VA- Slop N’ Mash Vol 1.

This was $8.00.  I got it as there is just not enough Jamaican music on this page.

A few years back, well decades really, sometime in the mid 90’s, I got this four -CD set of Jamaican music, from Mango Records, titled Tougher than Tough.  Starting with the Folkes Brothers “Oh Carolina” from 1961 and ending with the same song by Shaggy, (which at the time represented the present day of Jamaican music), the compilation details the history of the genre from early ska from the 60;s, to the heavy reggae of the 70’s, to the dancehall of the 80’s/90’s.  Really good collection.  I got a whole lot of mileage out of the set.

So when I saw this record, I went ahead ant snapped it up, despite the high price. This collection predates the cd set described above a bit by presenting some seminal works from 1958 to 1962.  The genres hit on the ska and easybeat sounds which birthed the nation’s music.  A lot of decent artists on here including Owen Gray, Duke Reid, Lord Lebby, Derrick Morgan, Lauren Aitken, and Byron Lee.

For a sample, I was struck by three tunes in particular.  “Crazy Dog” by Beans, Dumplings” by Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, and “Palms of Victory” by Azie Lawrence.

Great little record.  Satisfactory.

The Ska Men- Jamaica Ska

dscn5349Welcome to yet another month of the world famous Donkey-Show.  Still going because I have too many records not to.  Anyway, lets start this month’s show with this gem, only $3.20.  I do not come across much ska so I tend to jump on something when I find it.tumblr_n4o3g1ivjr1suyji3o1_500

Ska, the father of rocksteady and reggae, was born in Jamaica in the late 1950’s. It was a mixture of Caribbean folk music and American rhythm and blues.  Musicians/producers/promoters, Prince Buster, Coxsone Dodd, and Duke Reid recorded their own songs for use in their DJ sound systems. The music form was popular in the 1960’s and had a rebirth in the UK in the late 1970’s.  Both movements contributed to a movement in the USA in the late 80’s and 90’s.  Incidentally, Prince Buster passed away last month. I did a obit post for him.prince-busterdd

This was released by Diplomat Records which was owned by Ambassador Records which was owned by Synthetics Plastic Company of Newark, all of which owned by Daniel Kasen (some of which with his brother Louis).  Other than that, I know little else about the album or the band.dscn5350

The record label is a budget label so this must have been made on the cheap. The band does sound kind of authenic , though so I doubt this was spit out by some folks from Jersey.  A few copies have been floating around the Net between $11 and $50.doddreid

The album is pretty good.  I mean, it is watered down in some parts as compared to the authentic Jamaican output done by Reid, Dodd, and Buster. There is nothing gritty about it.  Other than that statement,, I like this album.  It features good versions of “My Boy Lollipop”, “Marianne”, “Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Goin’ On”, and the old Leadbelly standard, “Cotton Fields”.duke-reid-system

There are also dance instructions on the back which is pretty cool.  There are two basic ska steps, a ska step with hand variation, the western roll, the Kingston head roll, rowing, rowing across, and the in place hand drive.

For sample, I decided to go with a pretty good take on the calypso “Banana Boat Song” and “Moniwop”.  They are both really good.jamaican-soundsystem

This is a satisfactory record for me.  It could of been harder and maybe a bit more authentic but for the records I see, this is a pretty good find.

Prince Buster- The Ten Commandments 7″

busterThe world of music lost one of its giants this week with the death of Prince Buster, the King of Ska.  He died in Miami of complications from a series of strokes.  He was 78.

Obit from the Guardian

Obit from the BBC

Obit from the AV Club

pb-png_1718483346Born Cecil Bustamente Campbell in Kingston Jamaica, Prince Buster was influential in the sound system world of Jamaican music.  He pioneered ska and rocksteady in the 1960’s.  Moreover, without him, there would be no UK ska revival of the late seventies.  Madness took their name from one of his songs and the Specials liberally borrowed from him.  Both bands also covered his songs extensively.

I had this 7″ of his in my collection so I am posting it in honor of his passing.  From 1967, here is Prince Buster’s “The Ten Commandments”. The B-side of this was “Don’t Make Me To Cry”.princebuster1

RIP Prince Buster

Byron Lee and the Dragonaires- Reggay Hot Cool and Easy

DSCN4008This was $3.00 at a record show.  I snapped it up as I never see reggae records in my usual searches.  hqdefault

Byron Lee and the Dragonaires are apparently still active although without Lee who has been dead since 2008.  Lee formed the band in 1950 with his friend Carl Brady.  They would release 50+ albums.  Lee would also record and produce songs for other artists.  According to Wikipedia, Lee is responsible for introducing  the electric bass to Jamaica.  According to lore, he grew tired of hauling a double bass around.  The electric bass caught on and grew popular among Jamaican bands.byronlee50s

Another fun fact, they played the house band at a hotel in the first James Bond movie, Dr. No. If you can not put two and two together, that is Byron Lee playing the bass in the clip.

This album came out in 1972.  It was around their 18th album.  It is pretty good.  There are many good tunes on here. Some have vocals even.  But it is the grooves that hold the album together.DSCN4009

For a sample, I went with the Dragonaires’ cover of Isaac Hayes’ classic “Shaft”.  I also decided to throw in “Hot Reggay” as well.  It is St Patrick’s this month so things are going to get Irish for awhile.  Might as well reggae it up now while we can.byron-lee-cover-photoTop Rated Record for sure.

 

Bad Manners- ST

DSCN2479This album by far will be one of the hippest ones I have found while doing this blog. It was originally $5.99. I tried to get Half Price Books to come down a dollar. When that failed, I asked if I could add a dollar to one of the dollar records I was purchasing to bring this down to $5. The register dude thought I was crazy but went along with it. The compromises I make to do this site.MI0001392721

Bad Manners are a ska band hailing from North London. Formed in 1976 and led by frontman, Buster Bloodvessel, the band was closely associated with the 2 Tone scene despite never signing to the label itself. This culminated with their inclusion in the 1981 documentary, Dance Craze with the Specials, the Selector, The Bodysnatchers, The Beat, and Madness.  The clip below is from that documentary. Buster’s madcap antics got the band banned from Top of the Pops as well as Italian TV. After disbanding in 1987, they would reform in 1990 and released 1992’s Fat Sound, which is an excellent album. Other albums and tours followed. Today, Buster is the only original member left and still tours under the Bad Manners moniker.badmannersretroSMALL

Web Page

From what I can tell, this album was put together by Mercury records for a US release in 1983. It accumulates key tracks from the band’s first two albums with UK’s Magnet Records. The songs are right in step with what other UK ska bands were doing at the time. As a result, there are a lot of good tracks on this album including “Inner London Violence”, “King Ska Fa”, “Tequila”, “El Pussycat” and the songs given below as samples.DSCN2480

For sample, I went with the somewhat dated “Loraine” and “Lip Up Fatty”. I could have easily went with others but for some reason while typing this, these came out. So there.Bad-Manners-5

Top Rated. Enjoy it while you can because there are not that many hip records $5.00 or under.

 

Specials- More Specials

DSCN2237Having just learned of the passing of trombonist Rico Rodriguez just 30 mins ago, I went to the archives to pull this out.  I bought this is Canada sometime in the 90’s.  I did the math and with the exchange rate at the time, it came out to under $5.  Overall, I have been doing a lousy job of keeping up with my musical obits.rico-rodriguez

Rico Rodriquez passed away Sept 4th at the age of 80.  He was born in Cuba in 1935 but raised in Jamaica. He was influenced by The Man on The Street himself, Don Drummond. In 1961, he would leave for the UK as did many Jamaica expats.  What strikes me is that he had quite an illustrate career outside his work with the Specials, working with such luminaries as Clement Dodd, Prince Buster, Duke Reid, Chris Blackwell, Theophilus Beckford, Toots and the Maytals, Sly and Robbie etc. In between, he would make a handful of solo albums, most notably, Man from Wareika. Furthermore,  he would play with Jools Holland’s orchestra from 1996 to 2012.  Despite this and probably because most people of my age link him with his 2 Tone work, this stuff gets overshadowed.DSCN2238

Rico’s Obit

The Special’s remake of “A Message to You Rudy” is the song most of the media is linking him with mainly because he played on both this and the original version.  For a sample, I used two tracks of this 1980 album, “Man from C&A” and “Holiday Fortnight” which have him sharing horn duties with Brittish born Dick Cuthell.

RIP Rico