Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Pat Hardy’s Kismet Label 9-22-15

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A gem from the late great Freddie McKay

Welcome Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

This week we have a spotlight for those of you who love rocksteady and reggae as we delve deep into Pat Hardy’s KISMET LABEL! We opened up the show with two sets of ska featuring a rare release by Vic Taylor on the Pussy Cat Label entitled “Yes.”  Another gem from the first two sets of ska that opened the show is “You Say, She Say” from the Sneer Townersl, a fun vocal group that we always wish had recorded more.  That cut came out on Kentone in 1965.    We also realize that we rarely mention the background disco albums on this blogpost and as this week contained two gem LP, we must mention Lalomie Washburn superb 1977 LP on Parachute Records entitled, “MY Music Is Hot.”  The second hour featured the Eurodisco sounds of La Pamplemousse from the self-titled record that came out on AVI in 1976.  After a mento set and a long set of rare rocksteady tracks, we went into the Kismet Label spotlight which began the second hour of the show.

Little is known about the Kismet label, even though it was quite prolific.Some represses of Amalgamated records also existed on the label, making us suspect that Kismet may have been a Joe Gibbs imprint. We do know that Pat Hardy was the owner of Kismet, which emerged as an avenue for releases of The Progressions, his vocal group. The Progressions original members were Pat Hardy, Tony Russell, and Milton Henry with Derrick Bucknor and Rudy Mills joining as later members. As a result of the label’s focus on the group, multiple members would take a stab at producing and arranging for the label. The group and many other Kismet recordings were introduced to England with the Pama compilation, Reggae to the UK With Love. On early tracks from The Progressions, you’ll hear Lynn Taitt and the Jets backing the vocalists and Timmy George as the producer, including the track that opened the spotlight entitled, “Give Me Love.”  You’ll hear some amazing cuts on this spotlight from Dave And Ansel Collins, Freddie McKay, The Emotions and more!

You can hear our show from Sept 22nd, 2015 HERE.

Enjoy!!  Please spread the word and repost if you liked the show!

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Love,
Generoso and Lily

 

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 7/7/15: Prince Buster’s Wild Bells Label

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A great Gabbidon cut on Buster’s Wild Bells Label

 

This week (July 7th) on Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady, we started off with a version to version to version extravaganza from Phil Pratt’s Sun Shot Label.  We began the second set again with another version to version from Derrick Harriott and the late DJ Scotty, then our bouncy mento set before a long set of early Jamaican rhythm and blues that featured an early Jimmy Cliff side from Leslie Kong’s Beverley’s label called “You Are Never Too Old” to set up the spotlight on Prince Buster’s Wild Bells label.

Born as Cecil Bustamente Campbell, Prince Buster has one of my all time favorite stories about his entry into the music industry. After living with his grandmother in rural Jamaica as a boy, Buster gained an interest in music after singing in churches. Consequently, as a teenager, when he lived on Orange Street, he naturally became attracted to the soundsystem culture, particularly with Tom the Great Sebastian’s soundsystem. As soundsystems further emerged and began to compete against each other, particularly the big two, Coxone Dodd’s and Duke Reid’s, Prince Buster and his crew aligned himself with Coxone, whose soundsystem was more of an underdog in comparison to Duke’s, to provide Coxone’s dances with security. As he stuck around Coxone, Buster learned enough about running a soundsystem that he created his own, which he called Voice of the People. With his soundsystem up and ready for records, Buster was ready to begin recording his own singles, but originally before he could get to producing music for his soundsystem alone, he was asked by Duke Reid to produce records for him. Buster ended up recording 12 tracks at Feral studios, and he gave one to Duke Reid, leaving the rest to be pressed on his own Wild Bells label, which we highlighted this epsiode, beginning with Buster’s very first track as a vocalist, Little Honey, which was released in 1961.

Buster’s Group, the backing band for the Wild Bells label,  included members of the future renowned Skatalites band. On drums and percussion was Arkland Parks, better known as Drumbago. On tenor sax was Dennis Ska Campbell. On guitar was Jah Jerry Haynes. On trombone was Rico Rodriguez, and on tenor sax as well was Val Bennett

If you would like to listen to the show, it is HERE!

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Join us on Facebook to know what our future spotlight will be, shows and record shops of Jamaican interest in the Southern California area, and the occasional posting of a rare photo or side:

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Love,

Lily and Generoso

 

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 4/15/2015: Slim Smith With The Techniques

This past week began a special series for the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady. After 4/29/2015, the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady will no longer be on WMBR because we are moving out of Boston. To commemorate the last three shows of the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady in Cambridge/Boston, we began a three episode spotlight on an artist dearest to our hearts, Keith “Slim” Smith.

The mission of the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady has always been to share and uncover rare Jamaican music. Consequently, these last shows will feature short record label spotlights for small labels in addition to the three part spotlight on a star who should be in the global company of Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff but is not well known outside of Jamaica.

For the 4/15/2015 edition, we started the show with two sets of early reggae, featuring “Dengue Fever” from The Scorchers and the ever-too-pretty “If I Had the Right” from Alton Ellis. After the opening reggae sets, we presented mento from Jamaica’s hotel bands, specifically The Hiltonaires, the house band of Kingston’s Hilton Hotel, The Wrigglers, one of the bands for the Arawak Hotel, and Monty Reynolds and His Silver Seas Orchestra, the house band for the Silver Seas Hotel.

Then, to close the first hour, we presented a short label spotlight on a record label that we’ve wanted to review for sometime but had great difficulty in finding the tracks: the Moo’s label. We know that the man behind the Moo’s label was Charlie Moo, but beyond that, we don’t know much about the origins or the end of the label. The spotlight featured Jamaican Rhythm and Blues tracks from each of the artists from the small catalog of Moo’s label releases: Lloyd Clarke, Basil Gabbidon, Rico Rodriguez, Johnny Moore, Owen Gray and Clancy Eccles.

The second hour was dedicated entirely to the first part of the Slim Smith tribute trilogy: his time with The Techniques.

Techniques-Favorite

Our Selected Favorite from The Techniques

 

Slim Smith began his music career as a teenager attending Kingston Senior School. He along with classmates Frederick Waite, Franklyn White, the Richards Brothers, and Winston Riley entered Edward Seaga’s Chocomo Lawn youth club in Wellington Street in 1962 to emerge as the house band for the club with all members singing and playing instruments. After spending time backing up solo singers who visited the club and in concerts, Seaga arranged for The Techniques vocal group, now consisting of just Slim Smith on lead vocals, Winston Riley, Frederick Waite, and Franklyn White, to record on their own at Federal records with the track, “No One,” which was produced by Byron Lee and released on Kentone in 1963 to some attention but not too much. We heard this first track and another early Kentone track from the Techniques to kick off this spotlight on Slim Smith.

Everything began to change in 1964 for the Techniques. “No One” would be internationally distributed by Columbia in England in 1964 and by the Curtis Mayfield compiled This Real Jamaica Ska, which was released on Epic in America. Then, as the Victor Youths Band, Slim, Winston, Frederick, and Franklin were winners in the ska and mento contest in the 1964 Jamaica Festival. And, in that same year the Techniques were introduced to Duke Reid by Ken Boothe and Stranger Cole, and they would record, “Little Did You Know” with him, which would become the first major hit for the group. To kick off the spotlight, we presented The Techniques’ finest work with Duke Reid.

After their time with Duke Reid and his Treasure Isle, The Techniques then recorded with Sonia Pottinger at her Gayfeet label, which we presented next.

Often Generoso calls The Techniques the greatest vocal band in Jamaica, and this is because beyond Slim Smith, many of the members who rotated in then out of the group were stars in their own right. After Slim Smith left, the mighty Pat Kelly was brought in to take over lead vocals. Shortly after the arrival of Pat, Bruce Ruffin also joined the group, and this version of the Techniques was responsible for some of the best adaptations of tracks from Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions. In addition to these two talents, the Techniques would also have the voices of Junior Menz, Lloyd Parks, and Dave Barker during the group’s various re-incarnations.

Listen to The Techniques spotlight and the full show HERE.

The archive will be available until 4/28/2015. Enjoy!

And don’t worry, the Bovine Ska will return in another radio form. We’ll be sure to update here!

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 1/14/2015: King Sporty

Prior to the preparation for this week’s show, we were informed of the sad news of King Sporty’s passing. Consequently, this past week’s show featured a memorial on the great DJ who would emerge as an amazing songwriter and producer.

To begin the show, we began with two sets of rocksteady, including never-before-played tracks from The Merritone Singers and Victor Morris. We then heard mento from Count Owen, Lord Foodos, and Charlie Binger prior to a set of ska to precede King Sporty’s early ska toasting tracks.

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King Sporty’s Self-Produced Single Yearfull of Sundays

King Sporty passed at the age of 71 in Miami on January 5th. Born as Noel G. Williams, King Sporty began his career in Jamaican music as one of Coxone Dodd’s DJs for his soundsystem. In Jamaica, King Sporty would record for Coxone and for Justin Yap prior to his move to Miami in 1968.

Upon his move and work in America, King Sporty would transition his writing and production into soul and disco. However,we will focus this spotlight on King Sporty’s own tracks in ska and reggae before he gained popularity in the world music arena. We will pay honor to the great talents of King Sporty in an one hour tribute of his best DJ recordings, beginning with his first vocal toasting track in ska named El Cid, which was released on Justin Yap’s Top Deck label.

Even though the memorial spotlight focuses on his own recordings, King Sporty was not only a phenomenal DJ and producer but also a talented songwriter. He penned many hits for Studio One and such well known tracks as the Blues Busters, “Thinking of You” and a song that he originally recorded that Bob Marley made globally famous, “Buffalo Soldier.”

In Miami, King Sporty opened up his labels, Tashamba and Konduko, allowing him to write, produce, and release his own recordings and those of artists he liked. During this time in Miami, King Sporty would become very close to the Miami soul scene, distributing records from his label through Henry Stone, the king of the Miami’s T.K. Records. Sporty also married Betty Wright, T.K. Records’ leading soul lady.

One of the tracks that King Sporty sold to Henry Stone was one from Lily’s favorite Glades/T.K. Records artists, Timmy Thomas. In fact, King Sporty had discovered Timmy Thomas’s “Why Can’t We Live Together” and brought the track to Henry Stone’s door. Stone purchased it from Sporty immediately and pressed it on his Glades label in 1972. The Timmy Thomas track gained traction on the American charts, and this would be one of King Sporty’s most successful discoveries within the Miami soul world.

Listen to the full program with King Sporty’s stellar recordings in ska, reggae, and even soul HERE.

Enjoy! The archive will be available until 1/27/2015.