Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 3/11/15: Horace Andy

horace andy-you are my angel

Horace Andy on Soul Sound in 1972


We started off this past week’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady with a Derrick and Patsy cover of a song that might go down as one of the most influential in Jamaican music history.  “Let The Good Times Roll” which was a huge hit for Shirley and Lee not only only in the States but in the early days of the Jamaican sound system.  So popular was this cut and Shirley’s childlike vocals that it inspired a generation of Jamaican female vocalists like Millie Small, and Millicent “Patsy” Todd who does a fine job on this cover.  It was followed by seven songs from the Jamaican Rhythm and Blues period including Bobby Aitken’s 1962 cut for the Blues Label, “Hello” and the Blues Busters “Lost My Baby” a beautiful side on the Starlite label in 1992 as well.  And after a set of mento and a pretty set of rocksteady that began with a rare one from Prince Buster from 1967 called “This Gun For Hire!”  We then started a long overdue spotlight of Horace Andy.

Born as Horace Keith Hinds, Horace Andy was born in Kingston in 1951. The cousin of Justin Hinds, he also had a very distinctive voice, so in order to delineate himself from his cousin, Coxone Dodd actually picked a different stage name for him. At the time of Horace’s arrival to the music scene in Kingston, Bob Andy’s career was rising, so Coxone gave Horace the same surname to gain some of the fame coming from Bob. Despite the similar name and the songwriting talent, Horace’s voice however was so different so that when he auditioned for Coxone at Studio One, the producer and label in which he would spend a large chunk of his career, he recalls all of the session musicians at the time dropping their instruments and laughing. Despite the reaction of Studio One’s musicians, another producer had actually heard and taken a chance on Horace Andy first. He actually began his music career with a producer very much adored on the BSR, Phil Pratt. We started with Black Man’s Country, his first recording, which was released on Caltone to kick off this spotlight.

Black Man’s Country did not see too much success, and consequently, Horace ended up at Studio One, where he would gain much of his popularity. His first single for Studio One “Got to Be Sure” was actually the song he auditioned on to the uproarious laughter of the session crew. And at Studio One, Horace would also record his highly regarded LP Skylarking. We heard his debut single for Studio One first and then some highlights from Skylarking next. As a child, Horace spent a lot of time in the library reading, which would end up influencing his songwriting.  A few notes on some of his finest tracks:

Every Tongue Shall Tell: Yes. Well for some Christian minded people and Rasta people it means any wrong you do you are going to have to talk when the time comes. Because that’s what they say the King James Version tells us. That’s what the Bible says and you must live by what the Bible says. But you know the people are not doing it. They only talk it. But that is the reason why [I sang it] because of the inspiration of the Bible. It was before I was even born – “Every tongue shall tell” that means everyone shall confess their wrongs when the right time comes.

See A Man’s Face Inspiration: See A Man was something that happened a long time ago. You see, when you speak the truth no one believes you. I learned that a long, long time ago. Even when you tell your mum “Mum, it’s not me do it” you get bap bap “A you do it!” That’s why more time you have to be close to the kids them and believe them when they tell you things. So I know from a long time ago that no one believes the truth when you talk the truth. That’s why I wrote that song. And because a young man broke my little sister’s heart. It had so much meaning that he broke my little sister’s heart and that’s why I wrote that song then.

You Are My Angel Inspiration: No. Those things just came natural. We love the woman and we look upon her as the mother of the earth. She multiplies and she creates so the father says life. Life is so important so we have to love and respect the woman. Don’t kick them, don’t box them, don’t rape them – no no no. I say it on stage and the ladies scream “We love you Horace!” You are my angel is the original source for the Massive Attack track Angel that Horace collaborated with them on

Money The Root of All Evil:Because I saw it. As a young man growing up I saw it. Because money, wow, it has its good and it has its bad. And because producers weren’t paying me – that’s why I wrote that song.

We hope you enjoy the show!  Love from Lily and Generoso

You can here the entire program: HERE

The archive of this show will be available until 3/25/15

 

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 12/24/14: Christmas In Jamaica!

rupie edwards-Christmas Rush

Rupie Edwards from 1974

We have done a Christmas in Jamaica show every one of the eighteen years that the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady has been in existence.  And every year, we do our best to remove the intense cheesiness that is on display from every other radio show that tries to do a holiday program.   This lack of cheesiness was evidenced in our selection of Jamaican rhythm and blues, ska, rocksteady and even dub records of a Christmas kind but alas the Christmas disco from the SalSoul Orchestra which was used in the background did not live up to the rigid standards set forth by us during the selection of sets.  To put it mildly, it was cheese town when we were on the microphone but don’t let that dissuade you from checking out this show while it is still the holiday season.  Lily spoke about Jamaican Christmas traditions, we played a Jamaican patois version of “The Christmas Story” and played a lot of stellar records!

You will hear many rare holiday cuts, from artists like The Upsetters, Reuben Anderson from Andy and Joey fame, and the late great Desmond Dekker.

Merry Christmas from Lily and Generoso!

Listen to the two hour holiday program HERE.

The archive will be up until 1/6/15. Enjoy!

 

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: 10/15/14 Generoso’s Birthday Show and 1968!

Three Tops Great 68 Train

The Three Tops “Great 68 Train” from 1968

Besides being the year of Generoso’s birth, 1968 was one hell of a year for Jamaican music. That year saw the end of the rocksteady era and the rise of a new rhythm in Jamaica…reggae. As the tradition goes during the last eighteen years of the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady, Generoso’s birthday radio program is punctuated by having good friends stop by the station, the making of a cake with one slightly disturbing word as it’s message for the year, and the playing of tracks from 1968, both rocksteady and reggae of course.

The show begins this year with eight tracks that actually feature the year “1968” in their title, many of which were Jamaican song competition entries for that year like “Intensified ’68” by the late, great Desmond Dekker which begins this year’s show followed by the version from Lynn Taitt and The Jets going out as always to Magnus. The Three Tops punchy rhythm on “Great ’68 Train” produced by Coxsone followed and a smart reggae from producer/vocalist Clancy Eccles “Festival ‘68” ended that opening set. Of the 1968 titled tracks we played, we must say that “Come Down 68” featuring the smooth voice of Trinidadian, Kentrick Patrick, a.k.a. Lord Creator is my favorite. We so wished that Creator had cut more tracks during early reggae as his voice was made for the rhythm and the track does remind me of his masterpiece, “Such Is Life,” which he cut for Randy’s.

This year, we called out to the listeners for their favorite 1968 tracks and our good friend Melody Wining suggested the track that many people regard as the very first reggae release… “Do The Reggay,” a Beverley’s produced cut that does possess that irresistible early reggae rhythm that we love here on the show, and a lead vocal from Toots which is as always as raw and brilliant as you could ever hope for in a cut.

Finally, we want to wish love to you our Brian, Nancy, and Brett who came to the station that night to help us celebrate and to all of our listeners and friends who called or emailed good wishes throughout the day and the show.

Listen to the show via the WMBR archives here: LISTEN HERE

This link will be active until 10/28/2014

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 9/17/14: Honoring Jackie Bernard of The Kingstonians

R.I.P. Jackie Bernard

We are again saddened by the passing of another Jamaican legend, Jackie Bernard, the lead singer and founder of the seminal vocal group, The Kingstonians.  Jackie had fallen on hard times over the last decade and according to Jackie’s sister, Monica Bernard-Kelly, Jackie passed away from a pneumonia at the Kingston Public Hospital on Sept 14th.   Rafael Ruiz, a Spaniard living in Jamaica, began a foundation in January of 2014 for Jackie, who had been diagnosed with diabetes and was struggling to afford medication and treatment to battle his disease and Jackie was living in an unfurnished one room house in Maxfield, Kingston. The foundation was able to help improve his living conditions and help him get better medical attention, and for that we are grateful and send much respect to everyone involved in the Jackie Bernard Foundation.

The Kingstonians were founded in 1966 by Jackie Bernard and his brother Footy, along with their friend Lloyd Kerr, who originally recorded under the name, The Apostles, for Derrick Harriot’s Move and Groove Label, but that was short lived.  As the Kingstonians, they saw early success at JJ Johnson’s JJ label, but would continue to record for other producers as well, including Coxone Dodd, Leslie Kong, and again with Derrick Harriott.  With Harriot, they released a compilation of singles in 1970 under the album titled, Sufferer, which was the record that heightened the success of the trio. Sufferer gained much popularity in England, where it was released and distributed by the Trojan label.  After finding success with Derrick Harriot, they would return to JJ, who was also having great success with another stellar vocal group, The Ethiopians.  Over the next ten years of the 70s, Jackie Bernard would record as both a solo artist and with his fellow Kingstonians for his own Stun King label, where he would arrange and produce his own work with the writing support of his brother Footy.

On the September 17th edition of the Bovine Ska, we presented Jackie’s best work with the Kingstonians, along with his impressive solo releases to help give you an understanding of the immense talent that Jackie was.  R.I.P. Jackie.

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

This link will be active until 9/30/2014.

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 9/3/2014: The West Indians

We had a lot of fun putting together with last week’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady because we were armed at the beginning with a great 7″ from Lloyd Charmers on the Green Door label from 1973 entitled, “Save the People.” We followed up that track with another seven tasty early reggae recordings from 1969-1975, including great ones from from the magnificent Scotty and the triumphant King Stitt.

For the spotlight of the September 20th edition of the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady, we featured the rocksteady and reggae recordings from the beautiful trio known as The West Indians.

Strange Whispering on the Camel label - 1969

Strange Whispering on the Camel label – 1969

The West Indians were Leslie Burke, Hector Brooks, and Eric Donaldson. Not too much is known about Leslie Burke or Hector Brooks, but we do know a bit about Eric Donaldson. Born in 1947 in St. Catherine, Eric Donaldson originally recorded for Coxone, but, as with many other artists, Coxone decided not to release any of his recordings. After this first stint at a solo career, he joined Burke and Brooks to record as The West Indians. During their career together, The West Indians scored a minor hit in 1968 with, “Right On Time.”

Then, in 1971 Eric Donaldson released, “Cherry Oh Baby,” which won the festival song competition that year, launching his solo career. Consequently, The West Indians would exist as a vocal group for another year until 1972, when they parted ways. The West Indians best recordings happened with JJ Johnson and Lee Scratch Perry, and the spotlight began with two of their rocksteady tracks released on President in 1967.

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

This link will be active until 9/16/2014. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 8/27/14: Spotlight on the SEP Label

This August 27th, 2014 edition of the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady radio show on WMBR featured a two hour retrospective on Lindon Pottinger’s SEP Label, so you know what that means…Yes, two hours of classic skaand rocksteady produced by Pottinger from 1963 to 1967.

“Ska Is Here To Stay” by Karl Bryan from 1963

SEP Label

Years before entering the music industry, Sonia Durrant and Lindon Pottinger had experience with accounting.  After their marriage, the two began to open businesses together in Jamaica, ranging from a bicycle store to a shop that sold Sonia’s homemade patties.  However, their business focus shifted in 1961 when Lindon began producing records, and as his career progressed, he eventually established Golden Arrow, Gaydisc, and the label that is the focus of our spotlight tonight, SEP, the record label bearing Sonia’s initials. Upon the creation of the record labels, Lindon also opened a recording studio in the Pottinger home. This would be the first recording studio to be opened and owned by an Afro-Jamaican. The records from the Pottinger’s labels sold at the Tip Top record shop on Orange Street, which increased their presence on the growing music center in Kingston.

This show focuses just on the SEP releases, featuring tracks from all SEP artists including Roy and Millie, Lord Tanamo, and Winston Samuels.

Here is a link to hear this radio show from the WMBR Archive.  The link to this show will be active until September 10th, 2014.  LISTEN NOW