Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Jimmy Riley Memorial Show 3-29-16

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R.I.P. Jimmy Riley

It is with sadness that we must share the new that Jimmy Riley passed away on March 23 from bone cancer at the age of 61.

Jimmy Riley is a chameleon of music. As a singer, he performed with the Uniques and the Sensations prior to becoming a solo artist, and additionally he emerged as a producer as reggae grew. Furthermore, he is also the father of the noted musician Tarrus Riley. Jimmy will be remembered as a fine singer, a talented producer, a caring father, and a dedicated mentor to musicians. We are so very sad to hear of his passing, and tonight, we will spotlight each facet of Jimmy Riley’s career. We send much respect to his family and all who worked with him.

To start off, we will began with recordings from the group that he helped form: The Sensations. Jimmy Riley went to school at Kingston Senior High School with Slim Smith, and he very much wanted to be a member of the Slim’s group, The Techniques, but the group already had four members, so adding a fifth did not make sense, even though Jimmy did his best to join the band, helping to carry clothes to and from shows and rehearsing with them as well. As a result, Jimmy formed the Sensations with Cornell Campbell, Aaron Davis, and Buster Riley, creating a group that had great talent in their own right. The quartet auditioned for Gladdy Anderson at Treasure Isle and were accepted on the spot. King Sporty came by the studio and brought Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers’, “Juvenile Delinquent,” and the Sensations began to rehearse their own version of it. The group’s version of that iconic track was their first recording, and they saw success with it at the dances in Jamaica. Next, we’ll hear The Sensations’ “Juvenile Delinquent,” the track that marks the strong beginning of Jimmy Riley’s career as a recording artist.

After the Techniques disbanded, Slim Smith founded the Uniques with Franklyn White and Roy Shirley. That first version of the Uniques separated after their early recordings failed to take off, and Slim took some time to record as a soloist. Well, the Sensations would disband during this time, and upon this, Jimmy reunited with Slim Smith along with Jackie Parris and Lloyd Charmers as a vocalist for the second version of the Uniques. The Uniques saw great success, defeating Bob Marley and Wailers to win the Battle of the Groups at the Ward Theater. We’ll heard Jimmy Riley with the Uniques next. “Lesson of Love” was written by Jimmy Riley.

After the Uniques split up, Jimmy Riley began to record as a soloist, first for Bunny Lee. Born as Martin James Norman Riley, Jimmy is credited as a recording artist and a producer as either Martin or Jimmy Riley. While most know Jimmy as a soloist for his track, “Love and Devotion,” which he recorded for Sly and Robbie, his early solo works are excellent, and you’ll hear them next.

As a producer, Jimmy Riley created his own labels, which included PEE, the subject of one of our label spotlights, along with Yes and Full Moon later in reggae. Plenty of his productions also made their way to England, to be distributed by some of our favorite English imprints. To kick off this hour of Jimmy Riley productions, we’ll start of with three tracks from the mighty PEE label.

For a younger generation, many know Jimmy as the father of Tarrus Riley, and the two of them would often perform as a duo, including most recently at Central Park’s Summer stage last year. We send much respect and many condolences to Tarrus.

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.

XOXO,
Lily and Generoso

Here is our March 29th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Jimmy Riley Memorial Radio Show

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Coxsone’s Rolando and Powie Label 1-5-16

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Shenley Duffas Shines On Rolando and Powie

 

Welcome Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

After two weeks of theme shows, we came back this week with our time-tested recipe for The Bovine Ska that included a spotlight of an early Coxsone imprint, Rolando And Powie which started midway through the show.

We dedicated this show to vocalist Jimmy Riley of The Sensations and The Uniques who recently announced on his official page on Facebook that he was in poor health.  We send him and thoughts and prayers for a full recovery. To honor Jimmy Riley we started our show with his wonderful rocksteady from 1968 on Coxsone  You Should Have Known and then followed with a version from The Gladiators, Tribulation.   The second set of rocksteady began with a rarely heard Melodians cut on Treasure Isle, a beautiful harmony on Somewhere from 1967.  After a nifty mento set which featured The Wrigglers 1960 tune, Little Boy which was released in 1960 Kalypso LP The Wrigglers Sing Calypso At The Arawak we threw out a scorching ska set that began with one that we have never played on the Bovine Ska, Love Is All I Had by The Federal Singers on Federal Records.  Right after the ska set, we went right into our spotlight on the Rolando And Powie Label.

As a young man, Coxone Dodd moved to Florida to work as a crop picker, and during this time, he immersed himself in American Rhythm & Blues, which he had known via Tom the Great Sebastian’s soundsystem, but being in America, he was able to hear the latest hits and see live performances, giving him a new insight into the music. Consequently, when he moved back to Jamaica, Coxone Dodd opened up his Downbeat soundsystem, playing records he would regularly bring back from trips to America. As rock ‘n roll overshadowed rhythm and blues America, Coxsone decided to to record Jamaican musicians and to play fewer American records at his soundsystem. Initially, these recordings were only created as Dub plates, but upon realizing that commercial potential of the music played at the Downbeat, Coxsone Dodd began opening his own record label imprints, allowing the one off songs recorded on Dub plates to be enjoyed by anyone with a record player or via DJs on the radio.

During the sessions that produced singles for Coxsone Dodd’s labels, Dodd relied heavily on the talents of Rolando Alphonso, who was well known across the music industry as an excellent saxophonist and as a result was in high demand from multiple producers. Powie, a Chinese Jamaican friend of Roland’s, opened up the Rolando and Powie label, with Powie paying for the recording sessions that Roland performed on. In less than a year, Roland decided to record more for Coxsone, so Dodd bought out the Rolando and Powie label and used it to release his own productions.

We kicked off this spotlight on the Rolando and Powie label with Powie’s Hop, a track referring to Powie and one backed by the Alley Cats, a group that Rolando helped form and would be the key group to initially record for the label before Coxsone took it over.

You can listen to our full Gladdy Anderson retrospective from January 5th, 2016 HERE. Subscribe to our show on Mixcloud; it’s FREE, and you’ll get an email every Tuesday when we post a new show.

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See you here next week!

Lily and Generoso

 

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