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.

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!

Cyril X Diaz & His Orchestra 10″ 4 track EP


Cyril X Diaz and his Orchestra 10″ 4 track EP on Soundway

I first ran into this tune when Phil Etgart played it to me, as the blueprint for the Gaylads and later Dennis Brown’s – ‘Africa’. It was a revelation then, and seeing as it’s a stand up tune in its own right, one worth having, now that I’ve got over my shock and delight at the historical note it plays on the Bamboo flute that is Jamaican musical history, I bought TWO copies, one for me, and one for my musical spar House of Reggae’s Ian Causer.

Up until recently it was only available as a traded MP3, or on a rare Cook 45rpm that last went for about £70 for a poor quality copy on eBastards or perhaps on an even rarer 78rpm, who knows, I don’t think anyone I know has ever seen one, let alone bought it on 78, but there are rumours!!!.

The tune according to the sleeve notes on the 10″ Lp (I’ll get to it in a second) states that ‘Taboo, is a famous Cuban standard that has been covered countless times. The song was written by the mezzo-soprano Margarita Lecuona, the neice of famous Cuban composer, pianist and bandleader Ernesto Lecuona’.

Though I’d heard of Ernesto Lecuona, I didn’t know, 1. It was originally Cuban in origin, 2. That it wasn’t written by Diaz, and 3. Was a famous standard. It’s crazy just how long some great music takes to permeate, how many times it has been or can be ‘re-discovered’ and why the hell a tune this good eluded me (or you for that matter) for so long.

A Short time ago a double cd of Jamaican chart music from the end of the 50s included the other version/recording of Diaz’s version of this tune, I wrote about that issue here – https://bigmikeydread.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/looking-back-the-jamaican-chart-hits-of-1958-1959/ but this latest 10″ EP features this song and three others, all worth inclusion and almost as essential, particularly Voodoo, which partners Taboo (or Tabu as it’s sometimes known) one the A side. Though you will find the version of Taboo on the 10″ is a different arrangement than that previously heard on the Cook 45rpm and the cd album mentioned above (I think, well I’m pretty sure, it could be the Monaural reproduction of the 60s Dansette I’m listening to it on as I write distorting it’s sonic sensibilities I guess…).

Though the 10″ will set you back a fair penny, as it’s a ltd edition pressing, I heartily recommend you go get your copy, it’s a show stopper!

Tracks are –

A1    CYRIL DIAZ & HIS ORCHESTRA    TABOO
A2    CYRIL DIAZ & HIS ORCHESTRA    VOODOO
A3    CYRIL DIAZ & HIS ORCHESTRA    CHIVE SOUP MERENGUE
A4    CYRIL DIAZ & HIS ORCHESTRA    SERENAL

Rare Mento 78 Album Set – Lord Flea / Ken Khouri / Times Store


78rpm ALBUM THE JAMAICAN CALYPSONIANS –  WITH VOCAL LORD FLEA    CALYPSOS FROM JAMAICA

This is a rare 3 x 78rpm album produced in Jamaica, pressed in the UK and sold in a store called Times Store in Kingston Jamaica. The records are on the Times Store label and were produced by Ken Khouri at Federal. They date from the 1950s, but the exact release date or year of release is not known.

There are to date only three of these album sets known to be in existence, Dan Neely, Jeremy Collingwood and I own them. If you have any questions regarding the set, then fee free to get in touch.

The single 78s within have the following songs on them and details follow.

The version of Wheel and Turn Me is particularly fine and finishes unusually with some rather adventurous trap drum playing. You can hear a copy of it here > http://hftvj.podomatic.com/enclosure/2010-11-03T05_22_38-07_00.mp3

TIMES RECORD    JAMAICAN CALYPSONIANS, THE –  WITH VOCAL LORD FLEA    TIME SO HARD / OLD LADY    (JAM 101) UD. 1003
TIMES RECORD    JAMAICAN CALYPSONIANS, THE –  WITH VOCAL LORD FLEA    SOLAS MARKET / WATER COME FROM ME EYE    (JAM 102) UD. 1003

TIMES RECORD    JAMAICAN CALYPSONIANS, THE –  WITH VOCAL LORD FLEA    WHEEL AND TURN ME    (JAM 103) UD. 1002

TIMES RECORD    JAMAICAN CALYPSONIANS, THE –  WITH VOCAL LORD FLEA    MATTIE RAG / BROWN SKIN GAL    (JAM 104) UD. 1002
TIMES RECORD    JAMAICAN CALYPSONIANS, THE –  WITH VOCAL LORD FLEA    DONKEY CITY    (JAM 105) UD. 1003
TIMES RECORD    JAMAICAN CALYPSONIANS, THE –  WITH VOCAL LORD FLEA    RUN MONGOOSE / LINSTEAD MARKET    (JAM 106) UD. 1003

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.

Ivan Chin’s Mento – Not Guilty / Give Her Love


Lost and Found, rare Mento 78rpm surfaces.

Once thought to be completely lost this rare 78rpm was discovered for the first time in 2006 and now possibly only the second copy known has been found in June of 2010.

‘I’ve waited a long time to begin my mento 78rpm collecting, and to find this incredibly rare 78rpm record as only the second 78 I have bought is nothing short of a record collecting miracle. Those who know the ups and downs of collecting will therefore understand that this will stand as one of the greatest days of my collecting ‘career’. With a find like this comes a responsibility too, to preserve this recording for the future, holding Jamaica’s cultural heritage quite literally in my hands.’

I hope to transfer the songs and restore them as best I can and will return here to post a link to a download for those other collectors that have yet to hear this song in reasonable condition, though it does currently appear on Chin’s CD6 available at cdbaby.com.

You can read more about this record here at Mento Music. Mike Garnice’s Website.

Details~

MENTO    SHELLAC    78rpm    CHIN’S CALYPSO SEXTET (VOCALS – A. BEDASSE)    ‘NOT GUILTY’    CHIN’S    C1012   Producer IVAN CHIN
MENTO    SHELLAC    78rpm    CHIN’S CALYPSO SEXTET (VOCALS – A. BEDASSE)   ‘ GIVE HER LOVE’    CHIN’S    C1012      Producer IVAN CHIN