Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Rupie Edward’s Opportunity Label 3-8-16

Opportunity Label A

Hot Reggae Cut From Joe White On Opportunity

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

We started off the March 8th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady with two sets of uplifiting ska to counterbalance the reggae heavy OPPORTUNITY LABEL spotlight that starts midway through the program.  We kicked off the ska with a rollicking Derrick Morgan cut from 1965 which was released in England on Blue Beat entitled, Baby Face.  A mento set followed the opening two sets of ska and had as part of it one of our favorite golden age mentos, Chamboline by Lord Power.  We ended the first hour of the show with a set of early 1970s reggae to put you in the mood for the reggae of the Opportunity Label beginning with Errol Dunley’s 1973 track for the African Museum Label, Movie Star. We then went into the Opportunity Label spotlight…

Here on the Bovine Ska, we adore Rupie Edwards. We underscored his well known Success label a few months ago, and on one of our search excursions, we saw the sweet label art of Opportunity, and we knew we had to spotlight this label, which has some excellent Rupie reggae on it.

Born in Goshen, St Ann’s Parish but raised in St. Catherine, Rupie Edwards had a very early start in music. As a child, Rupie learned about music in school by his teacher’s lessons where she would tap a melody and the class would have to recognize it. By the age of 7, Rupie had a band with his classmates. As his bandmates played tin cans, drums, and comb kazoos, Rupie played the bamboo pipe, and at the age of 13, he moved to Kingston with his mother, arriving to a growing, thriving music scene.

After attending Kingston Senior School for two years, Rupie focused on his music career at the young age of 15, first recording for Simeon Smith and his Hi-Lite label. The tracks did not take off his recording career, so Rupie pragmatically became a mechanic who repaired cars, and one of his jobs included Coxsone Dodd’s own Buick.

During his time as a mechanic, Rupie did not give up music. He recorded with the Virtues, receiving his first production credit in 1966 for their track, “Burning Love,” but by 1968, the group split up. That same year, Rupie was able to open up his Success record store, where he hired Bob Andy to run the store, since Rupie still needed to be a mechanic for a bit in order to finance the shop. But ultimately, the music industry always beckoned him, and Rupie took the record shop as his full time job, focusing on his work as a producer and record label owner, releasing his productions on both Success and our label of tonight, Opportunity.  

Gregory Isaacs introduced Errol Dunkley to Rupie Edwards, and we are thankful for that because Dunkley’s tracks for Rupie are just too good.

In his excellent biography, Some People Rupie hypothesizes that his own fascination with versions may have come from the fact that when he was a child, he learned God Save Our Gracious King and sang it in school. Then, when King George passed and Queen Elizabeth took over, the children all had to sing God Save Our Gracious Queen, giving Rupie a primer on how to change parts of songs while keeping the same melody, a technique he would most certainly utilize for his excellent versions on Opportunity.

For news on the upcoming spotlights and fun discoveries tied to early Jamaican music, join the group for the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on Facebook.

Lily and Generoso

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Rupie Edwards Success Label 11-3-15

success B

Excellent Cut On Success By The Concords

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

Thanks to you all for the kind words and listens to our Jamaican Halloween show last week.  It was super fun, and has inspired Lily and I to some more investigations into the different kinds of floating specters!

This week was a less spooky Bovine Ska and Rocksteady as we did a spotlight on Rupie Edwards’ Success Label. That spotlight starts in the middle of the show.  We started off with two sets of rare ska, featuring “You Made Me Warm” a punchy ska from a seldom recorded band known as The Sharks which came out on Kentone in 1965.  “What To Do” fr0m The Federal Singers was another rare ska from 1965 which began the second set.  That one was recorded at the Federal label of course. We started our mento set with a slow and lovely bamboo sax led cut from the king of the bamboo sax, Sugar Belly!  You heard the classic mento of “Land Of Sea and Sun”  After the three song mento set, we played a long set of rocksteady that began with a version to version excursion using Buster’s “Judge Dread” rhythm..”Musical College” and “Barrister’s Pardon.”  We ended with a pretty cut Merritone as The Merritone Singers sang “House Upon The Hill” which was released in 1967.  It was then the second hour and the spotlight on Rupie Edwards’ SUCCESS LABEL.

Known for many roles in the music industry, including being the co-songwriter of Judge Dread’s Big 7, Rupie Edwards began his career in music as a singer, recording his first single, “Guilty Convict” in 1962 at the age of 17. After recording further as a soloist, he created The Virtues with Junior Menz, Lloyd Robinson, Basil Gabbidon, Eric Frater and Dobby Dobson. After working extensively as a recording artist since 1962, by 1968, Edwards began to dedicate more time as a producer of his own label, most likely first working on his own track with The Virtues, “Falling in Love” and with Karl Bryan, also known as Cannonball Bryan on the track, “Sweet Nanny.” In Jamaica, Rupie was releasing his productions on his own imprint, and in England, he gained the interest of the gargantuan Pama label, which distributed his productions with a Success UK imprint. Success label engineers were Syd Bucknor and Lynford ‘Andy Capp’ Anderson, and together with Rupie, the team created a distinctive sound and rhythm for the label, one that we are thrilled to have shared with you, beginning with the earliest known Success recording from Rupie Edwards himself. Here’s “Falling In Love.”

We played more than a few instrumentals and backing all of the vocal artists are The Rupie Edwards All Stars which featured: on san, Tommy McCook,  trombone Vin Gordon,  drums: Carlton ‘Santa’ Davis, guitar: Hux Brown, piano: Gladstone Anderson, bass: Clifton ‘Jackie’ Jackson and on organ: Winston Wright.

You can hear our full show from November 3, 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.

Happy Halloween!!! Please help us and spread the word and repost if you liked the show! Repost anywhere you see fit.

Join the group for the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on Facebook.

Generoso and Lily