Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Wizz-Dom Label 8-9-16

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The Ethiopians Soar on Perry’s Wizz-dom Label

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

We spent the bread that we would’ve used to buy food to get records for the August 9th, 2016 Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Radio Show, but please don’t let the guilt that you should feel influence you in any way to listen to the this week’s show! Midway through the show, we have a spotlight on Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Wizz-dom label (1972-1973) which is so good that we have almost forgotten how satisfying a square meal feels like when you get to eat one. Amazing cuts from The Heptones, Melodians, Junior Byles and of course, The Upsetters! As the Wizz-dom label is so thick with the reggae, we decided to start off this show the ska, beginning with Joe White’s festive 1965 cut for Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label, Irene.    Our mento set featured the title cut from Percy Dixon’s Scandal In Montego Bay LP which was released on Sue in 1964.  After that set, we launched into a long set of rocksteady with a real rarity being The Minstrels 1968 tune for Coxsone on Studio One, Giving Up On Love.  We then went right into the Wizz-dom label spotlight.

We are thrilled to present a spotlight on a label from one of the most inventive producers, engineers, and all-around performers tonight….Lee Scratch Perry.  Over the course of his career, Perry founded many labels. Upsetters, Goodies, and Justice League are just a few, but this week we decided to focus in on the Wizz-dom label. Believed to be born in Kendal as Rainford Hugh Perry, Scratch got his recording first name from his mom’s nickname for him, Leeburn.  Perry’s path to music began in Negril. On moving to Negril from Clarendon, where Lee had built up a reputation as a great dancer, Lee worked on construction as a part of Jamaica’s development of the region as a tourist site.  During his days spent moving rocks on construction sites, the sounds of the shifting and the clashing of stones spoke to Lee and pointed him toward Kingston to make music. In the Kingston music scene, Lee wore many hats for Coxsone Dodd and Studio One writing and arranging songs and appearing in front of the microphone as a recording artist. After spending a lot of time with Coxsone, Perry moved over to Joe Gibbs before eventually venturing out and creating his iconic Upsetter label, giving him his own avenue to flourish as a producer and arranger.

At Wizz-dom, we see Scratch as the mastermind for all goings-on for the music being recorded and the distribution of his recordings.   In the early days of Wizz-dom, Pat Francis approached Scratch with “King of Kings,” and after recording it, Scratch felt that Francis would be a good salesman for Wizz-dom and the other labels he had, so Francis became a salesman for Scratch, a position he held for three years. We kicked off the spotlight with this track that started the Pat Francis and Scratch business relationship, King of Kings, a majestic track that set the tone for this Wizz-dom spotlight.

The Upsetters, the house band for Lee Scratch Perry productions, had three distinct line ups. By 1972, when the Wizz-dom label was launched, the Upsetters had a fluctuating lineup, but Perry would always insist on using the best musicians he could find for each recording.   By 1974, the band membership became more stable with Boris Gardiner on bass, Earl “Chinna” Smith on guitar,  Winston Wright & Keith Sterling on keyboards, and  Sly Dunbar or Benbow Creary on drums.

Enjoy the August 9th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 8/25/2015: Winston Lowe’s Tramp Label

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A Tramp Label Classic From Leroy Smart

 

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners:

This week’s edition of Generoso’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady began with a two sets of ska classics and rarities starting with Red Sea, a rare vocal cut from the king of the ska harmonica, Charley Organaire and ending with Rolando Alphonso magnificent ska instrumental from 1966 for Winston Blake’s Merritone label, “Sai Pan”  We rarely mention it on the blogpost but our backing album was just too good not to mention here, and that was Zulema’s 1975 disco classic, Ms. Z.  After an upbeat mento set, we ended the first our with two version to version pairings, starting with Ken Boothe’s “I Don’t Want To See You Cry,” and Delroy Wilson’s “I’m Not A King.”  We then began the second hour with a spotlight of the rare Winston Lowe produced label, TRAMP.

Two years ago, Generoso finished a documentary he had been working on for the previous four years on Chinese Jamaicans and their contribution to Jamaican music. From artists to producers, there is an amazing history of Chinese Jamaican participation in turning reggae into a worldwide phenomenon. Many know the names of Byron Lee, Leslie Kong, and Vincent and Pat Chin, but rarely is the name Winston Lowe mentioned. A friend of Bunny Lee, Winston Lowe ran his Tramp label in Greenwich Farm, creating some truly illustrious productions during its brief period of activity from 1968 to 1972. Amongst the artists who would stop by at Tramp, the Melodians and Lloyd Charmers would cut some of their finest sides for the label. Of the rotating artists, The Uniques recorded some of their best material at Tramp on loan from Bunny Lee, including an outstanding version of “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield entitled “Watch This Sound,” which started this evening’s label spotlight.

Soul Syndicate backed up many of the Tramp label tracks of the early 70s, with members including Bovine Ska friend Tony Chin, Earl “Chinna” Smith, Carlton “Santa” Davis, and George “Fully” Fullwood. The band still performs today, with many of the original members performing at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach every Sunday, which is an awesome thing!

You can listen to our show from August 25th, 2015 by clicking HERE.

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Enjoy!

XOXOXO Lily & Generoso