Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Phil Pratt’s Jontom Label 1-19-16

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Tommy McCook’s Killer Ska On Jontom

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

After last week’s reggae-heavy spotlight on Willie Francis’ LITTLE WILLIE LABEL, we decided to take this week’s spotlight on the Bovine Ska back to the ska and rocksteady with the JONTOM LABEL, which features tracks from one of our favorite producers, Phil Pratt. That spotlight begins about halfway through the program, so before that, you will hear some reggae, mento, and ska.

To start off the show, we presented a reggae version to version, with the original “Afrikaan Beat” from Lester Sterling and its version, “To The Fields,” from Herman Chin-Loy. In the second set of reggae, we had another version to version matchup with The Bassies “Things A Come Up To Bump” and Sound Dimension’s take on the track, “Black Onion.”

For the mento set 30 minutes into the program, we played one of our favorites, Zach Matalon and the Sonny Bradshaw Quartet’s “Cordelia Brown,” a production from Stanely Motta and his MRS label in 1954. Then, to prepare for the Jontom spotlight, we prepared an extended set of ska showcasing the School Girls’ “Last Time,” Owen & Leon’s “How Many Times,” and Jackie Opel’s triumphant take on the gospel traditional, “Sit Down Servant.”

At the second hour mark, we were happy to finally present an eleven track spotlight on Phil Pratt’s Jontom label.

While we love Phil Pratt for much of his production work in reggae, he got his start as a producer during rocksteady for his own label, Jontom, the subject of our spotlight in this week’s edition of the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady. Born as George Phillips, Pratt moved to England as a teenager to live with his father but returned to Jamaica five years later. Upon his return, he tried to record first for Coxsone Dodd but without success, and when he met Ken Lack, who gave Pratt his stage name when he could not recall his real last name, the two hit it off. Pratt started as a singer for Caltone, and Lack decided to give Pratt his own label to release his own productions, jumpstarting Phil Pratt’s career as a producer. We started off this spotlight with a soul cut from The Uniques titled, “Do Me Good.”

Ken Boothe, who recorded “The One I Love” for Jontom, has an integral role in the creation of Phil Pratt and Ken Lack’s collaboration at Caltone and eventually Jontom. When Phil was trying to work with Coxsone, he met Ken Boothe. Ken introduced him to Roy Shirley, who introduced him to Bunny Lee, and Bunny Lee introduced Pratt to Ken Lack.

To close the show, we had a smooth set of rocksteady that included the ever-so-pretty “Mother Pepper” from Desmond Dekker, “Home, Home, Home” from Derrick Harriott, and “What To Do” from Roy Shirley.

You can listen to our full Bovine Ska and Rocksteady from January 19, 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.

For all of our listeners on the east coast, we hope this show keeps you warm!!! Please help us and spread the word and repost if you liked the show!

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.

Have a great week!

Lily and Generoso

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Gladstone “Gladdy” Anderson Memorial 12-8-15

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Amazing work from Gladdy Produced By Mudie

 

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady listeners,

With heavy hearts we are sad to report that pianist and vocalist Gladstone “Gladdy” Anderson has passed away.

As a studio musician and an arranger, Gladdy worked for many labels and many house bands, making this memorial show probably one of the most difficult to put together, but one that we are proud to present to honor the fantastic work of Gladdy Anderson. Born in Jones Town in 1934, Gladstone “Gladdy” Anderson had musical influences quite early in his life. Though his father was a railway engineer, his uncle was Aubrey Adams, pianist for groups such as Clue J and the Blues Blasters and band leader for the Courtleigh Manor Hotel house band. Adams taught Gladdy how to play piano as a boy. As Gladdy continued to practice as a teenager, Adams took a trip to Panama, and when he returned, he introduced Gladdy to Duke Reid, where Gladdy first focused on playing rhythm parts on piano, occasionally getting a chance to play with his uncle, who performed the primary piano, organ, and keyboard parts. At Duke Reid’s Gladdy would also rise in the ranks, becoming one of the first people hopeful artists would audition for. Given Gladdy’s early history with Duke Reid, wekickoff off this memorial spotlight on Gladdy Anderson with three tracks from the Duke Reid All Stars; tracks where Gladdy would play with his uncle Aubrey Adams.

The sheer number of tracks that Gladdy played on is staggering as was the many different musicians in bands that he recorded with throughout his legendary career.

  1. Duke Reid All Stars
    1. Drumbago, Aubrey Adams, Cluett Johnson (bass), Ernest Ranglin (guitar), Rico trombone, Rolando Alphonso (saxophone), Theo Beckford (piano)
  2. Buster All Stars
    1. Drumbago, Cecil Bustamente Campbell, Dennis “Ska” Campbell, Ernest Ranglin, Gladstone Anderson, Jah Jerry Haynes, Karl Bryan, Lloyd Knibbs, Oswald Brooks, Raymond Harper, Rico Rodriguez, Val Bennett
  3. Skatalites
    1. The Skatalites – Gladdy would be on the piano parts for the Skatalites, replacing Jackie Mittoo because Duke Reid preferred Gladdy
  4. Tommy McCook and the Supersonics
    1. initial lineup: Johnny Moore and Lloyd Knibb, the group also included trombonist Danny Simpson. Herman Marquis on sax, pianist Gladstone Anderson, Winston Wright on organ, Clifton ‘Jackie’ Jackson on bass and either George Tucker or Ranny ‘Bop’ Williams on guitar
  5. Lynn Taitt and the Jets
              Gladdy with Hux Brown (guitar), Bryan Atkinson, Joe Isaacs, Deadly Headly, and Carlton Samuels


Gladdy was uniquely prolific, and given his reputation and constant work beginning in the 50s, he was present at some key points in the evolution of Jamaican music. When in the studio with Lynn Taitt, who Gladdy helped as a translator and band leader because many musicians had difficulty understanding Lynn because of his Trinidadian accent, Gladdy was in the band that would record the first rocksteady track, Hopeton Lewis’ “Take It Easy.” In fact, it is believed that Gladdy may have been the person to name the rocksteady genre, given that he described the recording of “Take It Easy” as “rock steady.”

With the tune, “Hold Them” -Roy Shirley had this melody and brought it over to Gladdy and Joe Gibbs. During the rehearsal, he brought Slim Smith and Ken Boothe to perform backing vocals, but after rehearsing the song, Gladdy suggested that Roy perform the song as a soloist because he better understood the rocksteady rhythm at the time.

A gifted vocalist, the second hour of  our tribute began with tunes from The Seraphines, which was the name Stranger Cole and Gladdy came up with when they sang fro Sonia Pottinger and her Gayfeet label.   The duo would also record hits under their own names like “Just Like A River” and “Seeing Is Knowing” but due to Mixcloud’s policy that limits the amount of tracks that one program can play from one artist, we limited his vocal spotlight to the Seraphines cuts.  We welcome you to find these tracks yourself as they are quite impressive.

During this period that saw Gladdy arise as a vocalist, he of course continued to play on a huge amount of tunes during the rocksteady and reggae eras.

  1. The Crystalites
    1. Barry Biggs, Bongo Herman, Bongo Les, Gladstone Anderson, Jackie Jackson (3), Karl Bryan, Larry McDonald, Lynford Brown, Paul Douglas, Wallace Wilson (2), Winston Wright
  2. Clancy Eccles’ Dynamites, the backing band for Eccles’ productions
    1. Gladdy Anderson (piano) Hux Brown (lead guitar), Jackie Jackson (bass), Winston Grennon (drums), Neville Hinds (organ) and Wallace Wilson (rhythm guitar), while others who recorded with the group included Hugh Malcolm (drums) and Winston Wright (organ)
  3. Harry J All Stars
    1. Winston Wright (organ, keyboard), Val Bennett (saxophone), Aston “Family Man” Barrett (bass), Boris Gardiner (bass), Jackie Jackson (bass), Carlton Barrett (drums)
  4. Mudie’s All Stars
    1. known as Gladdy’s All Stars occasionally for tracks led by Gladdy  
  5. Joe Gibbs and the Professionals
          1. Sly Dunbar, Bobby Ellis, George Fulwood, Vin Gordon, Tommy McCook, Lloyd Parks, Robbie Shakespeare, Earl Chinna Smith, and Ruddy ThomasR.I.P. Gladdy.  Thank you for all that you did to drive this music we love forward.

You can listen to our full Gladdy Anderson retrospective from December 8, 2015 HERE. Subscribe to our show on Mixcloud; it’s FREE, and you’ll get an email every Tuesday when we post a new show.

Happy December!!! 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.

Love,

Lily and Generoso