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

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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: The 20th Annual Anti-Valentine’s Day Show! 2-9-16

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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

Generoso and Lily




Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 6/30/15: Keith and Tex Interview and Spotlight

Keith and Tex and Generoso and Lily

Keith and Tex with Lily and Generoso June 28th, 2015

While living in Los Angeles these last two months, Lily and I have picked up some amazing vinyl and been the beneficiary of some truly great shows of the Jamaican oldies variety.  This week, after seeing Keith and Tex wow a crowd at Don The Beachcomber in Huntington Beach, we had the opportunity to get an interview with the dynamic duo of Derrick Harriott’s Crystal/Move and Groove Label.  That interview, along with a few selected cuts would be our spotlight for this week’s (June 30th, 2015) episode of the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady.

Before we got to the interview and music spotlight on Keith and Tex, we started off the program with two sets of red hot ska starting with one of our favorite ska-era cuts from Toots and The Maytals entitled “Peggy,” a fun record from BMN in 1965 that begins with some snappy guitar riffs.  After our mento set, we went version to version crazy, beginning with the Lee Perry produced Untouchables track, “Confusion” from 1970 and it’s version from Val Bennett and The Upsetters, “Big John Wayne.” After Ken Boothe’s sublime 1969 record, “Just Another Girl” and The Rudies 1970 classic, “The Split,” it was on to the Keith and Tex spot.

We learned much from our interview with Keith and Tex, especially their writing technique from now and then, their output for Derrick Harriott, and their feelings for Lynn Taitt, who played on many of their finest recordings from back in the day, including the iconic riffs present in their biggest and perennially covered classic, “Stop That Train.”  Thanks to Keith and Tex for taking the time out to speak with us.  Lovely gentlemen that you should see as they are currently on tour. And also thanks to Keith and Tex ‘s manager, Nathan Ranking, for setting up the interview on such short notice.

Check out the show for yourself HERE and do subscribe to our FREE podcast at:

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Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 3/4/15: Derrick Harriott’s Crystal Label

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The Jiving Juniors On The Crystal Label

This week was a special two hour retrospective of Derrick Harriott’s Crystal/Move and Groove Labels.

Born in Kingston in 1939, Derrick Harriott was the youngest of 5 children. At a very young age, he sang in church, and eventually, his singing and performing would accelerate when he went to school. Derrick Harriott began his music career with his friend Claude Sang Jr with the duo, Sang and Harriott. The two attended Excelsior High School together, and in school, they would practice together and perform, wooing their schoolmates with their music, and in turn, their schoolmates encouraged the duo to enter the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour talent show in 1955. The two did not make the final round this initial time, but they would win it in 1957 and at a minimum manage to be in the finals after their first win.  Despite their popularity in the live performance circuit, Sang and Harriott broke up when Sang left Jamaica for schooling. In 1958, Harriot formed the Jiving Juniors with Eugene Dwyer (bass), Maurice Wynter (Tenor), Claude’s younger brother, Herman Sang on piano, and Harriott on lead tenor and falsetto. The Jiving Juniors gained quite a bit of fame with successful performances on the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour, so successful in fact that they earned a special spot on the show.

We started this two hour spotlight on The Crystal Label by playing four tracks from Derrick Harriott and the Jiving Juniors. The Crystal label, which was named supposedly because of “a fortune teller with a crystal ball… and crystal means very clear”  Here, at the Crystal label, he would first release his own solo tracks, but he quickly began to record other artists. We also played one excellent solo track from Derrick, and then his early recordings for the Crystal label with other artists in ska such as Roy Panton and Don Levy.

Very early in the label’s career, Derrick had a great eye and ear for talent, being one of the first to record many singers. Keith and Tex started with him, and they also helped recruit some talent over to Derrick, including who you just heard from, Rudy Mills, who was Keith Rowe’s cousin’s husband, and Keith brought Rudy over to Crystal to first record.

Backing up the vocal artists and recording a many instrumentals of their own, were The Crystalites, Derrick’s house band, which had a rotating line up, but Derrick selected from an amazing pool of session musicians including: Barry Biggs, Bongo Herman, Gladstone Anderson, Jackie Jackson, Larry McDonald, Lynford Brown, Paul Douglas, Wallace Wilson, Winston Wright.

By 1970, Derrick had really built up a reputation as a strong producer, so much so that his output that year would gain him the title of the best producer of 1970 by Swing magazine.  We then played The Ethiopians No Baptism next, which was a highlight from a great year of productions and a hit for the Crystal label. As mentioned before, Keith and Tex got their start with Derrick Harriott and gained quite a lot of fame with him, who in addition to singing their tracks for him, they also sang harmony for other Derrick Harriott productions. Stop That Train was an enormous hit for them, so much so that other DJs who came to the Crystal label would toast on them.

One story has Derrick who had heard people talking about Big Youth, going out and searching for him in order to record him. Big Youth would actually end up using his promotional picture on the Those Reggae Oldies album released on the Crystal label for the artwork on his own Negusa Nagast label

Another DJ that had success on Crystal was Scotty,  born David Scott, originally started singing with Valman Smykle and  Franklin Spence in the rocksteady group, The Federals, but he would come into his greatest prominence as a DJ/toaster for Derrick Harriott’s Crystal label. He would toast on versions of early hits from the Crystal label, like the version of Stop that Train heard in the first hour of the show. Now then played another version to version. We then heard Scotty toasts over his boss’s hit “The Loser.” Scotty was given the full LP treatment by Derrick on the Crytal label in 1971 with a collection of his best toasting on the album School Days.

In 1966, Derrick opened up Derrick’s One Stop record shop on 125 King Street, making him one of few singers who produced, ran his own label and his own record shop. The name One Stop was perfect because up and coming artists could go to the shop to pitch music to Derrick, and he could record them and sell the record in his own shop. In addition, visitors to the shop were attracted to the big hits on other labels in stock, but given that they stepped into Derrick’s shop, they could also gain more exposure to the Crystal label releases than they would in other record shops in Kingston. This record shop extension of Derrick Harriott’s work would help further Derrick’s success as more and more hits were released on the his labels.

You can here the entire program: HERE

The archive of this show will be available until 3/18/15