Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!
Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays, and, to celebrate, we had a food themed Thanksgiving edition of Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady. All sets outside of the spotlight on Bobby Kalphat’s dazzling Soul Sounds label were related to food in some way, and to start off the Thanksgiving cheer, we presented two sets of ska, beginning with a 19 year tradition of starting the Thanksgiving edition with Prince Buster’s excellent track, “Thanksgiving,” a super ska from the Hard Man Fe Dead LP. Then, Laurel Aitken kicked off the second set with his “Mash Potato Boogie,” a rollicking track that should make you dance anytime you are mashing potatoes (regular or sweet!). Given the food theme, there was no way that we would forget to include “Night Food” by Alerth Bedasse or “Night Food Recipe” by Chin’s Calypso Sextet in the mento set. After some fun and salacious mento, the last set of the first hour featured food related rocksteadys, including “Coconut Water” from Desmond Dekker and “Food of Love” from The Inventors.
At the top of the second hour, we presented a two set spotlight on Bobby Kalphat’s label, Soul Sounds.
Bobby Kalphat, the mighty melodica player, began performing as a vocalist. Upon realizing that his voice was not quite the best, he began to perform as an instrumentalist, first as a keyboard player and then gaining enough of a reputation to become a member of Bobby Aitken and the Carib-Beats. He first recorded for Lloyd Bell’s President Hi Fi sound system before heading over to Lyndon Pottinger’s SEP label. And after recording for other producers and saving up his salary from being a correctional officer as he honed his craft as a musician, in 1968, Kalphat began producing his own tracks, debuting with, “Rhythm and Soul,” which he released for his own label, Soul Sounds.
We began the spotlight on “Rhythm and Soul,” which was distributed in England through Pama, whose purchasing payment did not include a royalty agreement but did allow Bobby to purchase a Wurlitzer keyboard he would use in the coming years.
While Bobby founded the label and even designed its logo, Willi Williams, who was a member of the Set Takers, a band that Bobby performed with, would eventually take over the Soul Sound label, releasing his own recordings on it along with his own productions. One of those Willi Williams’ productions of note is “Revenge,” credited to Youth Winston. Youth Winston would become Dr. Alimantado, but Willi Williams met him before those days and gave him the name Youth Winston in order to evoke a similarity to Big Youth, who was rising in popularity.
Beyond Soul Sounds, Bobby Kalphat continued to produce records and open up his own imprints. Some of note are Roots Rock Inc./International, which released tracks in the late 1970s, Hit Vibes, which released recordings in the 1980s, and Music Mania, which released productions in the 2000s.
After the trek through Soul Sounds, we closed off the show with some sensational reggae, including I Roy’s “My Food Is Ration” and Skin, Flesh and Bones’ “Bammie Fe Fish.”
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Generoso and Lily