Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: BB Seaton’s Soul Beat Label 11-17-15

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A Great Ken Boothe Cut On Soul Beat!

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

We had a blast with this week’s (11/17/15) episode of Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady which featured a spotlight on BB Seaton’s Soul Beat Label but before we get to that in the second hour, we started the show with two sets of explosive ska, beginning with Ernest Ranglin’s Selected Group and their killer instrumental for Kentone, “Skalvouvia!”  Our second set started with yet another dazzling Kentone cut, “I Am Blue” from Alton Ellis’ singing partner from the Jamaican R&B days, Eddie Perkins.   Our frantic mento set featured a “Round Dance” from the St. Ann Quadrille Band and Count Lasher’s version of the classic “Slide Mongoose.” Our final set for the first hour was of the rocksteady variety and started with a rare instrumental from Skatalites saxophonist, Lester Sterling for the Merritone label called aptly enough “The Lester Sterling Special.”  At the end of this set, we went right into our SOUL BEAT LABEL spotlight…

While we know BB Seaton best as a member of the Gaylads, he was also a producer, songwriter, and A&R representative. Consequently, it is of no surprise that he opened up his own record label, which is still active, Soul Beat. BB Seaton started as a multi-talented musician early in his career. He first arrived at Studio One in early 1960 as a solo artist, recording the first track he wrote, “Only You,” as Harris Seaton. Before recording further as a soloist, BB met Delano Stewart, and together, they recorded as the Diamond Twins and Winston & Bibby for Coxsone. Inspired by The Impressions, Winston and BB added Maurice Roberts to the duo, thus becoming the Gaylads. The group would stick exclusively to recording for Studio One from 1964 to 1967, with BB producing, writing, and even auditioning everyone from Pat Kelly to the Kingstonians for Studio One.

However, after a couple of disputes tied to royalties and the decision to take Alton Ellis and Ken Boothe to England for a tour rather than The Gaylads, who had been completely loyal in their recordings to Coxsone Dodd, the group left Studio One and went over to Sonia Pottinger and her Tip Top label. While at Tip Top, Delano left the group to move to America, so when the group next went to Leslie Kong’s Beverley’s label, BB and Maurice would recruit an extra member. After experiences recording for other producers and labels, BB opened up Soul Beat, which began releasing original recordings in Jamaica in 1971. Soul Beat also had a branch in the UK, and as a result, both released productions of each other in their respective countries. Consequently, some productions have BB Seaton at the producer helm, and others do not.  We appropriately kicked off this spotlight on the Soul Beat label with a track from The Gaylads.

For the original Soul Beat recordings, the Conscious Minds performed as the house band. The Conscious minds were: Arnold Brackenridge on trumpet, Derrick Hinds on trombone, Derrick Stewart on drums, Joe White on piano and vocals, BB Seaton, Ken Boothe, and Maurice Roberts on vocals as well.

Again, can listen to our full show from November 17, 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

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 8/18/2015: Saying Goodbye To Maurice Roberts And A Spotlight On Justin Yap’s Top Deck Label

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BB Seaton Thrills On This Top Deck Cut

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

Unfortunately, we started off the show this week with some very sad news from BB Seaton of The Gaylads…He posted that his friend, bandmate and co-founder of The Gaylads, Maurice Roberts had passed away.  “Joe” as he was affectionately called by his friends, died after a long period of illness.  We first heard of Joe’s passing health when we interviewed BB Seaton back in the spring of 2012, but there was little information being released on the status of his health so this comes as a surprise.  We started off our program with a few of our favorite Gaylads tracks that were recorded in the early reggae period, including “Someday I Will Be Free,” “Wha She Do Now,” and “My Jamaican Girl” as well as the version of that tune recorded by the Conscious Minds, to which Joe also passed bass.  We send our love and respect to Maurice Robert’s family, and The Gaylads.  RIP Joe.  We ended the first hour with some rare Jamaican rhythm and blues tracks before going into the spotlight of Justin Yap’s Top Deck Label.

Born in 1944 as Phillip Yap, Justin Yap had an early entry into the music industry. As the son of ice cream parlour and restaurant owners, he had the opportunity to play music for his parents customers, setting up an in house sound system. Like so many other sound system operators, Yap realized that in order to stand out, especially to a girl he had a crush on, he had to record original music. Consequently, he began writing songs, and he recruited Ephraim Joe Henry to record  a few tracks for his emerging Top Deck label, including“There She Goes,” which is the track that kicked off our spotlight on the Top Deck label. After the first recordings of Joe Henry, Top Deck was not quite a successful label, but after the arrival of Fitzroy “Larry” Marshall, the label began to gain traction with his cover of Paul Martin’s “Snake in the Grass,” which reached the number one spot in the Jamaican charts.   After working with Baba Brooks and recording his hit of “Jungle Drums,” Yap began to search for more instrumentals. And as a result, he arrived to The Skatalites after finding out that they were not exclusive to Coxone Dodd through a friend. To make the most of his recording time with the Skatalites, which he offered a double rate for, Yap had one enormous session with them that resulted in Ska-Boo-Da-Ba. This outstanding record was recorded in an intense 18 hour session in November of 1964.

Yap moved to America in 1966, where he became a soldier and would eventually fight in the Vietnam War. Consequently, no Top Deck recordings exist in reggae, but thankfully, Yap brought his master tapes with him to America, and consequently, his tapes have been re-mastered and re-released over time. Sadly, Justin Yap passed away in 1999 in liver cancer, but the legaacy of his recordings have continued to live on.

You can listen to our show from August 18th, 2015 by clicking HERE.

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XOXOXO Lily & Generoso