Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Sir Cavalier’s Hi Tone Label 12-6-16

A very early Jamaican R&B tune from Jimmy Cliff on Sir Cavelier’s Hi Tone Label

On a challenge from our old friend Chris McBride, we started off the December 6th, 2016 Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady with two sets of Jamaican Beatles covers that we feel are not cheesy in the way that so many Beatles covers can be.   Our favorite from the two sets was Jackie Mittoo’s super cool rendition of Eleanor Rigby for Studio One.   After our Beatles reggae homage, we did a frantic mento set, and a long set of Jamaican rhythm and blues to put you in the mood for Sir Cavelier’s Hi Tone Label.

There are so many early sound system operators that we hope to shed some light on here on the Bovine Ska. Early sound system operators such as Count Boysie The Monarch did not open the labels while others did. Others such as Prince Buster, King Edwards, and Lloyd Daley made the full transition into recording business. And some, had short lived labels that had gems on them. Earlier this year, we spotlighted Mike Shadeed of the Sir Mike the Musical Dragon Sound System. And on this night, we highlight the Hi-Tone label, the short lived label of Sir Cavalier, the head of the sound system that bore the name of its operator.

Very little is documented about Sir Cavalier, but we do know quite a bit about one person who recorded for the label. Jimmy Cliff recorded his debut single for Cavalier, and when Generoso spoke to Jimmy Cliff, he spoke further about that single entitled, “I’m Sorry.”   We then played the clip from Generoso’s interview with Cliff, and then the track immediately afterwards to kick off the spotlight on the Hi-Tone label.

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Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: The 20th Anniversary Of The Bovine Ska! 6-14-16

Keith Tex Gene Lily

Lily and Generoso with Keith and Tex from 2015

Happy Anniversary Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

Twenty years ago this week, Generoso arrived to the basement of the Walker Memorial building at MIT and stepped into the studios of WMBR, 88.1FM Cambridge where he filled in for his friend Chris’ radio show, Spiddle, Urine, Phlegm, and Blood by playing two hours of a mix of original Jamaican and Two Tone Ska.  The program director at the time enjoyed his show and offered Generoso a slot on Tuesdays at midnight and the show remained at that time for the next nineteen years.  In 2010, Generoso met Lily and they began doing the show together ever since.  The show remained on the schedule at WMBR until 2015 when Generoso and Lily moved to Los Angeles where the show continues on Mixcloud.

Over the last twenty years The Bovine Ska and Rocksteady has played early Jamaican music from 1955-1975 ( we sometimes go much earlier than that but rarely later) concentrating on the earliest recorded musics in Jamaica, mento, rhythm and blues, ska, rocksteady, and early reggae.  We have also been fortunate to have some of the greatest recording artists in Jamaican music history visit the show from Jimmy Cliff  to Owen Gray,  Prince Buster, Roy and Yvonne, BB Seaton, Lynn Taitt, Eric Monty Morris,  Keith and Tex, Big Youth, Lord Tanamo and Laurel Aitken as well as modern performers like Dave Wakeling of The English Beat, Greg Lee from Hepcat and David Hillyard (who composed our opening theme) and Glen Pine from The Slackers.  This has been a blast these last two decades.

Over the last few weeks, Lily and Generoso have rummaged through the years via piles of old cassette tapes, DATs, CDs and MP3s to create this past week’s twentieth anniversary show,  Included are interviews from the aforementioned artists and live performances from the show, and even a set from the patron saint of The Bovine Ska, Magnus Johnstone, who passed away in 2013, as well as the rare recordings of tracks from the performers that you have come to expect over the last twenty years.

We have no intentions of stopping what we have been doing since 1996 and we would like to thank all of the listeners, artists, and WMBR for their support over the years.

So, celebrate with us by listening to our 20th Anniversary Special:

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.

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Happy New Year!

Lily and Generoso

 

 

 

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 4/1/2015: Early Clancy Eccles

For the 1001 episode of the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady, we kicked off the show with an amazing version-to-version-to-version-to-version excursion with the Satta Massa Ganna rhythm, beginning with the original recording of “Satta Massa Ganna” by The Abyssianians.

After that trip down version road, we presented some more reggae, including the chilling and stunning “Devil in Bed” from Cornell Campbell.

After those first two reggae sets, we played the mento set of the week, which included a beautiful one from Laurel Aitken entitled, “Nightfall in Zion.”

Then, in order to glide into the spotlight on Clancy Eccles’s early recordings, we shared a set of Jamaican rhythm and blues, which included “Since Lately,” a very early track from Jimmy Cliff, long before his days in “The Harder They Come.”

Clancy Eccles's Baby Please - Released in England on Island and in Jamaica on Moo's

Clancy Eccles’s Baby Please – Released in England on Island and in Jamaica on Moo’s

So, you may ask, why only the early Clancy Eccles tracks? In 1965, Clancy left the music industry as a performer and became a tailor and additionally a stage wear designer for Kes Chin, The Mighty Vikings, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Carlos Malcolm and The Blues Busters

Consequently, in the spotlight, you will only hear the songs he recorded before he took his two year hiatus from recording and before he returned to the music industry in 1967 when he would record again and produce other artists.

Born in Saint Mary parish in 1940 to a tailor and builder, Clancy Eccles began his love for music in the church. Particularly inspired by his uncle who was a spiritual revivalist, Eccles began singing at church as a boy. As a teenager, he moved to secular music, singing to tourists in the hotel circuit on the Northern Coast of Jamaica. Then, as a young man, he moved to Ocho Rios and performed in nighttime shows where he shared stages with the Blues Busters, Higgs & Wilson, and Buster Brown.

After working the live performance circuit for a few years, Clancy decided to move to Kingston in 1959 where the recording industry was beginning to rise, and eventually, he began working with Coxone Dodd. He first recorded Freedom for Coxone, which was a single played on his sound system before it was pressed for distribution. As a political song discussing repatriation to Africa, Freedom was actually one of the earliest songs to be used in a political campaign; Alexander Bustamente used it in his battle against the Federation of the West Indies in 1960.

You’ll hear Freedom to kick off the spotlight on Clancy Eccles’ early recordings.

By 1962, Clancy began running his own talent shows and producing live shows for artists such as The Clarendonians and The Wailers. The next year, Clancy began working with other producers including Charlie Moo and Lyndon Pottinger. You’ll hear his work from these producers in the second part of the spotlight.

Happy April! Hope you enjoy the show!

Listen to this episode HERE

The archive link will be available until 4/14/2015.

 

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.