Duke Reid

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“Duke Reid was one of the founding fathers of the Jamaican music business, perhaps second in importance only to his chief rival, Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, both as a record producer and entrepreneur. Much like Dodd, Reid started his career in music as a DJ, then a sound system owner, then a label head (most notably of Trojan and Treasure Isle), then a highly accomplished producer who masterminded some of the greatest Jamaican music of the ’60s. His career spanned the earliest days of ska to the rocksteady era, and on through the early ’70s, when he helped lay the groundwork for the DJ/toaster era. In his prime, Reid cut a striking, flamboyant profile and was notorious for his tough-guy persona, the product of his previous career as a policeman. He usually carried a loaded revolver and ammunition belt, all prominently displayed, and sometimes a hand grenade or a machete for extra effect. His business tactics could be similarly hard-nosed, but Reid was no mere thug; his genuine skill as a producer remains the cornerstone of his legacy, in particular his work during rocksteady’s heyday.”
allmusic

“Arthur ‘Duke’ Reid CD (1915–1975) was a Jamaican record producer, DJ and label owner. He ran one of the most popular sound systems of the 1950s called Duke Reid’s the Trojan after the British-made trucks used to transport the equipment. In the 1960s, Reid founded record label Treasure Isle, named after his liquor store, that produced ska and rocksteady music. He was still active in the early 1970s, working with toaster U-Roy. He died in early 1975 after having suffered from a severe illness for the last year. … He made his way into the music industry first as a sound system (outdoor mobile discothèque) owner, promoter and disc jockey. He quickly overtook Tom the Great Sebastian and his sound system as the most popular sound system in Jamaica. Soon he was also sponsor and presenter of a radio show, Treasure Isle Time. A jazz and blues man at heart, Reid chose ‘My Mother’s Eyes’ by Tab Smith as his theme tune. Other favourites of his included Fats Domino, a noticeable influence on the early Reid sound.”
Wikipedia

“… Wanting music to attract customers, the Duke arranged through a sponsorship deal to host his own radio show ‘Treasure Isle Time’. The people would listen to the latest American R&B tunes on 78rpm, interspersed with liquor deals going down at his store. This in time would lead to the starting of his own Sound System, where he could take his liquor to the dances via his Trojan truck. He used a large van to transport this equipment around Jamaica to dance halls and open air events. Due to the nature of the van it became known as the Trojan. With shouts of ‘Here comes the Trojan’, Duke Reid’s now named Trojan Sound System was born. It proved such a success that he was crowned King of Sound and Blues three years in a row 1956, 1957 and 1958. 1958 also saw the store which was out growing itself, move to its legendary premises, 33 Bond Street, as Treasure Isle Recording Studio. Duke Reid was a formidable character in the music business. His guns from his policing days were ever present and always on show, striking a menacing cord.”
discogs

YouTube: Sweet Lorna, Judge Sympathy, Caught You, Stolen Stolen, Pink lane shuffle, The Joker, Duke’s Cookies, Soul Style, Sunday Walking, Our Man Flint, Bawling People, Moody Dub, Man May Go Man May Come, What Makes Honey

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One Response to “Duke Reid”

  1. Duke Reid’s influence on the early days of Jamaican music cannot be disputed, and his impact on ‘toasting’ was also huge. I do feel like its a shame he was so against Rasta influences in his music as this definitely seemed to damage Treasure Isle records

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