Sometimes the object is enough in it’s own right
There is so much you can learn from just one object, one step in your collecting and accumulation. This sleeve is just one such object. (Pictured Below), it was very kindly sent to me by a seller on eBay, gratis, thanks Phil, you know who you are!
To begin with; it came with a 78rpm single of Tab Smith’s ‘My Mother’s Eyes’ on Down Beat in it. This tune was Duke Reid’s sign on tune for his Treasure Isle Time radio show in Jamaica in the early days of Jamaica’s self-produced musical excursions, it is also on an interesting record label – Down Beat.
Down Beat was the label owned by Dada Tewari a wealthy immigrant to Jamaica of Indian extraction. He owned this label and the Caribou label; which alongside a staple diet of Mento and Calypso featured some of the earliest self-produced Jamaican Shuffle Blues, Boogie and Ska productions, notably those featuring Cuban Laurel Aitken, later to be the Skinheads Reggae and Ska artiste of choice.
Down Beat as far as I am aware exclusively licensed and released U.S. music, mainly American Shuffle Blues, Jazz and Rhythm and Blues, the Tab Smith tune, being an example of this. The records were as far as I am aware, pressed in Jamaica.
Stanley Motta was Jamaica’s first producer to release a record recorded in Jamaica, in Jamaica. By that I mean, the song was both recorded in a studio in Jamaica and then given release there, up until this release. ‘DAN WILLIAMS AND HIS ORCHESTRA – VOCAL LORD FLY MEDLY OF JAMAICAN MENTO on MRS SSS.2033X / 01A released 1952 (probably recorded late ’51) nothing recorded in the actual country had been released there as far as is known. There are some people, notably Ernest Ranglin, who claim that Jamaican Mento was recorded in New York, sometime before this ’52 release and of course there were people recording in Jamaica, like Ken Khouri around this time, just that they had not at this point actually released anything commercially. The sleeve you see contained one of the single 78rpm discs produced by Motta and his company.
Further useful information can be gleaned as to exactly where his operation was located and what songs had up to the point of this sleeve’s printing, been released from the sleeve.
One small simple and rather tattered object can tell you so much about musical history.
Just out from Soul Jazz, most recent purveyors of all that is Studio One related in the UK (music and otherwise) comes this coffee table booky wook, collecting some of the covers from Studio One’s catalogue for your viewing pleasure, though if you collect the Lps, you’ll have a significant amount of the artwork already.
It’s nice to have and there are a few you may not have seen before, such as the Tabernacle Gospel Lp covers or the Sri Chimnoy Lp (now legendary as a rarity) but there isn’t a lot here to stun an enthusiast for the label. Frankly that’s been the case with most of Soul Jazz’s output of Studio One material musically and so it is visually, also.
They (SJ) I think have missed a complete trick, in that on occasion they mention the sleeve notes and quote from them, they could have included many more, for the quirky nature of them are well-known and often amusing or enlightening. Including the cover of the Lp Pirates Choice (which has never it seems been reproduced as anything but a muddy turdish greeny brown of a poorly registered example of what NOT to do if you are a Litho printer) seems odd too. There are more Lps they could have chosen from, with more to offer the viewer, casual or otherwise.
There is no logic or rhyme to the choices made and to the inclusion of some of the more recent Lp covers, which have little or no individually distinctive style whatsoever.
The forward by Steve Barrow is little more than yet another introductory level run through of Jamaican music history, though generally accurate for all that and still an engaging read for the newly converted. Though it should be mentioned that no Mento was ever to my knowledge released by Tewari on Down-Beat, only on sister label Caribou.
Hi Bogumils here to see pretty. I have more, more complete documentation so great ugliness Turbo Power for my friends to see, I hope you enjoy them as much as Bogumil and his farm hands to do?
DEVON RUSSEL AND THE FIREHOUSE CREW PRESENTS – SOMETHING SPECIAL Vinyl Lp KJLP 003 – A1
A1 DADDY FREDDIE AND PRINCE LINCOLN LOVE SWEET JAMAICA
A2 JUNIOR DAN AND GENERAL LEVY GIMME LITTLE LOVE
A3 MIKEY GENERAL AND D.C. NINGA I AM SURE
A4 DEVON RUSSELL RAM DANCE HALL
A5 DANNY COXON BADNESS NO PAY
B1 JUNIOR DAN AND GENERAL LEVY WILD ANIMAL
B2 LUKIE D WHEY YOU COME FROM
B3 NITTY GRITTY TWYLIGHT GATES
B4 TENNESSEE BROWN TEN TO ONE
B5 DEVON RUSSELL AND CULTURAL ROOTS SOMETHING SEPCIAL
I love it when the hens come home to roost! Also, I found this MINT copy of Dread A Go Dread by Pipe and the Piper, which is actually a great harmony group Roots vocal by the Wailing Souls as Doorpeeper kindly reminded me.