Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Sir Mike The Musical Dragon Label 6-21-16

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The Great Stranger Cole on Sir Mike’s

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

First off,  we just want to thank everyone who gave us love for last week’s 20th Anniversary episode of the Bovine Ska.  It was a tough show to glue together so we are so happy that you all loved it so much.  Here’s to another twenty years!

The June 21st edition of The Bovine Ska and Rocksteady began with a seldom heard rocksteady cut from Lee Scratch Perry called, Run For Cover, which was released on Star in 1967.  We played that in tribute to the endlessly entertaining, live painting event that Scratch put on at Dem Passwords in Chinatown here in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 16, 2016.   We followed with seven more smooth rocksteady cuts including Dion Cameron and The Three Tops gem, Miserable Day, which they cut for WIRL in 1967.

Our weekly mento set began with Miss Goosie from Count Owen’s Rock Steady Calypso LP which came out on Federal in 1968 and ended with Lord Power’s wildly festive, Let’s Do It on Hi Lite in 1956.  We ended the first hour with a rousing set of ska, with our final track being Hortense Ellis disguised as Little Darling and No One, which she recorded for Prince Buster on Voice Of The People in 1965.  We then began our spotlight on Sir Mike The Musical Dragon Label…

From the early soundsystem era, we always hear about Lloyd Daley’s Matador, Duke Reid’s Trojan, Coxsone’s Downbeat, Prince Buster’s Voice of the People, and Vincent and George Edwards (collectively known as King Edwards) The Giant sound systems. Mike Shadeed’s Sir Mike the Musical Dragon Sound System stood in the company of these big names, but we often do not hear of Shadeed’s work.

Sir Mike the Musical Dragon was considered one of the big six sound systems in Jamaica, so much so that Shadeed was invited by the Jamaican government to partake in Independence celebrations and dances in the mid-60s. As a testament to the reputation and popularity of the Sir Mike sound system, King Tubby, in interviews, has even discussed the power of Sir Mike’s, saying that Sir Mike was even stronger than Coxsone Dodd’s Downbeat and Duke Reid’s The Trojan by the time the mid-60s arrived. Sir Mike the Musical Dragon also introduced the music world to Prince Far I, who was a DJ for the sound system before he became a recording artist.

As a record label, Sir Mike the Musical Dragon gave us some excellent ska from some of the best artists at the time. We kicked off this spotlight on the Sir Mike label with a duo of great talent, Stranger & Ken, Stranger Cole and Ken Boothe, who recorded, Hush Baby, for Mike Shadeed in 1963.

Before playing melodica in the 1970s, Joe White recorded primarily as a vocalist in the 1960s. For the Sir Mike the Musical Dragon label, White recorded two beautiful skas. Wanna Go Home, features a simple and gorgeous trumpet line from Baba Brooks playing in tandem with White’s solid voice, and “When You Are Wrong” also features Baba Brooks, but White’s voice shines in the track. We started off the second set of the spotlight with both of these wonderful Joe White recordings.  

Lily and Generoso

Here is the June 21st, 2016 Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady:

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: BB Seaton’s Soul Beat Label 11-17-15

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A Great Ken Boothe Cut On Soul Beat!

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

We had a blast with this week’s (11/17/15) episode of Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady which featured a spotlight on BB Seaton’s Soul Beat Label but before we get to that in the second hour, we started the show with two sets of explosive ska, beginning with Ernest Ranglin’s Selected Group and their killer instrumental for Kentone, “Skalvouvia!”  Our second set started with yet another dazzling Kentone cut, “I Am Blue” from Alton Ellis’ singing partner from the Jamaican R&B days, Eddie Perkins.   Our frantic mento set featured a “Round Dance” from the St. Ann Quadrille Band and Count Lasher’s version of the classic “Slide Mongoose.” Our final set for the first hour was of the rocksteady variety and started with a rare instrumental from Skatalites saxophonist, Lester Sterling for the Merritone label called aptly enough “The Lester Sterling Special.”  At the end of this set, we went right into our SOUL BEAT LABEL spotlight…

While we know BB Seaton best as a member of the Gaylads, he was also a producer, songwriter, and A&R representative. Consequently, it is of no surprise that he opened up his own record label, which is still active, Soul Beat. BB Seaton started as a multi-talented musician early in his career. He first arrived at Studio One in early 1960 as a solo artist, recording the first track he wrote, “Only You,” as Harris Seaton. Before recording further as a soloist, BB met Delano Stewart, and together, they recorded as the Diamond Twins and Winston & Bibby for Coxsone. Inspired by The Impressions, Winston and BB added Maurice Roberts to the duo, thus becoming the Gaylads. The group would stick exclusively to recording for Studio One from 1964 to 1967, with BB producing, writing, and even auditioning everyone from Pat Kelly to the Kingstonians for Studio One.

However, after a couple of disputes tied to royalties and the decision to take Alton Ellis and Ken Boothe to England for a tour rather than The Gaylads, who had been completely loyal in their recordings to Coxsone Dodd, the group left Studio One and went over to Sonia Pottinger and her Tip Top label. While at Tip Top, Delano left the group to move to America, so when the group next went to Leslie Kong’s Beverley’s label, BB and Maurice would recruit an extra member. After experiences recording for other producers and labels, BB opened up Soul Beat, which began releasing original recordings in Jamaica in 1971. Soul Beat also had a branch in the UK, and as a result, both released productions of each other in their respective countries. Consequently, some productions have BB Seaton at the producer helm, and others do not.  We appropriately kicked off this spotlight on the Soul Beat label with a track from The Gaylads.

For the original Soul Beat recordings, the Conscious Minds performed as the house band. The Conscious minds were: Arnold Brackenridge on trumpet, Derrick Hinds on trombone, Derrick Stewart on drums, Joe White on piano and vocals, BB Seaton, Ken Boothe, and Maurice Roberts on vocals as well.

Again, can listen to our full show from November 17, 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.

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Generoso and Lily