Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 10/1/14: Bop and The Beltones

1968 Trojan Records release of “I’ll Follow You.”


A joyous week at the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady as we celebrated our first wedding anniversary as married peoples 🙂  Thus we began with two sets of killer Jamaican ska and a mento set of questionable virtues!  We also did as our spotlight, one that has never been done on this show, that of Bop and the Beltones!

Bop and The Beltones were originally Rudolph Simmonds (who was known as Bop the dancer), Keith Mitchell, and Owen Laing who first recorded with Coxsone at Studio One and were under contract with him for some time in their early career. Trevor Shields was a young musician who would practice with his guitar and sing at school when he would one day run into The Beltones who invited him to ‘jam’ with them.  This was a strange time for the group because they were frustrated with the lack of progress coming from Studio One, and at the same time Bop left the group in order to pursue a dancing career in the U.S.   In a moment of fate, Keble Drummond introduced the Beltones to Harry J, who at the time was only an insurance salesman looking to enter the music industry. Harry J heard the group and wanted the Beltones to be a part of his emerging label, and the group accepted.

After hearing the group rehearse No More Heartaches, a track written by the newly appointed Beltone, Trevor Shields, Harry J actually rearranged the harmonies in the group, making Trevor the Lead instead of Keith, who was the original lead for the track. After the rearrangement, the group recorded No More Heartaches with Harry J as the producer, but given that Harry did not have a studio yet, the single was actually physically recorded at the studio of Studio One. After No More Heartaches got the Beltones some popularity in Jamaica, the group performed at the Carib theater, toured the North Coast, and appeared on both  TV at JBC and radio at RJR.  Their recordings ended up doing well in England because they were distributed by Trojan, but the band did not see a ton of success, and eventually, they called it quits, with Owen moving to Canada and Keith moving to the U.S. Trevor would continue recording as a solo artist and with other groups.

On October 1st, 2014, we did our spotlight on Bop and the Beltones from the earliest recordings during the rocksteady era with Studio One through their time with Harry J.

Listen to the full spotlight and the show via the WMBR archives here: LISTEN HERE

This link will be active until 10/14/2014.