Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Bobby Ellis Memorial Show 10-25-16

A great 1968 cut from Bobby Ellis and The Desmond Miles Seven

We are sad to report yet another passing of a Jamaican music great. Bobby Ellis, the foundation trumpet and flugelhorn master, passed away last Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 at the age of 84 after being hospitalized for nearly a month for pneumonia.

Born in Kingston in 1932, Bobby Ellis started his musical journey at the Alpha Boys School, like many of the foundation instrumentalists such as Johnny Dizzy Moore, Deadly Headley, and Rico Rodriguez. Ellis entered the school because his father worked with a doctor at the public hospital who had great influence at the school, and his father made a request for the doctor to grant admission for Bobby Ellis and his brother. During his seven years at the Alpha Boys School, Bobby Ellis studied multiple forms of classical music, studying trumpet specifically from Raymond Harper. He did not play in the orchestra, which had not existed at that time, but Ellis’s music education did also include Big Band style, making him perfect for the dance hall circuit in Jamaica, where bands would be required to perform multiple genres of music. Ellis left the Alpha Boys School at fifteen to work in the bus building industry in order to raise funding for his own trumpet. And after six years away from his music studies at the Alpha Boys School, he was able to buy his first trumpet and began to practice on the instrument again.

On returning to music, Ellis, in the late 50s, joined a big band, believed to be led by Tony Brown, and after Jamaican Independence in 1962, he was a member of the Mighty Vikings. In 1964, Deadly Headley recommended the Mighty Vikings record for Coxsone Dodd, and that would mark the beginning of Ellis’s recording career. In the first session recorded for Coxsone Dodd, the Mighty Vikings recorded 4 hits that included the vocals of Joe Higgs and Bob Marley & the Wailers. In this first session, “Cyrus” was a track written by Ellis and recorded on that monumental day, and as thus, it is the track that begins this memorial show on Bobby Ellis.  After the Mighty Vikings, Bobby Ellis joined the Soul Brothers on the invitation of Roland Alphonso, whom Ellis had already recorded an album with. Though Bobby Ellis generally was a member of Coxsone’s music stable, but he also went to other labels, including Treasure Isle and Matador. Ellis in turn would also join Tommy McCook’s band and Lynn Taitt and the Jets.

There are many many Bobby Ellis recordings throughout the early and mid 1960s, but due to Mixcloud restrictions, we cannot play more than 4 tracks that bear Bobby Ellis’s name as the artist on the record. Also, during rocksteady, horn arrangements were not as popular as in ska, and consequently, Ellis would tour the hotel circuit on the North Shore, joining bands led by Hooter Williams and Llans Thelwell.  During his time with Coxsone, Ellis had proven himself as a highly accomplished arranger, so much so that he had his own office in 13 Brentford Road where producers and band leaders would visit him to write horn arrangements for their tracks. And by the time reggae arrived, Ellis would be arranging again, this time with his longtime friend and collaborator, Deadly Headley.

Deadly Headley started Ellis’s recording career, and the two seemed to operate on the same wavelength, and the closeness of the two seminal musicians is further proven by the fact that the two men passed away only months apart from each other. In fact, Ellis entered the hospital only 6 days after Deadly Headley’s passing.

For his contributions to Jamaican music, Bobby Ellis received the Order of Distinction in 2014.  Rest in peace Bobby.  We extend our deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Comic Books Go Reggae! 7-19-16

comic book reggae a

Jughead Meet Augustus Pablo

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

The July 19th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady may go down as one of the silliest shows that we have done in the twenty year history of the radio show.   It seems that the heroes of comic strips and comic books were firmly in the minds of some of Jamaican greatest recording artists as we have comic book inspired tunes about Batman, Superman, Popeye, Spider-Man, Jungle Jim being performed by everyone from Hopeton Lewis to The Upsetters to Big Youth! Here’s a bit of background on comic books and their relation to Jamaican music to help you prepare for this show!

Golden Age of Comics – approximately from the late 1930s to the beginning of the 1950s.  Era that introduced to world to Superman, Batman, and Captain America and marked the foundations of the Marvel and DC dynasties

Silver Age of Comics – approximately from the mid 1950s to the early 1970s.
In the Silver Age, the superheroes of the Golden Age continued to exist, but the era also introduced the world to two other superheroes: Hulk and Spider-man

These superheroes of the Golden and Silver Ages would make their way all over the world, and Jamaica was not an exception. In Jamaica, comic books would be sold alongside general goods sold at Chiney shops. In addition to the superheroes, comic strips and comics from other genres would also gain popularity, especially the Western comics such as Kid Colt, Lone Ranger, and Roy Roger whose title characters would become the performing names for many artists in reggae.

This may be one of the silliest shows we’ve ever done, but theme shows are some of our favorites to put together, and we think you’ll have a lot of fun with this one. In addition to the tracks that all reference comics, you’ll hear lots of comicbook fun, including chidren’s recordings involving some of your favorite cmics and some comicbook disco as well

  • Dick Tracy – The strip premiered on October 4, 1931 in the Detroit Mirror and what we now know as Tribune Media Services picked it up and nationally distributed the strip. Created by Chester Gould, who drew the series until the late 1970s, Dick Tracy followed the investigative cases of the title character. A police detective, Dick Tracy lives in a noir world, and over time, his look and his cases would evolve to match the times, taking him to space in the 60s and putting him in the company of a hippy in the 1970s

  • Jungle Jim debuted on January 7, 1934. Created by Alex Raymond, Jungle Jim was focused on the story of the hunter Jim Bradley. Raymond also created Flash Gordon, one of Generoso’s favorites, and Jungle Jim was intended to compete with the successful Tarzan stip and to sit above Flash Gordon. As a result, both Jungle Jim and Flash Gordon reached the public eye for the first time on the same day.

  • Andy Capp is a British comic strip that first appeared in the Daily Mirror in 1957. Andy is a working class man from Hartlepool, and for decades, readers have seen Andy at his home, local pub, and about town. Though a bit gruffer than gruff, Andy has had a strong following through the years, and the strip is still going strong to this day.

    Of all of the comicbook characters we found for this show, there was none more popular than Jughead. Interestingly, Jughead Jones made his debut in 1941 in
    Pep Comics, and he has continued to exist in the Archie universe since. Known for being a little bit of an outsider, Jughead has a signature humor and an S on his shirt, which is believed to be from an abbreviation of Skunk Hill in Haverhill, MA.

We hope that you enjoy this very special Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: