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Brandon Burke

Any early reggae fans in here?

69 posts in this topic

I'm listening to Carlton & the Shoes "Love Me Forever" right now and surely there must be a kindered soul around here somewhere.....

There's simply too many common threads with U.S. soul. Especially among the Studio One and Treasule Isle catalogs. I'm thinking of, among others, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Delroy Wilson, Cornell Campbell, John Holt, etc.

Edited by Brandon Burke

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e503171xjgg.jpg

You inspired me to walk over to the archives and pull out this classic. Come to think of it, I haven't come across a Blood&Fire Release I didn't like.

Those Studio One comps and Trojan 3CD boxes are also very good.

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I never heard any of this music before. Wonder if this box makes a good introduction?

B00000K360.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

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You can't beat the Trojan boxes. 3CD for less than $20. I have listened to the Rocksteady set more than any of them so far.

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You can't beat the Trojan boxes. 3CD for less than $20. I have listened to the Rocksteady set more than any of them so far.

:tup

I agree! I've picked up a bunch of them. Mon! :P

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Look for The Gatherers "Words of Your Mouth."

Beautiful.

--eric

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LAL Posted on Apr 15 2004, 02:22 AM

I never heard any of this music before. Wonder if this box makes a good introduction?

The Deep Ska set would be a good intro to Ska, though it’s a little heavy on the Skatelites – not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact a lot of things should be more Skatalites heavy. I would also recommend the Trojan Box Set: Rock Steady mentioned by .:.impossible. At under $20 US it’s a steal and provides a great musical overview.

f35223t7dwi.jpg

You might also want to check out the Blood&Fire Web site. They focus more on late 1970s and early- to mid-1980s reaggae, dub, and the beginnings of dancehall. While pretty much everything on this label is worth hearing, the discs by King Tubby and The Congos are my personal favorites.

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:tup Thanks for the info. alejo.

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Hi All,

Hey, great topic Brandon! I am a HUGE fan of all that is 1960's Jamaican music, especially ska and rocksteady. I've got TONS of this stuff! When I lived in New York, I used to have a radio show devoted to this era of music... the show was called "The Six and Seven Books of Ska". The title was obviously "borrowed" from my man Toots Hibbert, and he laughed his ass off when he found out about it! He gave me his blessing to use it, though, so I was eternally grateful!

LAL, my advice for an introduction to the SKA is to get anything by the Skatalites (and other related titles by members of the Skatalites, including Roland Alphonso, Tommy McCook, Don Drummond, Jackie Mittoo, Lester Sterling, Lloyd Brevitt, Baba Brooks). Also, most everything by the following acts is typically good: the Maytals (often issued as Toots & the Maytals), Prince Buster, Laurel Aitken, Lord Tanamo, Jackie Opel, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Desmond Dekker, Justin Hinds & the Dominos, and many more.

Those Trojan box sets are a hell of a deal and a good introduction to the music..... but if you are a completist (as I am, unfortunately), they will just lead you down the path of financial ruin!

Other labels to check out with confidence... Studio One, Treasure Isle, Blood and Fire, and also check out an 8-CD series of reissues of Top Deck material (Justin Yap's original label... his recording of the Skatalites "Ska-Bo-Da-Ba" session is an absolute classic!).

Oh yeah, one other label to check out with absolute confidence is Heartbeat Records... their reissuing of 60's ska/rocksteady/reggae is unmatched! Since I don't have my radio show anymore, I miss all those promos they used to send me! What a great label...

Cheers,

Shane

P.S. -- If there's any consolation to moving out here to Los Angeles, I have to admit that there is a damn good ska scene in this city! Plus, it's home to THE best American ska/rocksteady group... the newly reformed HEPCAT!!! (with much apologies to my friends in the SLACKERS, who come in a very close second!)

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Hi All,

Hey, great topic Brandon!  I am a HUGE fan of all that is 1960's Jamaican music, especially ska and rocksteady.  I've got TONS of this stuff!  When I lived in New York, I used to have a radio show devoted to this era of music... the show was called "The Six and Seven Books of Ska". The title was obviously "borrowed" from my man Toots Hibbert, and he laughed his ass off when he found out about it!  He gave me his blessing to use it, though, so I was eternally grateful!

LAL, my advice for an introduction to the SKA is to get anything by the Skatalites (and other related titles by members of the Skatalites, including Roland Alphonso, Tommy McCook, Don Drummond, Jackie Mittoo, Lester Sterling, Lloyd Brevitt, Baba Brooks).  Also, most everything by the following acts is typically good: the Maytals (often issued as Toots & the Maytals), Prince Buster, Laurel Aitken, Lord Tanamo, Jackie Opel, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Desmond Dekker, Justin Hinds & the Dominos, and many more.

Those Trojan box sets are a hell of a deal and a good introduction to the music..... but if you are a completist (as I am, unfortunately), they will just lead you down the path of financial ruin!

Other labels to check out with confidence... Studio One, Treasure Isle, Blood and Fire, and also check out an 8-CD series of reissues of Top Deck material (Justin Yap's original label... his recording of the Skatalites "Ska-Bo-Da-Ba" session is an absolute classic!).

Oh yeah, one other label to check out with absolute confidence is Heartbeat Records... their reissuing of 60's ska/rocksteady/reggae is unmatched!  Since I don't have my radio show anymore, I miss all those promos they used to send me!  What a great label...

Cheers,

Shane

P.S. -- If there's any consolation to moving out here to Los Angeles, I have to admit that there is a damn good ska scene in this city!  Plus, it's home to THE best American ska/rocksteady group... the newly reformed HEPCAT!!!  (with much apologies to my friends in the SLACKERS, who come in a very close second!)

I grew up with this stuff as a kid in Jamaica in the 60s. My parents didn't exactly play the music, but Jamaicans were fond of setting up outdoor speakers and you would hear the music while driving the unpaved roads. Of course, this stuff was played in clubs all over.

Wish I could scan stuff. I'd show printed invites to parties with live music played by contemporaries of the people mentioned here. Dad had saved a lot of these cards cause they said some cool and funny things.

I remember Desmond Dekker was a big name. Wasn't his band known as the Aces? Also, I recall Justin Hinds and the Dominoes.

Haven't heard this stuff since I was a kid. Am I missing something?

Edited by connoisseur series500

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Here's a sample printed invite: (everything is spelled as is)

Hello Sport Fans, Its here for the First Time!

when:- BASIL & MEARL

- proudly present -

A Selected Dance

At COUNT MINOTT'S LAWN, Kemps Hill

ON SATURDAY 4th JUNE '66

Musically yours: COUNT MINOTT The Master of Sound

to Ska with the Jerk from 8 p.m. until dawn.

ADM. - Ladies 2/- - Gents. 3/-

Refreshments, Curried Goat, Chicken, Cock Soup and Ram Soup on Sale.

:g

Edited by connoisseur series500

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Here's an interesting one. What the hell is the "wash wash?"

PERCY & ROSELYN

cordially invite you to

A DANCE

to be held at CARPENTER'S LAWN, Denbigh

on Saturday, MARCH 28, 1964

Music by Sir GEORGE MUNN Down Beat

to keep you doing the wash wash from 8 pm till dawn

GENTS 2/6 - LADIES 2-

Refreshments, Curried Goat & Ram Soup on Sale.

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One more:

BOBSIE (Gimme-me-bit)

cordially invites you to attend

A Nite Of Jerk & Ska

at his Lawn, (Bobsie) Gimme-me-bit

On SATURDAY, 9th APRIL, 1966.

Music by The MERCURIES, May Pen's No 1 Band

to keep you FIT from 8 p.m. till 3 a.m.

ADM:- Gents 3/6 - Ladies 2/6

Refreshments, Curried Goat & Ram Soup on Sale.

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Hi Conn,

Damn, that's some good shit right there! I wish I could've heard that music live back in the day! Never heard of "Sir George Munn", though...

BTW, some of the names I posted are still going strong (e.g., Toots, Skatalites), while others have either passed on or dropped out of the music scene altogether.

Obviously, in present day America, this music is about as popular with the populace as jazz from the 60's is! If anything, the average American will know who Bob Marley is, but that's about it. It's a shame really...

Please post any more invites you find in your collection!!!

Cheers,

Shane

P.S. -- The "wash wash" was basically just a modified version of the jerk/the skank/etc.... mostly coming out of the US soul dances of the 50's, early 60's. Ah hell man, why I am telling you this... you were there, you saw it, you lived it!!! I am green with envy, man!

Edited by Indestructible!

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Please post any more invites you find in your collection!!!

You asked for it!

(wonder if Count Boothe was Ken Boothe?)

We've got around 40 of these cards and they get a bit repetitive as the sponsors of the dances tended to copy the same style. They date from 1962 to the rocksteady years of 1968. Dad would get these invites from people at the factory he worked at, and he obviously saved a bunch of them. He went to some of the dances, but I don't think he went to many.

Here we go:

MESSRS BOOTHE & CHANG

cordially invite you to attend

A Night With the Girls

at BOOTHE's LAWN, LONGWOOD

On FRIDAY, 16th JUNE, 1967

Music by the great SUPER TONE & Count BOOTHE

tokeep you BUGALOOING from 8 pm. till dawn.

ADM:- Gents 3/- - Ladies 2/6

Refreshments on Sale.

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Ah hell man, why I am telling you this... you were there, you saw it, you lived it!!! I am green with envy, man!

I don't know squat about any of this.

I do remember a little of the music of Desmond Dekker, but little else.

I was a kid...

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HELLO SPORTS FANS!! It will be

A NITE OF ROCK STEADY

When- LOUIS and LUCILLE Present-

A House Opening Dance

at their home HOPEFUL VILLAGE, MILK RIVER

On SATURDAY, 17th FEBRUARY, 1968

Music by SIR L. S. BIGGS

ADM:- Gents 4/- - Ladies 3/-

Refreshments, Curried Goat & Ram Soup on Sale.

Edited by connoisseur series500

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ADM:-  Gents 4/-  -  Ladies 3/-

Notice inflation kicking in? :P

They gave ladies a price break too. The 4/- stand for four shillings. Jamaica switched to dollars/cents in the 1970s.

Edited by connoisseur series500

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On SATURDAY, 17th FEBRUARY, 1968

Music by SIR L. S. BIGGS

Ha!

Sir L.S. Biggs? Can't be no one other than Ellis Biggs!!! B)

Keep 'em coming man! I'm diggin' the hell out of these!

Cheers,

Shane

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On SATURDAY, 17th FEBRUARY, 1968

Music by SIR L. S. BIGGS

Ha!

Sir L.S. Biggs? Can't be no one other than Ellis Biggs!!! B)

Keep 'em coming man! I'm diggin' the hell out of these!

Cheers,

Shane

Seems to me that the musicians who acquired some degree of fame came out in the later years. Most of my cards are from the mid-60s and before the Rocksteady time.

Wonder what happened to the earlier musicians...

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They're a bitch to type (with all the bold print and all-caps, etc.)

Okay, enough whining, here's another:

A NITE OF WASH WASH!!

Dancing under Soft Lights & Sweet Music

By COUNT REID The Champ

Maduro's Rockfire Midway Casino

cordially invites you to

A Barn Dance

to be held at MUNN'S LAWN, Suttons

(2 Miles from Chapelton)

on Saturday, MAY 2, 1964.

ADM:- Single 5/- - Couple 8/-

Curried Goat, Ram & Cow Cod Soups on Sale.

Edited by connoisseur series500

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Seems to me that the musicians who acquired some degree of fame came out in the later years. Most of my cards are from the mid-60s and before the Rocksteady time.

Wonder what happened to the earlier musicians...

Hi Conn,

Yeah, VERY few cats made any money at all from playing ska and rocksteady after reggae took hold. A lot of early ska/rocksteady performers were pretty much the equivalent of "one-hit wonders" and faded away very quickly. Of the few that I know/have heard of, they mostly ended up driving cabs, tending bar, etc... pretty much the types of gigs I expect most jazz musicians also ended up in after not being able to live as a musician.

One damn cool thing about living in New York... Coxone Dodd has a place in Brooklyn, and I'll be damned if that guy doesn't know pretty much everything there is to know about the Jamaican music scence since the 50's. What an absolute font of information!!! If ever there was a need for an autobiography, Sir Coxone's is it! His life story actually reminds me of Alfred Lion's in many ways (although I unfortunately never had a chance to meet Mr. Lion).

Cheers,

Shane

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This one was rather pricey to attend:

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO ATTEND

A NITE OF JOY

at the BLUE GARDENIA CLUB,

18 MANCHESTER AVE., MAY PEN

On SATURDAY, 1st OCTOBER, 1966

Music supplied by the MIGHTY SWINGERS

Featuring the Clarendonians also the Morgans' Brothers

ADM:- Gents 10/- - Ladies 5/-

Refreshments on Sale.

COAT and TIE PLEASE!!

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On SATURDAY, 17th FEBRUARY, 1968

Music by SIR L. S. BIGGS

Ha!

Sir L.S. Biggs? Can't be no one other than Ellis Biggs!!! B)

I've got several invites with Biggs.

One card refers to him as "Count BIGGS;" another as "Sir L. S. Biggs the Giant." ^_^

Ever heard of V. Rocket N.C.U.?

How about Sir George Munn?

Pioneer's Beat?

Count Henry?

Sir Tropical?

Sir L. S. Downbeat?

WASP Sound the Sergeant?

Duke Watt?

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0747559104.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

Anyone interested in this stuff should check out David Katz' Soild Foundation, which came out last year. Very good in my opinion. The Blood & Fire fans among us will recognize the artwork as it was done by the same design team (Intro).

I'll admit I'm a considerably bigger rock steady fan than I am a ska fan, though I certainly love ska. Among my "can't miss" rock steady titles.......

c56292wl7xw.jpg

* Alton & Hortense Ellis (Heartbeat) - Their biggest Studio One hits. This is what I usually suggest for folks who are still hung up on the (unfortunate) hippie stigma surrounding reggae in the States. This one never fails. They always come back for more...

c751779999d.jpg

* Slim Smith This Feeling - A comp of his post-Uniques and post-Techniques material. Produced by Bunny Lee. Slim was arguably the best vocalist on the island and, in any case, one of the most soulful. There is a very clear connection here with U.S. soul singers such as Sam Cooke.

* Delroy Wilson - Good All Over (Studio One/Coxsone) - Unfortunately this is not available on CD but it has never gone out of print on LP. Another example of the U.S. soul influence on Jamaican vocalists.

* Ken Boothe - Mr. Rock Steady and Black, Gold, and Green. Boothe had a gravelly and rough tone, making him comparable to many of the great Memphis Stax singers such as Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, and Wilson Pickett.

c5639250i8c.jpg

* Solid Gold Coxsone Style (Heartbeat) - An expanded reissue of the original Studio One comp. You simply can't lose with this stuff. More soul-influenced gems. Excellent by any standard. This was the record that turned me into a fan of reggae.

e61305qwjlu.jpg

* Nice Up the Dance (Hearbeat) - Don't be fooled by the word "disco". These are old school rock steady jams extended by both their (original) instrumental and dub versions. By this I mean that each track is three times its original length. Each version (vocal/instrumental/dub) is beat-matched with the next, making a seamless and cohesive whole. In most cases, they're up in the 8-to-11 minute range each. Alton Ellis' "Can I Change My Mind" is over 11 minutes and absolutely flawless. I love this record.

e36047oa4ma.jpg

* Mojo Rock Steady (Hearbeat) - Another great comp of mostly Studio One material. Many of these songs are staples on my rock steady mix tapes. This is a fantastic collection.

Needless to say, I'm a much bigger Studio One fan than I am the Trojan material. I tend to think of it in much the same way as Stax v Motown. Studio One was more like Stax (i.e. rougher and muddier production, more grit and grime) and, to me anyways, Trojan was more like Motown (i.e. crisper production and more happy-go-lucky songs). This is perhaps an exaggeration--in fact, it probably is--but I still say that Sudio One is where it's at, man. Definately more gritty and grimey. More Otis than Smokey.

Edited by Brandon Burke

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