Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 7/14/15: Derrick Morgan’s Hop Label

hop label A

An early rocksteady hit for the Hop Label

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

This past week Lily and I started off with two sets of rare ska, beginning with Larry Lawrence side on Beverley’s called “Garden Of Eden.”  We ended that first set with a very early cut from The Sensations entitled “Juvenile Delinquent” that they recorded for Treasure Isle in 1966.  Our mento set started off with Lord Power taking a mento classic and converting it into an advert for “Special Amber Calypso.” We ended the first hour with a six song set of rocksteady, ending with the great Roy Panton and The Cabeleros performing “Control Your Temper.”  We then dove right into our spotlight of Derrick Morgan’s Hop Label….

Known as one of the first superstars of Jamaican music, we know Derrick Morgan as a star singer. After recording for Duke Reid, Prince Buster, Coxone Dodd, and Simeon Smith in Jamaica and Emil Shalit in England, Derrick  Morgan arrived at the Beverley’s label. At Beverley’s, Derrick not only sang for Leslie Kong but also ran auditions, discovering Bob Marley, Desmond Dekker, and The Maytals. Furthermore, he ran rehearsals with singers before they recorded, and he also began producing records for Beverley’s as well. Consequently, Derrick was more than prepared to run his own label. So, when ska transitioned into rocksteady, Derrick opened his Hop label, named after his ska hit,under the pseudonym Seymour Morgan and backed by the mighty talent of Lynn Taitt and The Jets as the house band. The first release on the Hop label, Lloyd & Devon’s Red Bum Ball, was a huge hit, and as a result, Derrick continued on with his Hop label. We started off this spotlight on Hop with this first release and hit for Morgan’s label.

In these early tracks, you’ll hear Lynn Taitt on guitar. With Hop productions, Lynn and Derrick worked very collaboratively, with Lynn composing the guitar and bass line and Derrick arranging the vocals. The two worked closely from 1966 up until 1968, when Derrick Morgan moved to England for a second time to produce records for Pama’s Crab subsidiary. After about a year in England, Derrick returned to Jamaica, and picked back up on his Hop releases, recording in reggae, now that rocksteady had fully transitioned into reggae. We then focused the spotlight on rare Hop reggae releases before playing our favorite cut from the label.

This show is available for you to listen on Mixcloud, right HERE!

Join us on Facebook to find out about future spotlights, Jamaican shows of interest in the So. Cal area and more!

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 2/25/15: Roy and Millie

Roy and Millie Starlite

The Wonderful Vocals of Roy and Millie from 1963 on WIRL

This was a fun show and we were more than thrilled to send it out to all of you.  Starting off with a deep cut from the late sister of Alton Ellis, Hortense Ellis gave us the superb 1970 track, “Love Is The Key.” We continues with two full sets of early fast reggae ending with Gladdy Anderson’s 1969 vocal cut for Duke Reid, “Dollars and Cents,” which was released in England on the might Trojan label. As this week was without major snow for the first time all month, we felt the need to have a joyous spotlight in the form of a Roy and Millie spotlight.

Born in Clarendon, Jamaica to a sugar plantation overseer, Millie Small began her music career on the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour. After winning the contest, Millie decided to move to Kingston for a greater opportunity to record and perform. As a young teenager, she first recorded Sugar Plum at Studio One with Owen Gray in 1962, which Roy Panton harmonized with her on because Coxone Dodd wanted a stronger voice on her part because Millie’s voice was much higher than other female voices. And after that initial collaboration, Coxone, seeing the success of the male-female duo through Derrick and Patsy, he suggested Roy and Millie sing as a duo, which was a good instinct; they would see so much local success and popularity together that Millie would eventually capture the attention of Chris Blackwell, who led her to her mega hit in England, My Boy Lollipop. We begun this spotlight on Roy and Millie, starting off with their first recording as a duo together, “We’ll Meet,” which was a debut hit for them that rose to the top ten of the Jamaican charts in 1962.

They would record many times afterwards Roy Panton would continue his recording career as a solo artist and with Yvonne Adams (Harrison) and they still perform to this day. Sadly, the whereabouts of Millie Small are unknown.  We know that she emigrated to England and has a daughter but little else is known. In 2011, Millie was awarded the Order of Distinction in Jamaica but the former Prime Minister, Edward Seaga, excepted it for her in her absence.

Listen to the full program: HERE.

Enjoy! The archive will be available until 3/9/2015