Archive for the The Upsetters Category

Independence Ska and The Far East Sound – Original Ska Sounds From The Skatalites 1963 – 65

Posted in Ska, The Upsetters with tags , on September 9, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Unique new Soul Jazz Records’ Collectors Limited-Edition 7-inch box set special edition release from the greatest ska band of all time! Ten stone-cold classic, killer tracks from Studio One, brought together here on this one-off pressing limited-edition box set containing five mighty seven-inch singles which bring together seminal, rare and classic tunes collected together here for the first time ever. The Skatalites were the definitive Jamaican group, who first came together in Kingston in the late 1950s and featured the acknowledged finest musicians in the country – Tommy McCook Rolando Alphonso Lester Sterling, Lloyd Brevett Lloyd Knibb, Don Drummond, Jah Jerry Haynes, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore and Jackie Opel. In 1963 they became the house band at Clement ‘Sir Cosxone’ Dodd’s newly opened Studio One at 13 Brentford Road. …”
Soul Jazz Records (Audio)
amazon, Spotify
YouTube: Don Drummond & The Skatalites – Russian Ska Fever, Independent Anniversary Ska

Don Drummond and Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd in the studio

The Skatalites – Ska Boo-Da-Ba, Vol. 3 (1998)

Posted in Coxsone Dodd, Don Drummond, Duke Reid, Ska, The Upsetters with tags , , on May 30, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Although they cut many a fine session with superstar producers Clement Dodd and Duke Reid, the Skatalites’ work for relatively unknown knob-twiddler Justin Yap has been especially revered. Why? Well, because the songs have often been very hard to track down and Yap — unlike either Reid or Dodd — gave the legendary ska outfit the time and money to really dig into a set of songs. Those reasons and the fact he allowed ganja smoking in house all made for the ideal recording atmosphere. This West Side roundup of Yap titles proves the point. Resplendent with supple arrangements, fine sound, and a bevy of top-notch solos, Ska Boo-Da-Ba delivers with classic original ska (‘Confucius,’ ‘Ringo Rides’) and singular takes on Duke Ellington’s ‘Caravan’ (‘Ska-Ra-Van’) and ‘In a Mellow Tone’ (‘Surftide Seven’). Topped off with a handful of incredible trombone statements by the late Don Drummond, this 14-track import makes for some rarefied listening.”

YouTube: Ska Boo Da Ba, Confucius, Chinatown, The Reburial, Smiling, Marcus Junior, You can’t sit down (ghost town), Ringo Rides, In a Mellow Tone

Twin Roots – Know Love (1977)

Posted in Lee "Scratch" Perry, The Upsetters with tags , on January 27, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

YouTube: Know Love, Watty Burnett ~ Rainy Night in Portland

Roland Alphonso – Something Special: Ska Hot Shots (2000)

Posted in Coxsone Dodd, Ska, Studio One, The Upsetters with tags , , , on November 24, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“No single compilation could fairly represent the breadth of Alphonso’s career — so often did he record as a solo artist, bandleader, band member, and session musician. This, however, is an excellent 20-song retrospective of vintage sides from 1958-68 released largely under his own name; if they weren’t, they were by groups in which Alphonso was the leader or principal player. Actually, he recorded in a staggering variety of guises, and this anthology includes cuts that were billed to Roland Alphonso & the Alley Cats, Roland Alphonso & the Studio One Orchestra, Roland Alphonso & the Soul Brothers, just the Soul Brothers, Rolando & His Group, Soul Vendors, Clue J & His Blues Blasters, Rolando & the Sharks, and so on… you get the picture. The important thing is that these are exciting, seminal ska and reggae instrumentals, with styles traversing ska roots to rock steady and soul-influenced reggae. There’s more variety to be heard here than with almost any other single-artist ska compilation — from ska takes on spy movie themes and witty novelties like ‘Rollie Pollie’ to the cooking ‘Do It Good’ (which is as close to early American funk-soul as it is to reggae). Alphonso plays imaginative, jazzy sax throughout, and unlike many of the ska brassmen, was not prone to a wobbly or out-of-tune squeak. Among the dozens of other musicians heard on this collection are numerous major ska-reggae figures: Tommy McCook, Rico Rodriquez, Ernest Ranglin, Rita Marley, Clement Dodd, Jackie Mittoo, and even Lee Perry. The liner notes, recording and release dates, and session personnel are amazingly comprehensive for an early reggae reissue. Three of the songs were previously unreleased.”

“This brand new HeartBeat/Studio One compilation collects many of the top hits of the Ska era – songs that made Roland Alphonso and the Skatalites international stars – as well as many of Roland’s signature songs like Four Corners. With material ranging from the inception of Studio One and covering a ten year period, you will find here twenty classic tunes, some released here for the first time on compact disc and digitally remastered from the original Studio One tapes. Before Roland Alphonso and Studio One, there was ‘no’ Jamaican music. Roland’s saxophone sounds shaped Jamaican music at its ‘Boogie Shuffle’ inception, and into and through Ska, Rock Steady and Reggae. He was the top arranger at Studio One, and coached the hit groups of the day, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, as well as being one of the lead tenors of the legendary Skatalites.”
Reggae Vibes

YouTube: Something Special. Ska Hot Shots

Lee Perry – Silver Locks/Jah Jah Words / Jah Jah Words Version (1974)

Posted in Black Ark, Dub, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Pressure Sounds, The Upsetters with tags , , , , on November 6, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

YouTube: Jah Jah Words / Jah Jah Words Version, Silver Locks

The Skatalites – Foundation Ska (1992)

Posted in Ska, Studio One, The Upsetters with tags , , on August 8, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“As fans are well aware, although the Skatalites only officially existed for a mere 14 months or so, the bandmembers’ impact on Jamaican music extended far beyond that brief period into the rocksteady era and then the reggae era and beyond, and stretching back into the island’s pre-recording days. In various aggregations, the musicians played on vast swathes of songs throughout the ’60s, and during the ska years virtually everything that was put on disc featured at least a couple of the men. Foundation Ska delves deeply into this era, exclusively with the group’s work for Coxsone Dodd. A good number of the tracks predate the group’s official launch, and even then the Studio One head oftentimes preferred to release their singles credited to the composer and/or the main soloist. Thus, although all 32 of the songs within were recorded by the band, many of them never appeared under the group’s name. Helpfully, the sleeve notes provide an excellent background piece on the island’s early music scene, as well as an exceptional biography of the band drawn from interviews with group members. Best of all, though, the individual soloists are listed for each song, a boon for those desperate to tell the saxophonists’ work apart. …”

“The Skatalites brought together the top musicians and styles of the time—fusing boogie-woogie blues, R&B, jazz, mento, calypso, and African rhythms—to create the first truly Jamaican music: ska. Throughout the mid-20th century, experience in big bands solidified the prowess of most Jamaican musicians; yet, the genesis for many of the great Skatalites goes back to a boys’ school established for the wayward. The Alpha Boys School, run by the Sisters of Mercy and led (for most of last century) by Sister Ignatius, educated many of the future Skatalites. Founded in 1880 and having its own band since the 1890s, Alpha was essentially a military-style school that also developed top-notch musicians. Tommy McCook became a pupil there in 1938, playing his sax in the school’s best orchestra by 1942. Fellow Skatalites, including master penman and trombonist Don Drummond, Johnny ‘Dizzy’ Moore, and Lester Sterling also attended Alpha, same way for Cedric Brooks, Vin Gordon, Rico Rodriquez, Ernest Ranglin, Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton, Bobby Ellis, ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace and JoJo Bennett, all of whom have played with, or were members of The Skatalites. …”
The Foundation of Ska

YouTube: Fidel Castro, Christine Keeler, Ken Boothe Stranger Cole & Skatalites – World’s Fair, Two For One, Eastern standard time, Scandal ska

Max Romeo & the Upsetters – War Ina Babylon (1976)

Posted in Dancehall, Dub, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Max Romeo, The Upsetters with tags , , , , on June 8, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Like the epochal Police & Thieves by Junior Murvin, which also originated at Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s Black Ark Studio and thus shares with this album Perry’s trademark dark, swampy ambience, War ina Babylon is something of a mountain on the reggae landscape. But what makes it so remarkable is not just the consistently high quality of the music — indeed, by 1976 one had come to expect nothing but the finest and heaviest grooves from Perry and his studio band, the Upsetters — rather, it’s the fact that Max Romeo had proved to be such a convincing singer of cultural (or ‘conscious’) reggae after several years of raking it in as a purveyor of the most abject slackness. (His ‘Wet Dream’ had been a huge hit in England several years earlier, and had been followed by such other delicacies as ‘Wine Her Goosie’ and ‘Pussy Watch Man.’) But there’s no denying the authority of his admonishing voice here, and the title track (which describes the violent mood during Jamaica’s 1972 general election) has remained a standard for decades. Other highlights include ‘One Step Forward’ and ‘Smile Out a Style.’ Essential to any reggae collection.”

YouTube: One Step Forward, Uptown Babies Don’t Cry, I chase the Devil, War In A Babylon / Revelation Dub, Norman ‘includes Dub’ (Reggae Dancehall Revival), Smile out a style

Tommy McCook – Blazing Horns/Tenor in Roots (1979)

Posted in Glen Brown, King Tubby, Prince Jammy, Rastafarians, Ska, The Upsetters, Tommy McCook with tags , , , , , , on April 17, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Saxophonist Tommy McCook is primarily remembered for his role as a founding member of the seminal ska band the Skatalites, who played such an important part in the development and maturation of ska before it morphed into the slower rocksteady genre, and later into reggae. But McCook was no slouch in those later categories of music, either, as this wonderful two-for-one reissue makes plain. The Blazing Horns segment of this disc was originally issued on LP in 1979 on the Grove Music label and consists of nine tracks originally produced by Vivian ‘Yabby U’ Jackson. As one might expect given the producer, the sound is dark and dread, and the album’s title track is presented here in an extended ‘showcase’ version with a dub mix appended at the end of the conventional instrumental track. The program then adds a B-side track cut for Yabby U at around the same time and another one-off track that McCook made for Bunny Lee. All the mixes are courtesy of King Tubby and Prince Jammy, which tells you all you need to know about the sound quality and general ambience. As good as those selections are, though, the remainder of the album is the real treasure trove: it consists of 12 tracks McCook recorded over well-loved rhythms provided by producer Glen Browne and which were released only informally on a white-label album that never received commercial distribution. Those who own the Shanachie label’s brilliant (and now sadly out of print) reissue collections Check the Winner, Boat to Progress, and Double Attack will immediately recognize the backing tracks. McCook makes most of them his own, although on a couple of tracks his playing is almost absent. The Browne material alone would be worth the purchase price, but the first part of the collection is every bit as worthwhile. Very highly recommended.”

“Founder of the Skatalites and leader of Duke Reid’s The Supersonics, Tommy McCook is a notable figure in roots reggae. McCook’s The Blazing Horns / Tenor in Roots compilation is a powerful collection of 1970s instrumental dub and highlights roots reggae’s connections to jazz and ska. As roots reggae has been characterized by politically conscious lyrics, messages of Rastafari and other charged topics faced by the underrepresented and underprivileged, one might wonder what place does instrumental dub have in the genre?”
Dusted Reviews

YouTube: Blazing Horns, Blazing Horns, Tears of love, Tubby’s control, Far over yonder, Gold Street Skank

Roots Rock Reggae (1977)

Posted in Bob Marley and the Wailers, Inner Circle, Jimmy Cliff, Joe Higgs, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Robbie Shakespeare, Ska, Sly Dunbar, The Black Ark, The Mighty Diamonds, The Upsetters, Third World, U-Roy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“‘Roots Rock Reggae’ depicts an unforgettable moment in Jamaica’s history when music defined the island’s struggles and immortalised its heroes. Director Jeremy Marre films Bob Marley and the Wailers, and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry record in his legendary Black Ark studio with The Upsetters. Jimmy Cliff rehearses with Sly and Robbie, while Inner Circle’s historic live gig is recorded on the violent Kingston streets. The legendary Abyssinians harmonise their haunting Rastafarian songs; Joe Higgs (formerly Bob Marley’s teacher) plays and talks; majestic toaster U Roy raps alongside The Mighty Diamonds, and Third World record in a Kingston studio. There is also early archive footage of Toots and the Maytals, and Haile Selessie’s royal visit to Jamaica while police and thieves battle it out on the streets, and the ghettos erupt in violence.”
YouTube: Roots Rock Reggae

Junior Byles – Beat Down Babylon: The Upsetter Years (1971)

Posted in Dub, Junior Byles, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Lloyd Parks, The Upsetters with tags , , , , , on March 8, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

junior byles beat than babylone
“After two albums and a series of highly successful singles, the Wailers, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry‘s most dynamic group, decided to strike out on their own in 1971. A further blow was served to the producer months later when Aston and Carlton Barrett, his formidable rhythm section, joined them. Perry subsequently turned to his vast network of musical associates to build a new session outfit. These players, including bassists Val Douglas and Lloyd Parks and drummer Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace, would cut the next series of classic Upsetter rhythms. The first years of the 1970s found Perry working closely with Junior Byles, the singer who would temporarily fill the gap left by Marley. From the moment Douglas and the Now Generation band backed the singer on ‘Beat Down Babylon’ in 1971, Scratch ensured that nothing but the finest rhythms were sent his way. Beat Down Babylon: The Upsetter Years includes the whole of Byles‘ excellent 1972 debut, adding classic singles from the same period, including ‘King of Babylon,’ ‘Pharaoh Hiding,’ and the sublime ‘Curly Locks.’ Byles has a soulful delivery that is probably rooted in the church services he attended as a child. It’s the perfect vehicle for expressing his concerns as a young Rasta and a member of Jamaican society.  …’

YouTube: Beat Down Babylon, Fun and Games, Da-Da (Discomix), Pharaoh Hiding – Hail To Power, I’ve Got A Feeling, Coming Again, CURLY LOCKS, Fever