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
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
I thought this article might help anyone who runs into this confusing mis-pressing and needs to i.d. the copy that they have.It took me a while!
Released by Melodisc records on their rare Duke imprint – The Bubbles – ‘The Wasp’ b/w ‘Bopping In the Barnyard’ was produced by Wasp records for release on Duke but in the process the single was mis-pressed and released with two different instrumentals on the A and B sides. Instead of some early Jamaican R&B/Shuffle organ instrumentals the pressing plant, PYE records, accidentally mastered two Rockabilly tunes for the 45rpm stampers by the American band ‘The Hot Toddy’s’ and they were released and never withdrawn. The A-side tune is an instrumental called ‘Rockin’ Crickets’, which utilises a guitar effect to imitate the sound of those pesky little insects. Strangely it’s quite possible to mistake this sound for a poor imitation of another pesky insect… The Wasp. Considering that this insect is the subject of the title track and so titled on the correct release AND the name of the production company who recorded the original record, you can see where one might become slightly confused!
Subsequently the correct tunes were released on another Duke single, which apart from different matrices looks exactly the same as the first release. Though I have noted that both my copy of the mis-press and one shown on http://www.colorradio.com/rockinrebels.htm seem to have a dark and large B on the A-side label, perhaps some indication of the spurious nature of this ‘version’. The only other collectible single by the Hot Toddy’s that I can find is a 78rpm, on PYE, this would help to confirm the information I have found on these two releases and PYE’s involvement with Melodisc, early in that company’s history.
But…wait… you thought it was all over, and it just gets more confusing in the end!
The original Jamaican tunes were produced by WASP a production company, there was also a Jamaican and I believe a UK label of the same name, and it is they who licenced the tunes to Melodisc in the first place. I do not know if WASP were a UK based or Jamaican company, the music on the correct release certainly sounds Jamaican.
But here is where it gets strange.
There is a Jamaican 7″ single version of the release, on the unsurprisingly named ‘ The Wasp’ label. HOWEVER – this tune is also a mis-pressing of the release and has the B-side song titled as is the mis-pressed Duke release ‘Bopping In The Barnyard’. Why would this be?
Surely the single’s master tape or acetate (possible at this time, particularly if from a Jamaican studio) would have been originated in Jamaica and then have been mastered and pressed in Jamaica to 78rpm or perhaps 45rpm single. The release in question is a 45rpm so one has to pose the question – ‘when did Jamaica first have 45rpm pressing facilities on the island’? and if there were no facilities then this may explain why they could have released a mis-pressing of the single. PYE could have mastered it for them and sent either the stampers or product back to the Island. None of this explains why the single released in Jamaica with Rockabilly on it has a label that looks to the trained eye like it was definately printed in Jamaica though!!!
There is only one possible explanation for this as I see it. PYE must have mastered the disc, and sent it back to Jamaica in the form of 45rpm stampers for a company that could press, but could not create vinyl stampers, in order to manufacture the singles at an Island pressing plant…. unless…… PYE manufactured the singles, sent them to Jamaica and then they were labelled in Jamaica only!
One final element possibly ties all three releases together, the Catalogue number on the Jamaican release which is AB 1001 Vocal, similar I am sure you’ll agree to the UK releases DK 1001.
Here’s one of the weirdest single label scans from Jamaica you will ever see, The Hot Toddy’s version of a mis-labelled ‘Bopping In The Barnyard’ on the Jamaican ‘The WASP’ records.
It was sold on eBay in 2009 as a rare Rockabilly single and a ‘Wild Unknown Rocker’ for $162. POPSIKE. I think we can identify it as the Hot Toddy’s tune, whose 78rpm on PYE is deemed to be worth about £5 by the Rare Record Collector. Someone possibly overpaid for a Jamaican Rockabilly tune, though frankly it might be worth it just for the true rarity value intrinsic in something quite so odd.
If you or anyone you know has information on exactly when Jamaica first pressed 45rpm singles on the Island I would be interested to have that information, as it could further help to understand what happened here.
The details of all the singles featured in this article are thus:
The first and mis-pressed release – BUBBLES, THE Title – ‘WASP, THE’ b/w ‘ ‘BOPPING IN THE BARNYARD’ Label – DUKE Catalogue Number – DK 1001 Matrices in Run off Groove on A side DK 1001 A produced by WASP / MELODISC ORIGINAL released in 1961
The second and ‘proper’ release -BUBBLES, THE Title – ‘WASP, THE’ b/w – ‘BOPPING IN THE BARNYARD’ Label – DUKE Catalogue Number – DK 1001 Matrices in run off groove on A side 45 DK 1001 A 1 Produced 1961 released in the U.K.
The third (not necessarily in date order), and the Jamaican release – BUBBLES, THE Title – ‘BOPPING IN THE BARNYARD’ b/w ‘?’ Label – THE WASP Catalogue Number AB 1001 Vocal / Matrices – Unknown / Release Date – Unknown
I buy 26 more singles on 45, mainly old Rock N’ Roll, some of it good stuff.
At 10p each the lot costs me £2.60, the Scorchers tune on it’s own is worth £30-35. Not that I’m being a bread head or anything, actually it doesn’t matter anyway really; I’ll never sell it and the tune is truly worth £35, more actually, it’s that good.
It’s just that I might have had to pay that for it one day, when and if I ran into a copy anywhere else but a Charity shop!
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