Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Lloyd Charmers’ Splash Label 7-26-16

Splash Label A

Lloyd Charmers 1970 soul cover on Splash

Howdy Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Friends,

This weekend prior to the July  26th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady, Lily and I had an awesome visit from our old friend Jeff and our new friend Lodrina, we saw a ton of Pialat movies at UCLA and pulled one beast of a Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Radio Show for you! For our spotlight this week, we put together a special ONE HOUR look at Lloyd Charmers’ SPLASH label which features some of the best Jamaican covers of American soul and pop cuts that we have ever heard. BB Seaton covering The Persuaders, Alton Ellis covering The Spinners, The Now Generation covering Bobby Womack..This label is truly special! The spotlight starts midway through the show.

Leading up to the Splash label spotlight which started midway through the show we began the program with two sets of ska which had a very short but tasty Maytals track that Toots and the band cut for the ND label in 1964, Hey Hey Girl.  We played another short, but spectacular ska during these two sets with The Charmers on Prince Buster’s Voice Of The People,  It’s A Dream.   We started our mento set with The Diggers take on Peanut Vendor for Top Sounds in 1964 and ended that set with our favorite mento artist, Count Lasher on Caribou in 1956 with Calypso Cha Cha.  We ended the first hour with a long set of reggae and Sir Harry on Carib-Dis-Co in 1972 with My Time Now.   We then went deep into the special one-hour spotlight on the Splash Label…

The Fierro household adores Lloyd Charmers.

We love him as a member of The Charmers. We love him as a member of The Uniques. And we really love him for his wildly salacious recordings as Lloydie and the Lowbites, so much so that we are always on the lookout at for any Lloydie records wherever we go.

Born in Kingston as Lloyd Tyrell, Lloyd Charmers began his career as a singer in the duo known as The Charmers with Roy Willis. The two competed, like so many wonderful Jamaican musicians did, on the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour, and caught the attention of producers in the music scene. The Charmers would record with heavy hitters Prince Buster and Coxsone Dodd, and they would appear in the film This is Ska, but the two would part ways, with Lloyd recording as a soloist and then joining Slim Smith and Jimmy Riley as a member of the second reincarnation of The Uniques.

At the close of the sixties and the beginning of 70s, Charmers starting working on his other musical talents. He established a reputation as an excellent keyboardist, and he opened up the Splash label to work on his own productions, bringing in phenomenal talent and his own great love for American soul of the 1970s. We’re thrilled to present you this hour long spotlight on Splash because there are outstanding productions and some covers of soul tracks that challenge the originals. We began  with Lloyd himself and the 1969 classic, Birth Control, which was later adapted by The Specials on Two Much Too Young.

Charmers house backing band of choice was the Now Generation Band. The seed that started the group was planted when Mikey Chung and Val Douglas were students at the College of Arts and Sciences Technology. The two both went to the same high school together, but they did not begin practicing and recording together until later. They began using the equipment of the disbanded group, Ti & the Titans, and they formed the band the Mighty Mystics. Then the Mighty Mystics broke up and joined an existing band known as Now Generation, creating the house band that people would come to know well throughout reggae. The members of the group were brothers Mikey and Geoffrey Chung on guitar, Val Douglas on bass, Mikey Boo and Martin Sinclair (who was only a member for early recordings) on drums, Robbie Lyn and Wire Lindo on keyboards.

We hope you enjoy the July 26th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady:

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Theo Beckford’s King Pioneer Label 10-20-15

King Pioneer A

Our Opening Tune For The King Pioneer Spotlight

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

First off, thanks again to all of you who wrote and wished Generoso a happy birthday!  Last week’s all 1968 show was a tad silly but we had fun doing it and we were glad you liked it as much as you did.  We are also happy to announce are very happy to say that our weekly show besides being uploaded to Mixcloud will now also be part of Rasta Radio JA, Barbara Blake Hannah’s radio station based out of Kingston, Jamaica. Every Friday from 2PM-4PM Jamaican time our show will air for the good people of Jamaica. We could not be prouder.

This week’s show began with two sets of rare rare rocksteadys, starting with a tune from a little known group, The Swingers, with a track called “Show It Now” which was released on Prince Buster’s Olive Blossom Label in 1967.  We followed that with another rare cut, this time from Coxsone in the same year, 1967, “Have Mercy” from The Jamaican Shadows.  Two wonderful tracks that got the ball rolling.  After another set of rocksteady, we started our weekly mento set with “How You Come Over,” a tune from the queen of mento, Louise Bennett from her “Jamaican Folk Songs” LP which was released back in 1954.  We ended the first hour with a long set of Jamaican rhythm and blues to put you in the mood for our King Pioneer spotlight.  A standout duet during that last set of the first hour featured two amazing singers who both visited The Bovine Ska in the past, Owen Gray and Laurel Aitken. They teamed up in 1962 for the Dee’s Label with the boisterous “She’s Gone To Napoli.”  After that set, we started our half hour tribute to Theo Beckford’s King Pioneer Label….

Born in Trenchtown, Kingston, Theophilus (Theo) Beckford taught himself how to play piano at the Boys’ Town School, gaining inspiration from Roscoe Gordon and Fats Domino, whose records were extremely popular in 1940s and 1950s Jamaica. With Stanley Motta’s mento recording business (his side project from his photo supply shop), Beckford found a role as a session musician for the MRS label, backing up mento artists such as Lord Composer and the mighty Count Lasher. In 1956, Beckford recorded “Easy Snappin” for Coxone Dodd’s Downbeat soundsystem, during what is believed to be Coxone Dodd’s first studio session at a time in Jamaican music history where 78s were no longer popular and when American R&B was not as accessible in Jamaica. Beckford met Coxone Dodd through Ken Khouri; Beckford would sing for Khouri’s Federal Records, and Coxone Dodd decided to record at Federal Studios. While “Easy Snappin” is often considered and regarded as the first ska track in Jamaica, it contains that signature rollick of Jamaican Rhythm & Blues, so that claim is a little questionable. Regardless of where “Easy Snappin” falls in the transition from R&B and into ska, it was a huge hit for the soundsystem and eventually for Dodd’s Studio One when it was released as a record in 1959. Beckford would continue to record for Dodd and eventually all of the major soundsystem operators: King Edwards, Prince Buster, and Duke Reid. In 1963, after much experience as a session musician, Theo Beckford opened up his own label for greater independence, and that is the King Pioneer label, our label spotlight of tonight. King Pioneer was a full labor of love. Beckford created the name and the label artword, drawing the signature crown himself.

Backing up the the King Pioneer records were the The Theophilus Beckford Orchestra and The King Pioneer All Stars are not 100% clear; as with many house bands, there’s a rotating cast. Some of the members were: Drumbago and Wackie Henry on drums, Lennie ‘Blues’ Gordon on bass, Lloyd ‘Ace’ Richard and Lord Jellicoe on guitar, Val Bennett and John the Baptist on alto sax, Baba Brooks and Raymond Harper on trumpet, Ronald Wilson on trombone, Lester Pegart, Stanley Notice, and Dennis Campbell on tenor sax, and of course, to round out the instrumentalists, Theo himself contributes piano and organ in addition to production.

You can hear our full show from October 20th, 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