Tag Archives: jamaica

MRS Authentic Jamaican Calypsos – The Mento Series and their sleeve notes.


Authentic Jamaican Calypsos & All Jamaican Calypsos – Stanley Motta’s 10″ Lp Output

In the 1950s Stanley Motta the early Jamaican record producer, released 5 x 10″ Lps, each a collection of Mento songs and instrumentals previously released only on 78rpm single. Rare and sought after they all host a collection of illuminating sleeve notes, which reflect the perceived exoticism of a Caribbean Island holiday destination to the nascent tourist and the long held traditions of Jamaica’s people in song.

They are indispensable to any collector of early Jamaican recorded music, folk music enthusiast, or lover of the Roots of Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae. Many of the lyrics, themes and songs feature in Jamaican popular culture today and once recognised one cannot ignore Mento’s influence on all styles of Jamaican music that followed because the first recorded Jamaican song was birthed on a Mento 78rpm record, one released by Stanley Motta in 1953.

Sleeve notes . . . 

Sleeve notes can tell the interested party so much about the time, the music and the people making it, that they are offered here for those of you interested in that history, but perhaps unable to get hold of the actual Lps themselves (yet).

Authentic Calypso?

Although labelled as Calypso, this is not, this is Mento, a distinct style and genre of music, related to Calypso, the form mainly of Trinidad, but that of Jamaica. In the 1950s though an audience in the USA who had fallen for the romanticism of Calypso would consume a variety of musics, providing it had the attraction of being called Calypso, hence much Mento has wrongly been attributed to this form. It’s something that annoys those that evangelise the Jamaican style, the peculiarly distinct sound of Mento.

The Series

Numbers 1-4 feature the same cover artwork in a variety of colours, the 5th edition has an entirely different cover and is actually called ‘All Jamaican Calypsos’ though it states ‘Series 5’ on the sleeve and shares catalogue and matrices with the other volumes, BUT different sleeve notes. And finally there was a collection, again with different variant artwork to the first 5 volumes and sleeve notes, released in the U.K. on London International Records. All are pictured below, and the accompanying sleeve notes transposed for volumes 1-4, then for Series 5 and finally for the London International  Record label release. It is thought that the sole London International release may have been part of a deal in exchange for pressing the other 1-4 Authentic Jamaican Calypso series and ‘All Jamaican Calypsos’ 10″ Lps for Jamaican release. Those releases all state ‘Made In England’. The London international release was only ever sold in England as far as I can find out.

Sleeve Notes Vols 1-4

CALYPSO JAMAICA

The visitor to Jamaica can never quite forget the music of the island. He finds himself haunted by the memory of the soft murmur of the trade winds, and the breaking of the blue Caribbean on white sand shores. But more haunting than ever, above the music of nature, is the music of the streets, the endless varied obligato against which the life of Jamaica is lived. It is heard in the plaintive cal of the coconut seller, whose “Jell . . . oooooohhhh … Jell . . . oooohhhh” trumpets through the streets in the cool of the morning as he offers the tangy-sweet liquid of the green nut to thirsty passers-by. There is music in the short barking call of the fishmonger who pushes his squeaky-wheeled wagon or rides his laden bicycle from the flat of the plains to the twisted roads of the hills to bring is sparkling catch–grunts, snappers, jack, cutlass — all the glistening treasure of the deep. It is in the laughter tinged gossiping of the market-place, where broad-accented countrywoman and sophisticated city-bred higher meet to share the latest scandals.

Yes, there is music everywhere in Jamaica. It pulses in the traffic of the streets, where the brazen voices of modern auto horns argue with the sharp sudden accents of the donkey driver; it is in the quiet avenues of the suburbs where modern houses sprawl on cool green grounds; it is in the teeming slums where the crowded population finds expression in laughter, and in the provocative music-story of the island.

Jamaica’s music is the mento and calypso. Calypso is the general term that is applied to the ballad song of the islands, the song that tells a story and nudges laughter or amazement as the mood chooses. This is the fiery, fast sometimes risqué song of the troubadour who finds his inspiration in everyday happenings and spins his melodies and words to both intrigue and entertain the listener. Calypso is generally associated with Trinidad, but is a generic term, common to all the Caribbean islands.

Then there is the music that is peculiarly Jamaican — the mento. This is the specific tempo of the island. The result of the meeting of Afro-Latin influences is a distinctive beat and rhythm in the music of Jamaica that identifies it to the tuned ear. To the foreigner there is little difference, but to the Jamaican, dancing his swivel-hipped measures to the reedy prodding of bamboo flute and guitar, bongo and mambo drums, to the tuned intervals of the marimba box, it is unique, a native tempo that has it’s route through the slave chants, the French quadrille, the Spanish flamenca, the English round, all the polyglot, pulsing beats of the many people who have blended their histories and lives to make the golden people of the Caribbean.

Jamaicans are proud of their music. They are proud because in the distinctive beat of their music lies all their own history. Here is the musical meeting ground of the Chinese, the English, Welsh, Irish, Scots, the Portuguese and Spanish, in fact, all the varied people who are hidden behind the designation “Jamaican.”

In this envelope you will find captured not only the music of the Jamaican, but all of the varied tempos of the Caribbean. They are performed by native musicians, often with handmade native instruments. But always they are played with the rollicking devil-may-care musicianship that comes so naturally to the West Indian. Here you have transfixed in a record, moments of pleasurable memory.
Here you have CALYPSO JAMAICA.

Sleeve Notes Vol 5

CALYPSO JAMAICA

FullSizeRender 16. . . Jamaica’s carefree people have expressed in song all of the throbbing vitality that is so much a part of their country. Their songs are humorous, gay, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but always enjoyable. It is music with a distinctive character that marks it as unmistakably Jamaican. Its distinctiveness is a combination of the musical dialect of Jamaican speech, the unique sound of native instruments and the subtle rhythm that marks it and separates it from the music of the other West Indian islands. The musical dialect of back country Jamaicans is basically English so interwoven with colloquialisms and the burr of local accents that is is almost unintelligible to anyone not familiar with the island’s speech. It is this distinctive Jamaican accent that gives added interest to the Jamaican calypso. There is also a unique character to the music itself which derives from the hand-made instruments played by calypso troubadours. These are the bambasax, an instrument wrought from bamboo by dextrous native craftsmen, with a bit of wood from a matchbox serving as a reed; the marimba, a deep-toned bass instrument that is just a simple box with bits of metal spring called “reeds” because of their similarity to harmonica reeds, and is normally used in place of the bass fiddle; the chattering marraccas, seed-filled gourds; and a whole family of drums from tiny, tenor bongos to big-voiced congo drums. Bamboo fifes and flutes, bambolins, a violin-like instrument comprised entirely from bamboo, and such conventional instruments as guitars, saxophones, trumpets and bass fiddles add their voices to the song of Jamaica. With voice and instrument, the Jamaican calypso troubadour regales, entertains and amuses, having a wonderful time himself as he brings you . . . CALYPSO JAMAICA.

Sleeve Notes – Authentic Jamaican Calypsos – LONDON International

FullSizeRender 19The visitor to the West Indies awakes to find himself in a tropical paradise — the birds sing and speak, the waters sparkle and laugh in the dancing sunshine, the leaves rustle to the tune of it all: and all is music. The people are happy — they rise with a song and they sing all day, even as they work. The Calypso which is the fold song of the West Indies is the pièce de resistance to this wonderful setting of life and beauty. The Calypso is the crux of it all — its fascinating, pulsating beat and rhythm remain forever in the heart of the visitor stirring up vivid memories of the romance of the West Indies.

No matter where you go among these islands — Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, Grenada, Antigua — in any one of the long chain of islands, and irrespective of the language, you will hear the Calypso. It is a common link — the link in this chain of jewelled isles.

The Calypso is a form of minstrel music. The singer, or Calypsonian, cites the chief events of the time, recounts the noble or infamous deeds, as the case may be, of some person past or present. He might sing of the latest scandal or the state o politics. On the other hand, as he frequently does, he might describe some amusing incident in the everyday life of the ordinary person or comically examine the behaviour and habits of domestic and indigenous animals. The Calypso always provokes laughter. it is witty, comic, subtle, ironic. It discusses human relationships in an intimate way, yet it is not vulgar. The spice of the Calypso lies in the ability of the Calypsonian to tell you even about the most intimate things in such veiled, juicy and allegorical language that stirs you, shocks or startles you and yet leaves you to say, “Honi soit qui mal y pense” or otherwise, “Whom the cap fits let him draw the string”.

The Calypso is not only an expression of little doings and things and of great happenings, it is in itself an expression and a manifestation of the local society and tradition and its very interesting historical background and intricate blend of peoples, For once upon a time these islands were the El Dorado of the West — the rendezvouz of the buccaneers, the chosen land of pioneers and the Empire builders and the glorious battlefields of the sea-faring powers, Spices, sugar, tobacco, cotton, cocoa made them prized jewels in the Crowns of Europe, as also did their strategic position as the gateway to the Americas. Thus it was that all manner of people settled upon these islands. The indigenous Amerindians were out-numbered, decimated, and soon practically disappeared. Labour for the plantations was drawn from Africa and India. Descendants of the latter to-day form the great bulk of the population together with large numbers of persons of mixed descent having the spicy complexions drive from fusions of Spanish, French, English, Scottish, Dutch, African, Indian, Portuguese, Chinese and may others who settled there and completely mixed themselves into one solid society. The Calypso is the common denominator of all these cultures.

The pulsating rhythm of the African “tom-tom” blends with the tempo of the Spanish “quarto” and is polished off by the lilting sing-song of the French accent. The old-time Calypsonians or “chant-wells” (note the combination of French and English) used to sing in Patois or broken French. English is now commonly used for Calypso, but with the original exciting accent and intonation. It is written in four-four time, yet very subtly the singer can get in a good many words and syllables to a bar — or very few when he chooses.

Some say, a long time ago slaves on the plantations were not allowed to gossip — so the chanted to the same rhythm as their tom-toms as hey worked. these chants became cities as hey added strange words not understandable by their masters, telling of what was going on, and, in fact gossiping about their masters and the village. When “dancing the cocoa” or cutting the sugar cane or celebrating after work, these ditties became their folk songs. the leader was the “chant-well” later known as the Calypsonian.

The Carnival in Trinidad , celebrated on the two days preceding Ash Wednesday, is a relic of the old Spanish customs. At that time there is universal frolicking, singing and dancing in the streets. All sing the Calypso. The custom has greatly fostered the art of the Calypso. Trinidad’s Carnival and her very cosmopolitan background made her the home of the Calypso. From there it spread to all the other islands — to Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, etc. And now the world is getting to know of this sweet tantalising, minstrel music.

Summarising?

There are of course gaping holes in the tracery of the slightly amateurish musicology you see reflected in the sleeve notes, and yet some rather good early insights into the links shown in and around the Caribbean and it’s musical trade routes. For me the last set of notes on the purely U.K. only release on London International shows a mildly patronising attitude, awash with the kind of romantic notions that refused to engage with the pain of slavery, African servitude and the serfdom of other indentured ethnicities on the island. It also looks at the music therein from the angle of Calypso, and almost completely ignores the very Jamaican nature of the release, the differences between Mento and Calypso or the individuality of Jamaica.

In short all of the sleeve notes are much better than I would expect from what can be a rather blinkered and one dimensioned western approach to any and all cultural pursuits of non European ethnicity in a then 1950s world.

All the issues talk of the cultural influence of speech patterns, Patois, city hubbub and in mentioning the “chant-well” the notes are harking to the West African Griot praise singing and the very culture that helped give rise to Calypso in particular.

I’m also personally intrigued to find or see and more importantly hear a bambolin!
To my knowledge even with a large Mento collection at my listening disposal, I never have.

©MIKE MURPHY Feb 2019

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Los Apartamentos – Water Di Garden


Los Apartamentos’ debut Lp – Water Di Garden – Due out April 2019

If you know Mento, you’ll know Count Lasher’s track for Stanley Motta, ‘Water The Garden’, all about a young man who is unhappily exposed, and haffi ‘Reel Out The Hose’ while watering his lady boss’s jardin, and hopefully not a Jardin Publique as I&I French would a say, or things could have got illegal, yah get mi Fam?

FullSizeRender 10

So while mooching about the Mento driven corners of the internet one ‘Winston’ of Mento band Los Apartamentos and I got in touch with one another. I had immediately responded favourably to the tongue in cheek band name, as I’ve always wanted to have a Pan Pipe group called ‘Los Pastillas Urinarios’ (the toilet blocks, you know those rancid chunks of pineapple in the urinals, uh huh .. yep that.. ), and I think Winston could spot a fellow lover of Jamaican Mento music too, as did I.

These boys look interesting I muttered to myself while flicking through Instagram. Winston by then had also hooked up with my radio show bigmikeydread reggae radio, and he showed an obvious love for the Mento I was playing on it, educating me about Calypso in Germany, where the band hails from and which has a long history of interest in Calypso and Mento; as do one or two other northern European countries like the Netherlands and Belgium.

Then a short while ago he posted a video of a tourist postcard which played Mento, one of those old records on cardboard affairs. It took me a while to realise it wasn’t a 50s-60s antique collector’s item, but his band’s promotional item, for an Lp entitled ‘Water Di Garden’ due out on April 19th on Jump Up Records. www.jumpuprecords.com

I expressed an interest and today his ‘promo pack’ landed, the postcard went straight on my turntable, and you can view a video of it spinning below. I do apologise that the sound on my short video is woeful, but it’s such a nice object, I had to show you all.

Lost Apartamentos
German Mento band Los Apartamentos are busy playing Mento, the lost music of Jamaica

Basically the guys came together out of a love of Ska and Jamaican music in the city of Cologne, trading old instruments for new ones, they built a bass lammelophone (Rhumba Box) and off they went. Spreading the music and the joy for a few years before being invited to record an album by Chuck Wren of Jump Up Records.

Rather wonderfully they recorded to one Mic, just as the producers of early Mento had during the balmy night time recording sessions of noisy 1950s Kingston, and that Lp of one take renderings of vintage Mento songs is released in April of 2019. I’ll definitely be checking it out, the small excerpt on the postcard promo sounds pukka, and that’s pukka to the ears of a highly over-critical lover of Mento who would tell you in a trice if it sounded a mockery in any sense.. it doesn’t, it sounds sweet.

Check back here for a review hopefully later this year. I’ll be getting hold of a copy for sure.

©2019 Murphy ☜

Earth A Run Red – Richie Spice


A completely essential single to have and to hold.

So this is the first of a new ‘series’ of ‘tunes’ that I in my infinite pretentiosity consider essential to have and to hold, to own, to rest easy ‘pon the record shelving.

It won’t just be Reggae music, but anything that I include, but anything that is pure essential listening, but more than that essential to have, to hold, to be physical with (let’s get physical, physical, let me hear your body talk…), none of that Spotify or iTunes shit, none of that ‘I got a collection of 20,000 tune dem, only to find out that .. Im’ got 20,000 Mp3 deh!! .. pure fuckery .. chaw….

This is/was a pure and strong new Roots anthem, ethereal lyrics, solid, meant and  meaningful, forward moving, a pleading anthem against violence and the culture of black on black crime. More so though, just a beautiful almost acapella from a smoke laden larynx, pure genius  ++ lyrically, this is one to stop the dance but still kill the sound ++ spiritually.

lyric selection, without objection…

I hear a next youth dead yeah

Hey watch the places you walk and mind
The way you talk
Watch out fi the vampire who will sneak up in the dark
Watch out for the big time thief who claim sey that them smart
Stop bringing the crack and the gun to mash up the youth dem heart
Earth a run red
Songwriters: Richell Bonner / F. Pitter / L. Corniffe
Earth a Run Red lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Heretical Heartfelt Article
Murphy © Musical Traces 2019
Respect.

Mento, not Calypso – Fantastic Voyage Double Cd to be released


Mento, not Calypso – Fantastic Voyage Double Cd to be released

mentonotcalypsoDue out on the 12th of August this year (2013) hopefully Mento lovers and the general music loving public will enjoy this double cd of Jamaica’s very own vintage music. With 51 songs in the main dubbed from 78rpm singles and some from hard to find early Long Playing Lps, there should be something on it that pleases the ears of Mento mad music lovers. At least I hope so, because I had the joy of compiling it.

Currently it’s available on pre-release on Amazon here – See it on Amazon

Entirely from my own collection

Entirely taken from my own collection of rare 78rpm discs, I am told that the track listing will be, as I submitted, please see below. Though the label Fantastic Voyage have not confirmed that as I write, it seems likely.

What the hell is on it then?

Many of the songs have never been widely available and even for the avid collector, may not be well known. Being able to include some of the songs from an album called MONTEGO BEACH HOTEL CALYPSO BAND which likely features Lord Lebby and may have been produced by Stanley Motta for the hotel was for me a highlight. I tried really hard not to repeat too many songs that have already seen digital release, though did include some, where for instance they have only appeared once elsewhere, or have been duplicated on less than ‘pukka’ releases. I was helped in the dubbing/recording of the discs by Port O Jam, and I understand to some degree they have been ‘restored’ since, though until I hear the final cds, I won’t know how heavily. I hope they leave a good level of texture to the cd release, though understandably the hiss of a 78rpm record and the obvious scratches that walk with a recording that’s over 50 years old may not be to everyone’s taste.

Bases covered?

Hopefully I covered a number of bases, Rural Mento, Hotel Mento, both the rootsy and more commercial sounds, I wanted to include records created by the main movers in  Mento in the 50s and early 60s and so have included recordings produced by Chin, Tewari, Khouri and Motta, and sung by singers like Count Lasher, Lord Power, Harold Richardson etc. It also includes some of  the earliest recorded work by Lord Flea for Khouris pre Federal Times Record label.

At the same time hopefully I’ve made the two cd albums work in their own right, providing and entertaining overall ‘listen’ and not just a collection of individual songs.

Witter on why don’t you?

I won’t witter on, but I think it will be a more than welcome addition to anyone’s collection of Jamaican Mento, early Jamaican and Caribbean music. If you love Mambo, Cuban Jazz, Paranda, Ska or are a World Music and Folk fan, you’ll find loads on it to excite. Put it this way, If I hadn’t compiled it, or already collected the tunes, I’d be very very excited to get hold of a copy.

Tracklisting:

As I write this is the assumed track listing. Please excuse the Upper and Lower case . . .
cd1
01 Sir Horace and His Merry Knights  – Vocal – Horace Abrahams – Mambo Jamaica
02 TOWER ISLANDERS, THE – BROWN SKIN GAL
03 MONTEGO BEACH HOTEL CALYPSO BAND (FEAT. LORD LEBBY) – RED HEAD
04 GEORGE MOXEY QUARTET – VOCALIST – CLYDE HOYTE – MONTEGO CALYPSO
05 LORD TICKLER – MEDLEY – SWEETIE CHARLEY – MR. PARNEY – MANGO WALK
06 Jamaican Calypsonians – Vocal – Hubert Porter – Mary’s Lamb – The More We Are Together
07 Count Lasha and his Calypsonians – Calabash
08 Jamaican Calypsonians, The – Vocal – Lord Flea – Wheel And Turn Me
09 Chin’s Calypso Sextet – Vocal – A. Bedasse – Give Her Love aka Woman’s Tenderness
10 Wigglers, The – Vocal – Denzil Laing – Limbo
11 Jamaica Boy (Denzil Laing) and his Kingston Calypso Orchestra – Man Is Smart, Woman’s Smarter
12 Jamaican Calypsonians – Vocal – The Mighty Panther – The Talking Parrot
13 BABA MOTTA AND HIS ORCHESTRA (VOCALS BEN BOWER) – KITCH
14 LORD POWER – PENNY REEL
15 Dan Williams and his Orchestra – Vocal Lord Fly – Calypso – Whai Whai Whai
16 HAROLD RICHARDSON – GREEN GUAVA
17 Ticklers, The – Vocal – Harold Richardson – Hard Hearted Lover (Man Could A Smart)
18 COUNT LASHER WITH GEORGE MOXEY AND HIS CALYPSO QUINTET – THE OLE MAN’S DRIVE
19 Local Calypso Quintet – Vocal – A. Bedasse – Honeymoon
20 MONTEGO BEACH HOTEL CALYPSO BAND (FEAT. LORD LEBBY) – HOLD ‘IM JOE
21 TOWER ISLANDERS, THE – ADVICE TO MEN
22 Dan Williams and his Orchestra – Vocal Lord Fly – Transportation Kingston Style
23 Jamaican Calypsonians, The – Vocal – Lord Flea – Donkey City
24 COUNT OWEN AND HIS CALYPSONIANS – TAKE HER TO JAMAICA
25 Count Lasha and his Calypsonians – Calypso Cha Cha Cha
26 Lord Power and His Calypsonians – Mambo La La

Cd2
01 Sir Horace and His Merry Knights  – Vocal – Horace Abrahams – Morgan’s Mento
02 Lord Power and His Calypsonians – Special Amber Calypso
03 LORD TICKLER – LIMBO
04 COUNT OWEN AND HIS CALYPSONIANS – BROWN SKIN GAL
05 REYNOLDS CALYPSO CLIPPERS – VOCALIST BOYSIE GRANT – TENOR BANJO – EDDIE BROWN – SOLUS MARKET
06 Jamaican Calypsonians, The – Vocal Lord Lebby – Ethiopia
07 Chin’s Calypso Sextet – Vocal – A. Bedasse – Industrial Fair
08 Count Lasha and his Calypsonians – Dalvey Gal – Parson
09 Jamaican Calypsonians – Vocal – Hubert Porter – Miss Goosie
10 Jamaican Calypsonians, The – Vocal – Lord Flea – Mattie Rag, Brown Skin Gal
11 Ticklers, The – Vocal – Harold Richardson – Parish Gal
12 Jamaican Calypsonians – Vocal – The Mighty Panther – Cinemascope
13 MONTEGO BEACH HOTEL CALYPSO BAND (FEAT. LORD LEBBY) – BACK TO BACK, BELLY TO BELLY
14 Jamaican Calypsonians – Vocal – Hubert Porter – Miss Daisy And Brown Skin Girl
15 Count Lashers Calypso Quintet – Vocal Count Lasher – Trek To England
16 George Moxey and his Calypso Quintet – Vocal by Joseph Clemendore (Cobra Man) – My Brother Calamity
17 CHIN’S SEXTET (VOCALS A. BEDASSE) – ADAM AND EVE
18 Jamaica Boy (Denzil Laing) and his Kingston Calypso Orchestra – Mary Ann, Brown Skin Gal
19 Count Lasha and his Calypsonians – Perseverence
20 Jamaican Calypsonians – Vocal – Hubert Porter – Ugly Woman
21 Jamaican Calypsonians, The – Vocal – Lord Flea – Run Mongoose, Linstead Market
22 Count Lashers Calypso Quintet – Vocal Count Lasher – Water The Garden
23 MONTEGO BEACH HOTEL CALYPSO BAND (FEAT. LORD LEBBY) – BLOODSHOT EYES
24 Local Calypso Quintet – Vocal – A. Bedasse – Money Is King
25 TOWER ISLANDERS, THE – HOLD ‘IM JOE

Finally I wanted to sa:

‘I WOULD LIKE TO DEDICATE THIS RELEASE TO MIKE HINDLE, CHARLIE REGGAE, IAN CAUSER, PHIL ETGART & LOL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY, RICHARD NOBLETT, RON GEESIN AND THOSE INVOLVED IN THE BOOGU YAGGA GAL CD RELEASE FOR INSPIRATION, DAN NEELY & ALL MUSICAL ENTHUSIASTS EVERYWHERE, TO JAMAICA, & TO THE ORIGINAL ARTISTES AND PRODUCERS OF THESE SONGS, TO ALL FAMILY BUT MOST ESPECIALLY TO MY DAD BARRY MURPHY WHO ONCE RECORDED AND COMPILED AN LP FOR FOLKWAYS RECORDS & INSPIRED MANY MUSICALLY THROUGHOUT HIS LIFE.’
– THANKS ALL’

Bigmikeydred Reggae Radio meets House of Reggae – Brand New Second Hand


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This was such a pleasure, good fun with a good friend, nuff new tunes from a West London ‘that day’ trawl gave rise,..
Hope you enjoy the obvious frivolities…

Tracks are:

1.PETER TOSH – BRAND NEW SECOND HAND
2.GENERAL TREES – PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALLER
3.SIMPLE SIMON – CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
4.MICHAEL PALMER – GUNSHOT A BUST
5.EARLY B – SUNDAY DISH
6.JOSEY WALES – BOBO DREAD
7.ERROL SCORCHER – FROG IN THE WATER
8.DERRICK MORGAN – BETTER JAMAICA / DUB
9.DELROY WILSON – LOVE GOT ME DOING THINGS
10.DELROY WILSON – HAVE MERCY
11.JAH STITCH – FULL CONTROL
12.SELVIE WONDER & LUCIANO – NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
13.LUCIANO – JONAH
14.RETREAT!!! PLEASE RETREAT, BACK TO WHENCE YOU CAME!
15.CUTTY RANKS – RETREAT (SOUND BOY SURRENDER)
16.TERROR FABULOUS – COOL WHEN MI COME ‘BOUT
17.U-ROY – HAT TRICK
18.TALL MAN A DON
19.TRINITY – TEEN JAM
20.SHABBA – HARD N’ STIFF
21.JOSEY WALES – WANT NO A.I.D.S.

You can donate to Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio here – http://bigmikeydread.podomatic.com/ look down the right hand side and hit the Paypal button.
Your donations are the ONLY funding the show receives and are what keeps it going! – THANK YOU.

You can hook up with the show and Mikey at the Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio Facebook Group – http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_5364049933

Thanks for listening, and come back soon for the bestest in Jamaican music, chat, sillyness, then and now. – all the best – Mikey

And you can read about interesting stuf on Mikey’s Blog at – https://bigmikeydread.wordpress.com/

[PLAY]

Lloyd Knibbs dies


Legendary Skatalites’ Drummer Lloyd Knibbs passes away.

Primarily known for developing the sound of Ska alongside the Skatalites Ska ‘Supergroup’ of the 1960s Lloyd Knibbs was a true foundation stone in the sonic wall of Jamaican sound. A pivotal point about which the music has since turned.

Legend has it that he started off his percussive career on little else than boxes and bean tins, and was taken on for his rhythmic apprenticeship by the likes of Sonny Bradshaw and Eric Deans, both highly respected band leaders of on island show bands in the early and pre-Ska days of Jamaican music.

Like so much else in Jamaica ‘the drums’ are a physical trace of the African current running through the islands cultural life and Knibbs carried and channeled this tradition. More than any other instrument, percusssion retains a thread of history and ancestry within Jamaican music and as a drummer Knibbs was the living embodiment of ‘Roots Music’.

Yet is was his role in generating and creating Jamaica’s first truly self-proclaimed musical style that draws main interest.

Ska took the form of pre independence excitement and mixed it with musical influences far and wide, American Jazz, Black US R&B, Mento and Calypso; yet in this re-configuration a new overview was required, a new glue to stick all these diverging elements together in the new form, that of Ska.

If you listen to the arrangement and instrumentation of a typical Ska piece, more than any other element in the whole, the rhythm and therefore the drumming were re-invented, re-styled, re-configured, adapted and re-arranged to shape Ska and it’s individuality. Knibbs was the most important Ska drummer on the island at that or any other time and he therefore was quite possibly the most important figure in and to Ska music, a style which once invented lives on to this day in countless bands Worldwide.

Post Ska Knibbs made all the right choices and went on to drum for Tommy McCook and the Supersonics, the chief house band at Treasure Isle and the slickest and possibly most influential of the Rocksteady era.

He was born in 1931 in Kingston Jamaica, and died of Liver cancer, having returned in the last hours of his life to Jamaica from the States where he had lived for some time on the 12th May 2011.

Father’s Day Top Ten Jamaican Songs


Cedric ‘Im Brooks and the Light of Saba – Song For My Father

Dennis Brown – Created By The Father

The Lyrics –  Hear What The Old Man Say

Pat Kelly – Daddy’s Home

Freddie McKay – Praising The Father

Lloyd and Patsy – Papa Do It Sweet

Luciano – Come Down Father

Derrick Morgan – Father Killam

The Maytals – Daddy

Sugar Minott – This Old Man

Calypso Date! MRS LOML 503 12″ Mento Lp


Oh that smile!

Calypso Date – MRS Lp LOML 503

For those Mento mad amongst you here are some details that I hope you will find of interest. Click on the images for larger versions of the files, and in the case of the rear cover, readable text, though I will include that text here for all to see. The sleeve notes are unusually well written and include descriptions of the songs and their background history in some cases.

Details:

LP    MRS    VARIOUS ARTISTES    CALYPSO DATE    LOML 503    SMOL 105 1B    STANLEY MOTTA    JAMAICA    1950s

(anyone out there have a date of release, if so please contact me here at Musical Traces)

Sleeve Notes:

The most remarkable feature of this album is its variety. Here is represented the whole broad gamut of Jamaica’s music, the sly, ironic humour, the warm spontaneity, the carefree and gay attitude towards life that is so much part of Jamaica. This music is bred of the brilliant colour and contrasts that inspire the Jamaican troubadour; and out of it flows the endless, subdued excitement that life in one of the world’s most beautiful islands inspires.

In this album are Calypsos and Mentos. The Calypso is the generic ballad of the Caribbean, the song that is inspired by the life of the community – the young girl who lives gaily but not wisely; the house with the leaking roof. These are the creations of Calypsonians who vie with each other to create songs of humour, of double meaning, of perceptive wit. The Mento is the music of Jamaica, the solid, thumping rhythm of music that in its beat and texture is subtly Jamaican, as distinguishable to the tuned ear as is the difference between the Merengue of Haiti and the Samba of Brazil. And there are the other ageless songs, those that are chanted by workmen as they bend their muscles to rhythmic work saved from monotony by song, or the gay song of welcome when the pretty young girl comes to visit.

These are the songs and the sounds of Jamaica, ever exciting and interesting, that will become familiar and beloved as you listen to them. This is the music of a beautiful land, inspired by its ageless hills and white sand beaches, its gay, laughing people and the rhythm of its sun-bright days. This is the music for you on your Jamaican date.

The songs:

SIDE 1

Linstead Market – The ackee is an attractive fruit of red, yellow and black, and when combined with salted cod makes one of the most popular native dishes. This song tells the sad tale of a higgler in the famous market of Linstead, on the road to Ocho Rios, who fails to find customers to buy her ackees at Saturday market.

The Naughty Little Flea – The humble flea occurs in the songs of many countries. If you listen carefully to the lyrics you’ll chuckle at the rather unique situation in which the little insect found itself.

Hill and Gully Ride – A rousing shout song that is used by Jamaican workmen. It follows the pattern of many rhythmic work songs in its responsive form, and is a folk song of rather more antiquity than the calypso which has been popular recently.

Matilda (and) Gal-A-Gully – The first is a Jamaican adaptation of a Trinidad song, one in which a hardworking young man is deceived by a scheming young miss who lifts his money and takes off for Venezuela. The second is Jamaican, the plaintive comment of a granny who asks her grandaughter just why she is going to the gully…’A Whey you-a go a-gully fa’.

This Long Time Gal A Never See You – A happy song of welcome, the lyrics of which are self-explanatory.

The Little Fly – Anyone who has had to clean a mirror can appreciate some of the more irritating habits of the fly. This song is one man’s comment.

SIDE2

Take Her To Jamaica – This song has become a standard in Jamaica. It is sung by calypsonians on all occasions and gives very good advice indeed.

Kitch – Lord Kitchener is one of the finest of the Trinidad calypsonians, and this song recounts his experiences with a rather insistent young lady.

Dry Weather House – It seldom rains heavily in Jamaica, but when it does all the defects of a house that is suited to dry weather show up.

Healin’ In De Balm Yard – The balm yard in Jamaica is the gathering place of members of a primitive evangelical sect. To balm yard gatherings they bring their troubles and woes where these can be banished.

Limbo – One of the most exciting dances, the limbo is done to a repetitious song that is almost hypnotic in its appeal. Some of the excitement and verve of this African ritual is caught in this song.

Brown Skin Gal – A young lady is told to take life more seriously. Rather than spend so much time living the high life, she is told to ‘Stay home and mind baby’.

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‘Looking Back’ – The Jamaican Chart Hits of 1958 & 1959


Fabulous double cd charts the tunes that influenced and gave rise to so much Jamaican musical output.

Just been turned on to a double cd out this year (2011) from Sunrise records, which collects mainly U.S. Pop and R&B tunes that were charting just as Jamaica’s own recording industry was developing into the world dominating force it would become.

Though Jamaica released its first home produced and recorded single 78rpm in 1952, it was the era of Ska music during and post independence that popularised Jamaican music worldwide. In the meantime homegrown sound systems were playing American Pop and R&B hits, interspersed with some homegrown talent & Jazz.

This double cd aims to collect some of those tunes together, many which were the blueprint for future Ska instrumentals, early and later Reggae vocal outpourings and whose influence are still being felt today.

Sleeve notes

Though of course the sleeve notes suffer from being legible only to mice or studious men with thick prescription lenses, such as they are contained within a cd booklet, they are however extensive and an education in themselves. Those that are behind this release have most certainly not skimped on effort!

Tabu

It’s one of very few places (and the cheapest by far) that you will find ‘Tabu’ by Cyril Diaz, the prototype for the Gaylads and then of course Dennis Brown’s ‘Africa’.

Flavour

And if you want to get a flavour for the music that turned Jamaicans on at the end of the 1950s this is a great place to start, and sure beats trying to pick up and pay for US R&B 78s from the USA.

Respect goes to Musical Traces friend Phil Etgart who advised on the project and is quite obviously from the sleeve notes responsible for a good deal of the knowledge contained within them.

Here’s a track list:

HARRY BELAFONTE WITH ROB GORMAN’S ORCHESTRA    ISLAND IN THE SUN
LORD TANAMO    SWEET DREAMING
GENE & EUNICE    VOW, THE
RAYS, THE    SILHOUETTES
BOBETTES, THE WITH THE REGGIE OBRECHT ORCHESTRA    MR LEE
LARRY WILLIAMS & HIS BAND    HIGH SCHOOL DANCE
SAM COOKE WITH THE BUMPS BLACKWELL ORCHESTRA    YOU SEND ME
LAUREL AITKEN    NIGHTFALL IN ZION (AKA ROLL RIVER JORDAN)
CLYDE McPHATTER WITH ORCHESTRA & CHORUS    ROCK & CRY
ERNIE FREEMAN    DUMPLIN’S
JIMMY McCRACKLIN & HIS BAND    WALK, THE
MILSON LUCE WITH THE JOHNNY WALLACE SEXTET    DON’T BREAK YOUR PROMISE
LOUIS PRIMA WITH SAM BUTERA & THE WITNESSES    BUONA SERA
PLATTERS, THE    TWILIGHT TIME
BILL DOGETT    HONKY TONK, PART 1
FATS DOMINO    SICK & TIRED
CHUCK WILLIS WITH THE JESSE STONE ORCHESTRA    C.C. RIDER
NAT ‘KING’ COLE & THE FOUR KNIGHTS WITH DAVE CAVANAUGH’S MUSIC    LOOKING BACK
HUEY (PIANO) SMITH & THE CLOWNS    HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
CYRIL X. DIAZ & HIS ORCHESTRA    TABU
LOUIS JORDAN & HIS TYMPANY FIVE    SHOW ME HOW (YOU MILK THE COW)
IMPERIALS, THE    TEARS ON MY PILLOW
PEREZ PRADO & HIS ORCHESTRA    GUAGLIONE
LITTLE WILLIE JOHN    FEVER
EARL GRANT WITH ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY CHARLES ‘BUD’ DANT    END, THE
LAUREL AITKEN    SWEET CHARIOT
COUNT OWEN & HIS CALYPSONIANS FEATURING EUTON GAYLE AND HIS BANJO    HOOL-A-HOOP CALYPSO
JIMMY CLANTON & HIS ROCKETS    JUST A DREAM
LLOYD PRICE WITH DON COSTA AND HIS ORCHESTRA    STAGGER LEE
COUNT OWEN & HIS CALYPSONIANS FEATURING EUTON GAYLE AND HIS BANJO    ISLAND IN THE SUN
PLATTERS, THE    SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES
FRANKIE FORD WITH HUEY (PIANO) SMITH & HIS ORCHESTRA    SEA CRUISE
EARL GRANT    EVENING RAIN
HUEY (PIANO) SMITH & THE CLOWNS    LITTLE CHICKEE WHA WHA
COASTERS, THE    CHARLIE BROWN
THREE PLAYMATES, THE    SUGAH WOOGA
WADE FLEMONS & THE NEWCOMERS    HERE I STAND
OSCAR McLOLLIE & ANNETTE BAKER WITH GOOGIE RENE & HIS ORCHESTRA    HEY GIRL – HEY BOY
LLOYD PRICE WITH DON COSTA & HIS ORCHESTRA    PERSONALITY
JACKIE WILSON    THAT’S WHY (I LOVE YOU SO)
BILLY HOPE & THE BAD MEN    RIDING WEST
LITTLE JIMMY SCOTT    I MAY NEVER (SEE MY BABY ANYMORE)
ERNIE FREEMAN & HIS COMBO    LIVE IT UP (AKA BEARDMAN SHUFFLE)
MIGHTY SPARROW, THE    DEAR SPARROW
LEE ANDREWS & THE HEARTS    IT’S ME (AKA WHAP WHAP)
WILBERT HARRISON    KANSAS CITY
PROFESSOR LONGHAIR    NO BUTS, NO MAYBES
ROSCO GORDON    NO MORE DOGGIN’
DRIFTERS, THE    THERE GOES MY BABY
JOHNNY & THE HURRICANES    RED RIVER ROCK
LAUREL AITKEN & THE BOOGIE CATS    BOOGIE ROCK
LOUIS JORDAN & HIS TYMPANY FIVE    G.I. JIVE
FATS DOMINO    BE MY GUEST
HAL PAIGE & THE WHALERS    GOING BACK TO MY HOMTOWN
HAWKS, THE    I-YI
LAUREL AITKEN    COME BACK JEANNIE
TERRY & JERRY    PEOPLE ARE DOING IT EVERYDAY
GONE ALL STARS, THE    7-11 (AKA MAMBO NO5)
FITZ-VAUGHAN BRYAN’S ORCHESTRA WITH VOCALS BY KENTRICK PATRICK    EVENING NEWS

http://www.sunspotrecords.co.uk/Sunspot_Records.html

In the wake of the R&B speedboat


Suddenly, what’s happened to me…

Recently I’ve beaten new musical paths and find myself away from the Reggae (for that read Jamaican) road that I was on, buying Mento which is on the outskirts of town and US R&B, which is a short flight away.

Normally what happens as I follow the ‘Reggae’ route, is that one ‘thing’ leads to another, one producer, one Studio, one label artwork, one whatever…. but I’ve ended up on a back road as far as Jamaican music goes and really need a new jumping off point…

One of my problems is that I have a very varied taste for Jamaican music and listen (and therefore collect some originals) from the early 50s through to the Mid 80s, with even a few tunes from right up to the last few years thrown in for seasoning. This has meant that I havn’t concentrated on any one label/producer/genre/ or era and somehow, this in turn, has conspired to mire my listening and collectdom in the potholes of said back routes to a musical nowhere’sville ….

So for a while I buy a few (expensive) Pama singles, then (expensive) Mento 78s (which I am still), some original (expensive) Rocksteady, I’m not picking up on anything that’s leading me elsewhere and I’m feeling a little bereft, losing my religion, it’s like I’m spurning the affections of my best friend, one I’ve had for a decade or more.

What should I do, is it a problem, do you have a suggested new turning to take me back to the interstate, the airport and thence to the tropical paradise once again? Or should I leave Jamaica somewhat in the wake of the R&B speedboat and indulge my desire to purchase only Atlantic 78s, mainly those with Joe Turner, Thurston Harris, Clyde McPhatter and Ray Charles on?