Archive for the Ska Category

“Simmer Down” – The Skatalites (1963)

Posted in Bob Marley and the Wailers, Coxsone Dodd, Peter Tosh, Ska, Studio One with tags , , , , on December 27, 2016 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“‘Simmer Down’ was the first single released by The Wailers, accompanied by the ska supergroup, The Skatalites, and produced by Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd in 1963. It was the number one hit in Jamaica in February, 1964. The song was directed to the ‘Rude Boys’ of the ghettos of Jamaica at the time, sending them a message to cool down or ‘Simmer Down’ with all the violence and crime going on in Kingston. The subject matter of ‘Simmer Down’ made The Wailers stand out amongst their contemporaries. The Wailers at this time contained Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Junior Braithwaite, Cherry Smith, and Beverley Kelso. It was Bob Marley’s first hit and his career as a songwriter and performer took off from there. Although ‘Simmer Down’ was a hit, Peter Tosh, one of the three original Wailers, has said in an interview that he hated it.”

“The Skatalites are a ska band from Jamaica. They played initially between 1963 and 1965, and recorded many of their best known songs in the period, including ‘Guns of Navarone.’ They also played on records by Prince Buster and backed many other Jamaican artists who recorded during that period.[1] They reformed in 1983 and have played together ever since.The founders of the Skatalites were Tommy McCook (died 1998), Rolando Alphonso (died 1998), Lloyd Brevett (died 2012), Lloyd Knibb (died 2011), Don Drummond (died 1969), Jah Jerry Haynes (died 2007), Jackie Mittoo (died 1990), Johnny Moore (died 2008) and Jackie Opel (died 1970). These ten musicians started to play together from 1955, when Kingston’s recording studios started to develop. Tommy McCook was the first member of the band to record, though not for commercial release: he played with Don Hitchman’s Group in 1953. In spring 1964, The Skatalites recorded their first LP Ska Authentic at Studio One in Kingston and toured Jamaica as the creators of ska. …”
The Skatalites – Simmer down

YouTube: Simmer down, I Don’t Need Your Love

Rude Reggae: Rough Riders

Posted in Bob Marley and the Wailers, Laurel Aitken, Max Romeo, Nora Dean, Prince Buster, Ska with tags , , , , , on July 27, 2016 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“We are back with another Reggae article! ‘Rude Reggae – Rough Riders’ has been taken from a Black Music Magazine from 1974. It was, in fact, part of a special called Sexy Soul, Blue Blues and Rude Reggae. The author of the Reggae section was Carl Gayle, as usual, providing an entertaining and interesting read. … At its worst, rude reggae can plumb the depths of childish smut. At its best, it has an earthy and unselfconscious directness which can make the prudest of prudes explode with laughter. Rude reggae has always been around, but it wasn’t until about two years ago that most British record buyers got their first mild taste of it through the work of the jokey, amiable Judge Dread and his ‘Big Six’ (later followed by ‘Big Seven’ and ‘Big Eight’). ‘Big Six’ was banned by the BBC, which boosted its sales. But in truth Dread’s songs are pretty tame and it is significant that his most suggestive track, ‘Dr. Kitch’, is not his own song but simply a version of the original calypso by Lord Kitchener, issued in Britain a decade ago on the fielding Island label – Jump Up- (and covered by Georgie Fame). …”
“… One of Buster’s first rude records was ‘Rough Rider’, released in 1968. The subject of the song is a duel between the consenting couple in which the singer is clearly in some discomfort after losing the first round: ‘She was a rough rider, cool stroker, strong winner. . . / I had a hard night, last night”. A year later Buster was revealing frustration in ‘Wreck a Pum Pum’ with similar aggression: ‘I want a girl to wreck her pum pum / and if she ugly I don’t mind / I have a . . . and I want a grind.’ If there’s one singer who’s had as much influence as Buster on later Jamaican rude records it has to be the inimitable Laurel Aitken, who seems to be at his best when he’s being vulgar. ‘Fire In Your Wire’ was a ‘shocker’ when it appeared in 1968 as much for Aitken’s gruff, exaggerated vocal style as for the potently suggestive music and lyrics. …”
“… The first set of rude records came from the ‘ska’ era. Justin Hines and The Dominoes made the most notable contribution in this field, Hines’ extravagantly ethnic vocal style lent itself well to the group’s two best known suggestive songs, ‘Penny Reel’ and ‘Rub Up Push Up’. In the latter, he suggests an ideal ways of making it up after a quarrel: ‘You rub up, you push up, you love up because you know you were wrong’. The Heptones’ biggest selling record ‘Fatty Fatty’ (1967) was their first ever record and was their only flirtation with the rude medium. It’s a cool atmospheric rocksteady song exposing the singer’s frustration as he begins to look forward to what he’d like to be doing tonight. …”
The Ballroom Blitz
YouTube: Judge Dread – Big Six, Lord Kitchener – Dr. Kitch aka The Needle (1963), Prince Buster & All Stars – Rough Rider, Prince Buster – Wreck A Pum Pum, Laurel Aitken – Pussy Price, Justin Hines And The Dominoes – Rub Up Push Up, The Heptones – Fattie Fattie, Derrick Morgan – Kill Me Dead, Lloyd Terrel – Bang Bang Lulu, Max Romeo – Wet Dream, Nora Dean – Barbwire, Wailing Wailers – Bend Down Low

The Wailing Wailers – Simmer Down (1965)

Posted in Bob Marley and the Wailers, Coxsone Dodd, Ska with tags , , on September 2, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“‘Simmer Down’ was the first single released by The Wailers, accompanied by the ska supergroup, The Skatalites, and produced by Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd in 1963. It was the number one hit in Jamaica in February, 1964. The song was directed to the “Rude Boys” of the ghettos of Jamaica at the time, sending them a message to cool down or ‘Simmer Down’ with all the violence and crime going on in Kingston. The subject matter of ‘Simmer Down’ made The Wailers stand out amongst their contemporaries. The Wailers at this time contained Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Junior Braithwaite, Cherry Smith and Beverley Kelso. It was Bob Marley’s first hit and his career as a song writer and performer took off from there.”

YouTube: Simmer Down

Various Artists – Mojo Rock Steady (1994)

Posted in Channel One, Coxsone Dodd, Ska with tags , , on August 28, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd ruled the ska age, but as tempos slowed and the style downshifted into rocksteady, Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label came to the fore, pushing Studio One aside. Revenge was delivered by virtually every other producer on the isle, beginning in the mid- to late ’70s as Studio One’s gorgeous rocksteady melodies were resurrected in the new rockers style. With the demise of the Skatalites, Roland Alphonso and Jackie Mittoo set up shop at Studio One with the rhythm team of Joe Isaacs and Brian Atkinson. Under the Soul Brothers moniker, this unit laid down myriad scintillating instrumentals and phenomenal backings as ska evolved into rocksteady. …”

“The Sound Dimension have recorded some of the most important songs in Reggae music; songs such as Real Rock, Drum Song, Heavy Rock, Rockfort Rock, In Cold Blood – all classic songs that have become the foundation of Reggae music, endlessly versioned and re-versioned by Jamaican artists since the time they were first recorded to the present day. As the in-house band at Studio One in the late 1960s, The Sound Dimension also played alongside everyone from The Heptones, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Marcia Griffiths and more. Similar to their US counterparts The Funk Brothers at Motown and Booker T and The MGs at Stax, The Sound Dimension recorded on a daily basis incredibly catchy and funky tunes matched by a seamless musicality. …”
Soul Jazz Records

YouTube: The Sound Dimension – Mojo Rocksteady b/w Version, Gaylads – I Am Free, The New Establishment – Rockfort Rock, Roland Alphonso – Take Me, Hot and Cold – The Soul Brothers, alton ellis & the soul vendors – whipping the prince, Roland Alphonso & The Soul Vendors – Rock and Sock

Desmond Dekker & the Aces – Action! (1968)

Posted in Desmond Dekker, Ska with tags , on July 30, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

‘Following hot on the heels of their Jamaican debut album, 1967’s 007 (Shanty Town), Desmond Dekker & the Aces were ready for Action! the following year. Like its predecessor, Action! bundled up another slew of the quintet’s recent hits, as did its successor, 1969’s The Israelites. All were released only in Jamaica, and the fact that “007” reappeared on the Action! set tells you just how seriously producers took the album market on the island. Even so, with its mix of rocksteady and early reggae hits, Action! has remained a popular album, and has been reissued internationally on several occasions. Now it’s been paired with the equally well recycled Intensified set. In any event, taken together, it’s a solid selection of songs, heavy on the hits, but that’s to be expected, as virtually everything Dekker & the Aces released pre-Leslie Kong’s death in 1971 was, and by and large the group’s albums merely rounded them all up on long-players. There are a few odd omissions — no “Pickney Gal,” for example, or “You Can Get It If You Really Want” — and even stranger, “Israelites” appears under the peculiar title “Poor Me Israelites.” However, all self-respecting fans already have “Pickney” and “Get It” in their collections. So what’s of more interest here are the less recycled numbers, like the ethereal “Fu Man Chu,” the demanding “Gimme Gimme,” and the indeed memorable “Unforgettable,” better known as “Bongo Gal.” Unlike that latter, “Gimme” and “Fu” never saw British release, and seem not to have even received proper Jamaican ones, which makes their appearance here a boon for collectors. And “My Lonely World,” which features an American R&B-styled spoken word break, and the emotive “Personal Possession” rarely turn up on the reissue shelves. That said, so often has the bulk of this set appeared that many fans will have to think hard before parting with their money, but for new aficionados, this is an excellent place to start.’

YouTube: Mother Pepper, 007, Coconut Woman, Don’t Blame Me, You’ve Got Your Troubles, Personal possession, , Young Generation, Mother Long Tongue, Keep A Cool Head, Fu Man Chu

Prince Of Darkness – Burial Of Long Shot (1969)

Posted in Ska, Trojan with tags , on June 16, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

Burial Of Long Shot

Ernest Ranglin – Below the Bassline (1996)

Posted in Robbie Shakespeare, Ska, Sly Dunbar with tags , , on June 8, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

Below the Bassline is a successfully smooth integration of traditional reggae and jazz: two music forms that may not immediately spring to mind when contemplating the flawless mixture of music styles. However, the collective featured in this album — and Ranglin (a reggae and ska rhythm innovator) is a chief among them — plays 55 minutes of island tree-swaying, soul-backed precision. Ira Coleman’s bass playing is not the focus of this album, even though the title seems to suggest so. Nor does the focus of this album fall upon the popular funk and fusion (and yes, even disco) drummer Idris Muhammad. In fact, there is only one brief drum solo by Muhammad on Below the Bassline, and it is the first thing you hear. Muhammad opens up ‘Congo Man Chant’ with a snare-laden solo whose rhythm quickly involves Ranglin and Coleman, who collaborate to play eight bars of a rapid but laid-back bassline. Monty Alexander jumps in with the piano and brings Ernest along with him as they determine what ends up being the refrain for a moving piano solo sandwiched between two adept Ranglin solos. There are two ska rhythm selections on this album, ‘Ball of Fire,’ on which Roland Alphonso plays saxophone, and ‘Bourbon Street Skank,’ which features some of Ranglin’s most dexterous playing (also heard on ‘Nana’s Chalk Pipe’). The title track is immediately identifiable as reggae, with its organ stabs on the down side of the beat, Muhammad’s gentle but consistent treatment of the hi-hats, Ranglin’s lyrical playing on the guitar, and the overall slow, relaxed tempo and feel of the tune. It is an accurate capsule of Below the Bassline, another testament to the skill of the legendary Ernest Ranglin and the other musicians featured here.”

“Ernest Ranglin OD (born 19 June 1932) is a Jamaican guitarist and composer who established his career while working as a session guitarist and music director for various Jamaican record labels including Studio One and Island Records. Ranglin played guitar on many early ska recordings and helped create the rhythmic guitar style that defined the form. Ranglin has worked with Theophilus Beckford, Jimmy Cliff, Monty Alexander, Prince Buster, The Skatalites, Bob Marley and the Eric Deans Orchestra. He is noted for a chordal and rhythmic approach that blends jazz, mento and reggae with percussive guitar solos incorporating rhythm ‘n’ blues and jazz inflections.”

“You might not have heard of the name ‘Ernest Ranglin’ before, but unless you’ve been living in a nuclear bunker since 1948, your communication with the outside world restricted to carrier pigeons and smoke signals, it’s almost certain you’ve heard his tantalising brand of jazz/reggae/blues at some point in your life. It’s hard to describe what Ernest Ranglin has done for music without using hyperbole and similes, so I’ll just stick to the facts: He learnt to play the guitar on an instrument which comprised of a can of sardines and wires. His very first studio recording turned out the be the first album ever released by the now legendary Island Records. He played, recorded, and toured with Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, the Skatalites, Prince Buster, Peter Tosh, and Lee Scratch Perry, amongst others. You can hear him on tracks as diverse as the Melodian’s ‘River of Babylon’ and Millie Small’s ‘My Boy Lollipop’. He recorded the soundtrack to James Bond’s ‘Dr No’. He is credited with having participated in the very first recordings of what later became known as ska, rock-steady, Jamaican rhythm and blues, and reggae.”
It’s fluffy (Video)

YouTube: Surfin’ = Ernest Ranglin, Sly & Robbie, Monty Alexander (Live), Ram Jam, <Jamaican Legends feat. Sly & Robbie, Ernest Ranglin & Tyrone Downie (FULL DVD) 54:33

YouTube: Ernest Ranglin – Below The Bassline |FULL ALBUM|