giant LP Featuring It’s Star, Dandy Livingstone

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

Thanks for making last week’s show, our two hour tribute to Jamaican Doo Wop Covers such a success as it was the number five ranked ska show on Mixcloud last week!  If you missed the show, it is here for your enjoyment:

For this past week’s show on August 4, 2015, we went back to our label spotlights by focusing on the releases of the UK Giant Label.  But before we did, we did an hour of reggae and rocksteady, beginning with version to version to version excursion of Dennis Brown’s 1972 hit for producer Lloyd Daley, “Things In Life” which was released on the Syndicate label in 1972.  We ended that four song set with possibly the most popular side of the night, the ruthlessly catchy 1972 Techniques Label classic by Johnny Osbourne, “Ready Or Not.”  Our second set began with a version to version of the Toots Hibbert penned “Come Down” sung by Carey and Lloyd.  After a mento set and a long rocksteady set, that began with a exceptional soul cut from Prince Buster called “Land Of Imagination,”  Lily and I launched into the second hour and a spotlight of the rocksteady-heavy UK “Giant” Label.

Benny and Rita King distributed a lot of Jamaican music in England. In 1959, they opened up their R&B record shop in Stamford Hill where they would originally sell records, but by the early sixties, the two began to distribute their own records through their parent label R&B. Rita would often go to Jamaica to find talent and to talk to Jamaican record labels, and over their career in the record industry, the Kings redistributed Ken Lack’s Caltone releases along with tracks from U Roy, Roy Shirley, and Max Romeo, along with their star, Dandy Livingstone, who prompted the creation of one of R&B’s imprints, the Giant label, which is our label spotlight tonight.  In 1967, Dandy’s Rudy, A Message to You was released on Ska Beat, another R&B subsidiary, and saw quite a bit of commercial success, and as a result, the Kings decided to open Giant as a label that same year dedicated to Dandy’s work. The label had a total of 39 issues with 26 of them including Dandy’s involvement either as a vocalist or producer. Given Dandy’s seminal role in the creation of the Giant label, we felt it was appropriate to start off with one of his great tracks for the label, People Rocksteady. Beyond Dandy works, Giant also pressed/distributed some work from Jamaica, including Albert Tomlinson’s Don’t Wait For Me and Roy Shirley’s Dance Arena.

The August 4th, 2015 show with its Giant Label spotlight is available for your listening pleasure HERE ON MIXCLOUD.  If you like what we do, please subscribe to our show, its FREE!!!

Please do join us on Facebook to hear about upcoming spotlights and Jamaican shows in the So Cal area, rare Jamaican photos, and more!

Lily and Generoso

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 9/24/14: The Passing of Tito Simon

R.I.P. Tito Simon

The last few weeks have been hard for lovers of Jamaican music as Hopeton Lewis and Jackie Bernard have both left this earth.  It brings us great sadness to bring the news that another reggae star has died, as Tito Simon passed away on Saturday Sept 20th, 2014 in Jamaica from a sudden heart attack. Born as Keith Foster in St. Mary Jamaica in 1948, Tito would record ska, soul, and reggae recordings during his career. He recorded and wrote under a ton of aliases including Sugar Simone, Lance Hannibal, and also under his birth name. However, he was most commonly known and referred to as Tito Simon.

In 1961, Tito moved to England and began his recording career in 1964 with Dandy Livingstone as the duo Sugar ‘N’ Dandy. Together, the two would record ska tracks with the Carnival label. There has been a rumor over the years that Sugar ‘N’ Dandy was actually just Dandy Livingstone recording solo and having his voice doubled to appear as a duo, as duos were very popular at that time in Jamaican music. What we can say is at the time of Tito’s passing Dandy took to social media to express his sadness for the loss of his “singing partner, ” Sugar Simone, aka Tito Simon.

To answer the rumor of “Was there vocal doubling on Sugar N’ Dandy tracks?”  We received this message from Dandy Livingstone himself a few weeks after the show that finally answers the question:

“Hi Generoso,Tito Simon and I only did one session together. The songs were….. “Only Heaven Knows” and “Let’s Ska.”The late Roy Smith and I did two sessions. Those dates produced three songs…….1.One Man Went to Mow 2.Time and Tide 3.I’m Not Crying Now…….The remainder were doubled by me. Nuff greetings from Jamdown”

After Sugar ‘N’ Dandy, the two parted ways for solo careers, and Tito took a two-year break from recording. In 1967, he returned to the music industry, singing very briefly with the Jetliners, who only have one single to be found. As for his return as a solo artist, in the same year, Tito began recording great soul tracks, which were released on Sue Records. After the solo soul tracks, Tito took another two year break from recording. When he returned to the music industry this time, he began recording in yet another style, reggae, which is what he is best known for.

During the show we played Tito’s reggae recordings for the Dr. Bird and Upfront labels, starting with Tell Me, released on Dr. Bird in 1969. In1972, Tito returned to Jamaica and worked with Clancy Eccles. With Clancy, he would record some of his most popular tracks. We’ll first hear Easy Come Easy Go off of the Just LP released on Horse in England in 1973

On September 24th, we did a full retrospective of Tito’s career, from those early recordings as Sugar ‘N” Dandy through his soul music period and his subsequent triumphs in reggae. R.I.P. Tito.

Listen to the full spotlight and the show via the WMBR archives here: LISTEN HERE

This link will be active until 10/6/2014.