Merritone and Kentone Singles from Federal and Dub Store Records


Essential Singles and Lps available from Japanese label

I really don’t know why I haven’t yet told anyone and everyone I can about these revive/repressed singles from Japan, Dub Store Records have got their grubby mits on the Master Tapes from Federal records and are turning them into gold dust again, pressing up Rocksteady and Ska gems for us to purchase.

They’ve been doing it for sometime, I’ve been buying them myself for some time and they were around for a good while before I did, but I’m telling the World now, sorry I’ve been remiss, derogation of duty, 50 lashes, go to Jail, do not pass Go… blah blah blah..

The quality of the vinyl pressing is second to none and the quality of the music, well let’s just say it’s some of the best music EVER to have been recorded in Jamaica… fine stuff. They’re a little more expensive than usual, but that’s what you pay for quality.

Here’s what the label has to say about them…

Click Here For More
In 1966, Merritone label was founded as a subsidiary of Federal Records when Ska beat was slowing down its tempo to take a next musical form called Rocksteady.From sons of Ken Khouri, Paul and Richard, engineers at the Federal Records to even employees at their pressing plant – all whom involved at the label forwarded Merritone productions in a body.They recorded many songs under Merritone label. However, those only appeared on vinyl records in limited quantities in Jamaica and a small bunch of titles were released on Island label in UK. Some of the recordings never saw the light, some became hardly known and many of them now considered being ultra rare records. Thus the label became a mysterious Rocksteady production in the Jamaican musicology.

The label name is originated from Winston Blake’s sound system, Merritone. Federal Records, which was the largest record company of the time in Jamaica, often used young talented people like Winston, who knew much about trends of the fraternity for promoting their new materials. Interestingly, Federal Records used even the sound system name in this case.

Although Federal Records is known for compositions arranged by Ernest Ranglin, Trinidadian guitarist Lynn Taitt and the Jets were in charge of the Merritone recordings. Lynn Taitt took a prominent role as a forerunner of brand new Rocksteady sounds as he produced like Hopeton Lewis’s ‘This Music Got Soul.’

Merritone recordings were undoubtedly collectives of veteran musicians at Federal Records, high-technology recording facilities, traditions and proud of the record company. Many would still describe the sound so unique, elegant, sophisticated and authentic like no other.

As a part of “Story Of Federal Records – Tribute To Kenneth L. Khouri” program, Dub Store Records proudly presents 40 singles from master tapes.

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New from Pressure Sounds – LISTEN TO THE MUSIC – CALTONE’S Jamaican 45’s 1966 – 1969


In my opinion Pressure Sounds is the top re-issuer of Jamaican music and has been for some time, rivalled all too briefly by Blood and Fire and only given a run for their money by Rock A Shaka and Dub Store of Japan. Here’s their latest release ready to hit your listening ears.. I got my review copy today and I’m not even going to listen to it before I tell you to go get it.

Pressure Sounds latest as of 19th March 2012

I have their Safe Travel release and it’s essential. Considering all Caltone is essential listening and highly difficult to find and to afford, this release comes as a relief to those of us unable to pay £100 a 7″, whenever anything but the most average Caltone tune comes on the market.

It also comes as a welcome relief to having to listen to the ropey (as in poor sound quality and possible bandulu bizness) double vinyl release that came out a few years ago… Though it has to be saids the sound quality on the review copy of this up-coming release I was sent isn’t the best I think it could have been. Then again, some of the tunes are rare as the proverbial ‘urine of Zeus’.

‘Listen to the music’ is the second Pressure Sounds album of Caltone productions. Following on from the successful Pressure Sounds album ‘Safe Travel’ PSCD/LP47.

Its a 21 track set of tunes that cover the years from 1966 to 1969. From the late period ska years through to early reggae. For the most part the album is full of rare rocksteady gems.

Ken Lack  who founded the Caltone label was a businessman with a passion for music. His connections with Jamaica’s top session players resulted in a series of 45s that were both tasteful and well produced. Included in this 21 track album are tracks by Tommy McCook and the Supersonics. ‘Smooth Sailing’ and ‘Killer Joe’ are both superb horn driven instrumentals. There are three tracks by The Clarendonians led by the vocal talents of Peter Austin. ‘I’m Sorry’ and ‘Lonely  Heartaches’ are top draw rocksteady  songs.  Rare 45s that have never been re-issued since the original Jamaican pressings.

It was Bunny Lee and Phil Pratt who handled most of the hands-on production for Ken Lack although there was undoubtedly much input from Lynn Tait, Tommy McCook and Johnny Moore.

The music, recorded at WIRL, Federal and Treasure Isle studios, is filled with the kind of creativity and attention to detail that has made Caltone records so collectable to this day. When Ken Lack died in 2001 in Miami, Florida of a heart condition he left behind a unique set of recordings and should be remembered for bringing  a more  collaborative and cooperative spirit to Jamaican music.

There is an extra special booklet with many original graphics and photographs.

The mastering is all produced to a high standard and we are very pleased to add this fantastic album to our catalogue.

Track Listing

01. Peter Austin &The Clarendonians with The Ernie Ranglin All Stars – I’m Sorry
02. Lloyd & the Groovers With Tommy McCook and the Supersonics – Listen To The Music
03. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics- Killer Joe
04. Devon and The Tartans – Making Love
05. Alva Lewis with Lynn Taitt and his Band – Return Home
06. Chuck Jaques & with Lynn Taitt and the Comets  – Dial 609
07. The Uniques with Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – The Journey
08. The Kingstonians – Why Wipe The Smile From Your Face
09. The Clarendonians – I’ll Never Try
10. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – Smooth Sailing
11. The Kingstonians – Love Is The Greatest Science

12. The Clarendonians with The Aubrey Adams All Stars – Lonely Heartaches
13. The Cool Cats – Hold Your Love
14. The Uniques With The Caltone  Studio Orchestra – Do Me Good
15. The Diplomats With Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – Going Along
16. Lloyd and the Groovers with Lynn Taitt & his Band- My Heart And Soul
17. Chuck Jaques & The Supersonics – Now That You’ve Gone
18. Eric ‘Monty’ Morris – Hear Them Say
19. Honey Boy Martin &  The Voices with Tommy McCook and the Supersonics – Dreader Than Dread
20. King Rocky & The Willows with the Super Sonics – You Are The One
21. The Emotions with The Lynn Taitt Band  – Gypsy

JUMPING THE SHUFFLE BLUES – Jamaican Sound System Classics 1946 – 1960


This 3CD collects well over three hours of bona fide sound system classics that were instrumental in shaping Jamaican music as we know it today. Quite who played what first is, like the mystery of the island’s first sound, lost in the mists of time, and in truth,who cares… ‘when music is this nice you gotta play it twice!’

Every tune on the release is known to have been played on a Jamaican Sound System at one time!

Yes every tune on the triple cd release is known to have been played on a Jamaican Sound at some point, and this issue doesn’t just comprise the known massive hits of the time, like Wynonie Harris’ – Bloodshot Eyes, but includes many tunes that took years to track down, tunes that weren’t attributed to their original artistes until people more knowledgable than I discovered them. Some tunes that until this release were more widely known by their sound system nicknames, the self penned titles found on labels where the original titles had been scratched out to prevent other rival Sounds finding out what the hell you were spinning.

Released on the 20th of June.

I recently spent a number of hours in the company of Mr Phil Etgart, one of the World’s most respected collectors of Jamaican music, who compiled and researched for this release, penning the excellent and extensive sleevenotes. You can here the interview I conducted with him at his home in Southern England on the Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio Podcast. This post though is intended to whet your appetite and to alert you to the release of this fine collection.

Essential listening.

This fantastic release charts the Shuffle Blues tunes from the USA that profoundly influenced Jamaican music in the early days of it’s creation and as such is essential listening for any lover, not only of just plain old good music, but in this case records that were without doubt played in Jamaica, by Jamaicans before the island even had it’s first record pressing facility!

The tunes included on the release are as follows:

LOUIS JORDAN    SALT PORK, WEST VIRGINIA
LOUIS JORDAN    REET PETITE AND GONE
JACK McVEA    TWO TIMIN’ BABY
FELIX GROSS    WHAT’S YOUR STYLE, BABY
GENE COY    KILLER DILLER
GENE PHILLIPS    ROCK BOTTOM
JOE LIGGINS    DRIPPERS’ BOOGIE (PART1)
GENE AMMONS    JUGHEAD RAMBLE
KING PERRY    GOIN’ TO CALIFORNIA BLUES
TODD RHODES    PAGE BOY SHUFFLE
CALVIN BOZE    SAFRONIA B
EDDIE CHAMBLEE    EVERY SHUT EYE AIN’T SLEEP
GRIFFIN BROTHERS, THE    RIFFIN’ WITH GRIFFIN
HAROLD LAND ALL STARS, THE    SAN DIEGO BOUNCE
JEWEL KING    3 X 7 = 21
JOE LIGGINS    LITTLE JOE’S BOOGIE
TEDDY BRANNON    MIXIN’ WITH DIXON
T-BONE WALKER    HUSTLE IS ON, THE
ARCHIBALD    STACK-A-LEE (PARTS 1&2)
RAY-O-VACS, THE    MY BABY’S GONE
CHARLIE GONZALEZ    I’M FREE
GRIFFIN BOTHERS, THE (FEATURING MARGIE DAY)    STUBBORN AS A MULE
JACKIE BRENTSON    INDEPENDANT WOMAN
JAMES WAYNE    TEND TO YOUR BUSINESS
JIMMY McCRACKLIN    LOOKING FOR A WOMAN
MARGIE DAY & THE GRIFFIN BROTHERS    BONAPARTE’S RETREAT
WILLIS JACKSON    LATER FOR THE ‘GATOR
WYNONIE HARRIS    BLOODSHOT EYES
ROY BROWN    TRAIN TIME BLUES
ZUZU BOLLIN    WHY DON’T YOU EAT WHERE YOU SLEPT LAST NIGHT
LESTER WILLIAMS    I CAN’T LOSE WITH THE STUFF I USE
BIG JAY McNEELY    BIG JAY SHUFFLE
LOWELL FULSON    GUITAR BOOGIE
ROSCO GORDON    NO MORE DOGGIN’
LITTLE WILLIE LITTLEFIELD    KC LOVIN’ (AKA KANSAS CITY)
LLOYD PRICE    LAWDY MISS CLAWDY
SHIRLEY & LEE    I’M GONE
L’IL SON JACKSON    GET HIGH EVERYBODY
JIMMIE LEE    BLUE AND LONESOME
LYNN HOPE    HOPE, SKIP AND JUMP
PAUL BASCOMB    MUMBLES
ROSCO GORDON    TOO MANY WOMEN
LESTER WILLIAMS    BRAND NEW BABY
DAVE BARTHOLOMEW    COUNTRY GAL
HAL PAIGE    DRIVE IT HOME
AMOS MILBURN    ONE SCOTCH, ONE BOURBON, ONE BEER
SMILEY LEWIS    LITTLE FERNANDEZ
MELVIN DANIELS    NO MORE CRYING ON MY PILLOW
SONNY KNIGHT    BUT OFFICER
JIMMY LIGGINS    DRUNK
FLOYD DIXON    HEY BARTENDER
BB KING    YOU UPSET ME BABY
MIKE GORDON0    WHY DON’T YOU DO RIGHT
EARL CURRY    ONE WHOLE YEAR BABY
EDDIE CHAMBLEE    LA! LA! LA! LADY
CHAMPION JACK DUPREE    DRUNK AGAIN
JIMMY McCRACKLIN    BLUES BLASTERS’ BOOGIE
BILL DOGGETT    QUAKER CITY
SMILEY LEWIS    REAL GONE LOVER
CHARMS, THE    LING, TING, TONG
GENE & EUNICE    KO KO MO
BOP-A-LOOS, THE    SOUTH PARK MAMBO
JOHNNY ACE    PLEDGING MY LOVE
OSCAR McLOLLIE    CONVICTED
LLOYD LAMBERT    HEAVY SUGAR
T-BONE WALKER    T-BONE SHUFFLE
SHIRLEY & LEE    FEEL SO GOOD
BARBIE GAYE    MY BOY LOLLYPOP
CLARENCE ‘FROG MAN’ HENRY    AIN’T GOT NO HOME
SMILEY LEWIS     SOMEDAY (YOU’LL WANT ME)
SONNY KNIGHT    CONFIDENTIAL
ROY WRIGHT    YOU PROMISED
BIG MAYBELLE    I DON’T WANT TO CRY
DONNIE ELBERT    HAVE I SINNED
LARRY WILLIAMS    HIGH SCHOOL DANCE
FATS DOMINO    I’M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
DOC BAGBY    DUMPLIN’S
ETTA JAMES    PICK UP, THE
DAVE BARTHOLOMEW    SHUFFLIN’ FOX, THE
BOBBY DAY    OVER AND OVER
DOC BAGBY    YOU’RE SO DELIGHTFUL
LLOYD TROTMAN    TROTTIN’ IN
BIG JAY McNEELY    THERE IS SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND
JOHNNY ADAMS    I WON’T CRY
DONNE ELBERT    WILL YOU EVER BE MINE

… in fact over 80 tracks chart sound system classics on this three cd set.

Go buy your copy for under a Tenner Now!

I want Record Shelving, something for my Lps and singles!


Ikea Expedit?

NOTE Ikea Expedit NOW UNAVAILABLE, AN EQUIVALENT WE ARE TOLD IS KALLAX – General opinion is that this new range will cope with records too. but i would personally excercise some caution.

I recently moved and needed to find storage for Lps, 12″ 10″ and 7″ singles that had been up in the Attic way too long.

I posted on a few forums and did some research, settling on the Ikea Expedit range as a possible answer to my storage woes; then I had my interest in the range confirmed by a number of people who like me are music obsessives. They too had either thought of purchasing or already had bought this shelving from Ikea for their collections.

Reasons to be cheerful?

Here are some reasons why this might work for you; 15″x15″ cubes (perfect for 12″ records), a 4×4 or 5×5 cube option, delivery of the flat packs by Ikea, a pretty easy build, which you could try on your own, but is better with two and a good look and finish.

Each cube is rated to take approximately 75Lps, though actually you could fit more in each 15″x15″ ‘hole’. Friends tell me that they have completely filled their shelves and the units have stayed solid over time, so you could, and I emphasise ‘could’ consider loading them up if your collection demands.

Putting them together is, pretty easy. At least I, and I’m not some drill toting DIY’er found it so.

They fix to the wall to prevent death and disaster and once they are, are very solid. Until that moment they like trying to to turn themselves into a parralellogram, so wall fixing is essential. Though they include what ammounts to a disclaimer in their instructions, they DO include brackets with your shelves’ ‘kit’.

They are not expensive and if you take the time to work out what they would cost you purely in materials let alone the time in design and construction, you’ll want to go for the buy it now option. Your wallet will probably agree as yet again Ikea sell lower than you could imagine and to boot they have a very nice finish quality for the money you’ll be paying.

Reasons to be tearful?

The delivery charge in the UK at £35 is a tad high I feel, considering the probablility that as large a corporation as Ikea most certainly is, they’d have other deliveries pretty close by and could ‘share’ those costs around a bit better.

When constructing mine, there were some minor defects. A small part of the lamination on a shelf had been dented and pushed up, most likely in manufacture; if I’d been really smart I could have hidden this by flipping the shelf and placing it the other way round, thus placing the ‘dent’ underneath and at the back of the shelf, unfortunately I didn’t. Doh!

Biggest Worry – Also and much more importantly, on one of the load bearing side panels some of the holes (3-4) prepared to receive the pegs from the shelving levels were not drilled properly and so the pegs move around within the holes designed to receive them; this means that they will not function properly in their load bearing capacity and if you are only shelving heavy vinyl records, this is most definately a concern.

Early UK Catalogues for Jamaican Music


Melodisc, Rio, Blue Beat, Ska Beat, Dr. Bird, Island, Pyramid, Sue

On a recent visit to see Phil Etgart a well known Jamaican music collector I was told of a wonderful story of how Phil, shortly after buying a collection of records received by post a packet full of Lists and Catalogues from the seller. A packet containing lists of releases by some of the rarest and now most sought after labels in the history of Jamaican music in the UK. I’ve always had a  love the ephemera releated to the music, hence Jamaican Label Art a site I started with another mate, Ian Causer, and it’s with great pleasure and Phil’s permission that I post these here for you to see.

Mouth to Mouth – Gallery of Dolls


All Mouth and No Trousers

The following is just my opinion, this is only one persons opinion, this opinion does not impinge on you having an opinion that differs. (Please read comments).

This record was found in a charity shop a few weeks ago, I bought it because it looked interesting. It looked interesting but it didn’t sound interesting; in fact it sounded derivative and flabby. So I sold it.

In my opinion it’s got to be the best example I’ve ever seen of record collector’s self inflating hype. The only thing anyone seems to know about it, was that some guy, who many thought an authority, once said in a book everyone is meant to have read that it was rare and exceptionally sought after. I say make up your own minds about music and it’s intrinsic worth, or you may end up with a record collection full of expensive records that you never want to listen to. I have a few like that, in fact I have a few hundred like that… in fact I have a copy of something by Musical Youth somewhere, did you know that Jackie Mittoo was involved with that band… blah blah bla bl bl bla blahhh…

The buyer asked me if I had any further information about it, I didn’t, only what I had listed in my eBay description from the site Worthless Trash.

So to surmise –  the guy buying it didn’t really know what it was, the guy on the informative website didn’t really know what it was, I didn’t know what it was and I’m guessing that the guy who recommended it in his book hadn’t heard it, or he wouldn’t have recommended it.

To add – Now that this post has been up for a couple of days and garnered some interest, one ex member of the band has been in touch (see comments below) and it appears that I have upset people with my own opinions and frankness, I have now toned down the above article, removed the MP3 and wish to make certain that people know that I’m only expressing my personal opinion. It is interesting to me that I heard the tunes with open ears and with no awareness of their near mythic reputation, if you’ve never heard of, or listened to the tunes before I’d like to hear your opinion.

Subsequently, the MP3s were added to the blog on the Worthless Trash site and it seems that more than a few of the comments there currently support my opinion that the tune isn’t really very exciting.

Miracles do happen…


The scene…

Battle High street, East Sussex, 9.30am – Location – A Charity Store.

I’m leafing through a box of scratched up old Vinyl records, 45s mainly when I run across a tune I’ve wanted for a long time –

Camel – CA 17 The Scorchers – Hold On Tight / The Royals – 100lbs Of Clay 1969 – produced by Lloyd the Matador Daley

You can hear the tune here – Youtube

I buy 26 more singles on 45, mainly old Rock N’ Roll, some of it good stuff.

At 10p each the lot costs me £2.60, the Scorchers tune on it’s own is worth £30-35. Not that I’m being a bread head or anything, actually it doesn’t matter anyway really; I’ll never sell it and the tune is truly worth £35, more actually, it’s that good.

It’s just that I might have had to pay that for it one day, when and if I ran into a copy anywhere else but a Charity shop!