Tag Archives: Laurel Aitken

Musical Artifact no1 – Stanley Motta MRS 78rpm Record Sleeve


There is so much you can learn..

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!

Tab Smith and the Duke

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

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.

Motta and MRS

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.

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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

You’ll Never Know – 18 track Caribou label Ska Selection


As rare as rocking horse shite

Typically, Drum and Bass / Rock A Shacka Records excel themselves pour une autre fois with this Cd.

YES it’s a little expensive, at about £18 in the UK for a bona fide copy (cheaper than D&B records in the past though it has to be said).

Baba (or Dada) Tewari was a Jamaican executive producer and one of the founding fathers of the Jamaican record industry, siring as he did Caribou records, which initially put out homegrown Mento on 78rpm and later both Mento, Calypso. Boogie, Shuffle, R&B and Ska.

His productions are generally rare and difficult to find and this cd groups together some doozies. All good tunes and some killer minor key scorching hot Ska.

Drum and Bass are based in Japan and have for some time offered some of the best Roots, Rocksteady and Ska to be found being revived and repressed on the planet.

The quality is extremely good and though the tunes are very hard to find, the copies they have sourced and the restoration must have been of the highest order. Though grouping what are in the main commercial sounding Calypso tunes (only one or two though) alongside what is truly some of the best Ska you will hear, seems a little odd; until of course you remind yourself of just how rare Caribou sides are in the first place, and then it makes perfect sense to group as many as you can find in one place.

You can get a copy direct, or in the UK from Honest Jon’s (A great label in their own right of course) Here > http://www.honestjons.com/shop.php?LabelID=16369 Check out some of their other product too, the collection of Alton Ellis productions on his own All Tone label is particularly fine also. As were the Buster’s Record Shack collections out a number of years ago. you can seek out the original website and label here Drum and Bass UK Version.

Listen to the links and check out the other tunes..

Tracks include:

Comes highly recommended by yours truly.