Tag Archives: rare

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

FullSizeRender 21

Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio ep 140 – The Show With No Name


itunes pic

140 Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio – The Show With No Name

Hello all, welcome, ¡hola, hallo, Բարեւ Ձեզ, kaixo, হ্যালো, здравей, Hej & maraba, आपका स्वागत है, bem-vindo

Bigmikeydred Регги Радио рада представить еще одно шоу, чтобы подогреть музыкальные трубы, делать массаж свисток и осторожно тампоном внутренности ваших earholes с сладкими звуками Ямайки и ямайской музыки.

Количество треков будет включать в себя …

Bigmikeydred Reggae Radio is pleased to present another show to whet your musical pipes, to massage your whistle and to gently swab the innards of your earholes with the sweet sounds of Jamaica and Jamaican music.

Tracks will include…

Cimarons – Struggling Man
Sidney Rogers – Jaquelino
Wailers – Get Up Stand Up
Peter Tosh – Stepping Razor
Scotty – Riddle I This
Eddie Ford – Guess I this Riddle
Cornell Campbell – Reach Out Darling
Heptons – Love Without Feeling
Mark Professor – Oystah Card
Bigmikeydread – I Need A Car
Dodgers – Let’s Make A Whole Lotta Love
Rulers – Don’t Be A Rude Boy
Hopeton Lewis – Hardships of Life
Slim Smith – Hip Hug
Skatalites – Lunch Time
Bob Marley – One Cup Of Coffee
Skatalites – Ghost Town
Don Drummond – Street Corner
Roland Alphonso – Freedom Sound
Baba Brooks – Independance Ska

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/

Discover Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio


March 22, 2014 03:39 AM PDT
460>_9390552

138 Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio – Roots and Ting

Show two for 2014, and there’s lots of Roots on this one, plus a little ting, a flavourin’ a likkel Reggae sauce, and some Rocksteady spice mix pon the chicken meal that is… Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio…

Tunes are certain to include..

Barrington Levy – Come On
Don Carlos – Declaration of Rights / Dub
Jimmy Dean – Black People Must Be Free
Chantells – Natty Supper
Well Pleased and Satisfied / Unknown Deejay – Barberman Bawling / Version
Bim Sherman – Tribulation / Dub
Martin Campbell – Richman
Buring Spear – Swell Head
Gaylands – A.B.C. Rocksteady
Desmond Dekker – Pickney Gal
Freddie McKay – A Little Bit Will Do
Lord Creator – Kingston Town
Herbie Carter and the Cables – Happy Time
Pat Kelly – I Don’t Want To Go
Bob Marley and the Wailers – Thank You Lord
I-sees – With A Broken Heart
Jonnie Clarke – It’s True
Lone Ranger – Annie Palmer
Eek A Mouse – Sensee Party

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]

Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio – These are a few or my favourite things Pt1


May 27, 2013 11:25 AM PDT
460>_8309537

A collection with nattering of my favourite, most important, signposting collected tunes over the years, stuff that reminds me of days of yore, or were really important moments in learnng about ‘stuff’ or were given by friends, or mean something or.. or… or..
Well you get the picture…

Tracks may include..

1.Dread A Dread – Johnnie Clarke
2.Jump Nyahbinghi – Wailers
3.Can’t Take What happened in a West – Big Youth
4.Train to Zion – Linval Thompson and U-Brown
5.Every Knee Shall Bow – Barry Brown
6.Solid Foundation – Congos
7. Satta A Massagana – Abysinnians
8.Fighting Against Convicton – Bunny Wailer
9.Pity The Children – Cornell Campbell
10.Don’t Let Me Suffer – The Concords
11.Fat Boy – Bunny Brown
12.Version ’78 Style – Glen Brown & King Tubby
13.Mr Babylon Man – Sugar Minott
14.Chuck It – Demon Rockers
15.On The Other Side – Gladiators
16.Dance In A Parliament – Cocoa Tea
17.Goombay Rock – Blind Blake

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]

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


460>_7480599

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]

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.

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!

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’.

Click to see bigger...