The first commercial record produced and sold in Jamaica
DAN WILLIAMS AND HIS ORCHESTRA – VOCAL LORD FLY MEDLEY OF JAMAICAN MENTO – MRS SSS.2033X / 01A
Much dispute arises from the question ‘who was the first producer of Jamaican music on the Island’ but it is now fairly certain that the first commercially available recording to be created by Jamaicans in Jamaica and then to be made available for purchase on the Island was DAN WILLIAMS AND HIS ORCHESTRA – VOCAL LORD FLY MEDLEY OF JAMAICAN MENTO – FAN ME SOLJA MAN FAN ME, ONE SOLJA MAN, YUH NO YEARY MRS SSS.2033X / 01A, this disc was originally released in December of 1950, though discographies record a later date of 1952. (source – ‘Calling all Singers, Musicians and Speechmakers’ 2010 – copyright Daniel T Neely).
Stanley Motta the producer had recorded the songs and then had the records pressed in the UK, possibly by Decca or a Decca subsidiary, records of exactly who manufactured them are unfortunately not forthcoming. Lord Fly the vocalist was known as an upmarket band leader and the songs and the sophisticated arrangements are those favoured by tourists visiting the Island and staying at any one of many luxury hotels there. Motta’s productions are generally recognised as sounding more upmarket, sophisticated and aimed at the visiting tourist than the rougher edged Mento productions of Ivan Chin, or in some cases Kalypso’s Ken Khouri. Khouri, who may have been the first to record on the Island, but not the first to release a commercial recording later developed Federal Records which went on to become the ‘One Stop Shop’ for the Jamaican music industry, offering as it did both as Federal and Dynamic, mastering and pressing facilities as well as recording studios and it’s own productions.
Motta also holds the honour of being the first to licence a recording produced in Jamaica for release in the UK on a UK label, namely Melodisc’s release of The Ticklers ‘Glamour Gal’.
(Thanks to Dan Neely for his help getting the details right!)