Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Felix “Deadly” Headley Bennett Memorial Show 8-30-16

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“Deadly” Headley Bennett UK Unity 

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

It is with great sadness that we must report the passing of legendary saxophonist, Deadly Headley Bennett.

Deadly Headley passed away at his home on August 21st at the age of 85. He had been suffering from back and prostate issues since 2013, and two Sundays ago, he passed away suddenly after being up and about earlier in the day. We will pay tribute to Deadly Headley’s impressively prolific career for the full two hours of this week’s show.  Headley received the Order of Distinction in 2005 for all of his contributions to the progress of Jamaican music, and in this program, you’re going to hear some of the biggest tracks in Jamaican music because Deadly Headley was there for those history changing moments.

Born as Felix Bennett in Kingston, Deadly Headley started his music education at an exceptionally young age, enrolling in the Alpha Boys Catholic school at the age of five. With the education and support of the school’s music program, Deadly Headley emerged from the school ten years later, at the mere age of 15, as an accomplished saxophone player. 

As the fifties arrived, Bennett performed primarily in jazz, and as the sixties arrived, he had established himself as an excellent performer and session musician. Bennett’s recording career had a sudden and surprise beginning. Bennett performed and hung out with Rico, and when Rico was invited to play Coxsone’s sound system, Deadly Headley was part of the horn section. During this performance, Coxsone’s friend spotted him, and suggested that Bennett should be playing for Coxsone’s recordings.

Coxsone invited Bennett to Federal Studios, and Deadly Headley first recorded “Independence Blues” for him, with Lester Sterling also on the recording, which created a battle for solos between Lester and Deadly Headley. “Independence Blues” was cut for Coxsone’s D. Darling label and features the voice and guitar of Basil Gabbidon, and it is the track that would start Bennett’s many decade career in the recording industry. Consequently,  it is the track that will started tonight’s memorial on Deadly Headley Bennett.

In addition to recording in the studio in 1962, Deadly Headley also performed as a member of The Shieks in their performance to welcome Princess Margaret when she visited Jamaica to mark the nation’s independence. It is unclear as to what tracks Deadly Headley would play on for Coxsone in 1962, but his role was certain on recordings for a young producer named Leslie Kong and his Beverley’s label. It is well documented that Headley was a featured player for Leslie Kong, who insisted that Headley play a solo for the more prominent singles to come out on the label during its beginning  We then heard tracks on Beverley’s from not only a young Jimmy Cliff, Derrick Morgan and Eric Morris but also the very first recording of Bob Marley prior to his time with the Wailers.  Four tracks were cut at Beverley’s with Marley from that session with Headley in 1963, including “One Cup of Coffee,” “Do You Still Love Me,” “Terror”, and the track we will played on our tribute, “Judge Not”

In the early 1960s, Deadly Headley would play for a multitude of producers in the ska era and  Bennett would continue to record for Studio One during this time. Included in the tracks recorded for Coxsone Dodd is Wailer Peter Tosh’s “Maga Dog,” which features a wonderful solo from Headley Bennett. That was the track we played next on the show.

In 1966, rocksteady would become the preferred beat of the time, and Deadly Headley would play on some of the era’s finest tracks. Of course, during the rocksteady, the band that was most in demand bore the name of the man who invented the rhythm, Lyn Taitt. We then heard two instrumental tracks that feature Taitt’s guitar and Headley’s beautiful sax sound.

“Satta Massagana” was recorded at 7 am at Coxsone’s studio through Carlton Manning, who arranged for his brother Donald Manning and his group The Abyssinians to record in Coxsone’s studio without his approval or knowledge. “Satta Massagana” was the first recording of the session.   In the short session, three tracks were quickly recorded, and shortly thereafter, “Satta Massagana” became a hit rhythm that would get versions many many times

In 1969, Deadly Headley went to Canada and returned in 1977 and when Headley returned to Jamaica in ‘77, he was in as much demand as ever and performs on some of the most legendary albums of the era.  We went through album after album of his recordings from 1977 to 1979 and selected our favorite performances from Headley from those full length records.

Only one full length album bears Headley’s name in the title as the featured artist…35 Years From Alpha was produced in 1982 by the king of On-U Sound, Adrian Sherwood and featured Headley on alto sax, Bim Sherman on vocals, and fittingly his former horn section partner Rico on trombone. To end this two hour tribute to Headley, we played two selections from that amazing album.

Here is the August 30th, 2016 edition of Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady and our two hour tribute to the late, great Felix “Deadly” Headley Bennett:

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Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Enid Barnett’s Deltone Label 5-31-16

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The Versatiles bizarre version on Deltone!

 

Howdy Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

The May 31st, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady  began with a never before played on the show ska single from Justin Hinds and The Dominoes which was released on Treasure Isle in 1965, Zion Higher.  In fact the first two sets of the show were of the ska variety ending with Trial and Crosses from a very young, Lee “Scratch” Perry which was released on Coxsone’s Worldisc label in 1964.  In honor of Memorial Day, we began our weekly mento set with a 1956 MRS recording entitled, Soldier Man, from the seldom played Arthur Knibbs.  I say seldom as even though he was as prolific an artist that existed during mento, finding his recordings has been a real chore but as always we continue to search the racks.  We started the final set of the hour with the Bassies, too pretty for words rocksteady cut on Coxsone in 1967, River Jordan.  When that set ended, with the end of the first hour. we launched right into our spotlight of Enid Barrett’s DELTONE LABEL.

One of the most interesting things about Deltone is the names of two women attached to it. There is solid evidence to believe that Dorothy Barnett owned the label. Meanwhile, there are other claims that Enid Barnett owned the label, which most likely comes from the fact that Enid is credited as the producer of many records on Deltone. From what we can tell, Enid is a relative of Dorothy’s or Dorothy’s producer name, if anyone listening has any thoughts on this, we’d love to hear from you. We do know that Dorothy Barnett had some solid experience in the record industry before she ventured out to create her own label and record shop. She worked as Coxsone Dodd’s secretary, and from her observations of the ins and outs of the record business, she opened up Deltone, the shop and label. The shop, like other legendary ones, had its storefront on Orange street, and as a result, Barnett’s record label had the ability to attract much talent, including Lee Scratch Perry, who would engineer plenty of tracks for Deltone. We kicked off this spotlight in the rocksteady with Some of Them A Bawl from The Pioneers.

Deltone was somewhat of a family business. One of the musicians who saw the greatest success at Deltone was Keeling Beckford, who was Dorothy’s cousin. Also, as a result of Keeling’s presence at the label, Theo Beckford, Keeling’s uncle, would play piano on multiple Deltone tracks. The Versatiles had worked consistently with Joe Gibbs, but they decided to venture out and went over to Deltone. Teardrops FallingSomeone to Love, and Children of Today were engineered by Scratch for Deltone!

XOXO Generoso and Lily

Here is the May 31st, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady for your listening pleasure….

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Coxsone Dodd’s Sensational Label 5-24-16

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The Jiving Juniors on Sensational!

Howdy Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

The night after the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady this week, The Rastafarians played a brilliant set at Dub Club here in LA, that was further enhanced by Scientist, who was manning the boards and spinning the band’s sound into wild beautiful experiments.   We are still a bit tired as their set went very very late which is tough for a Wednesday but who’s complaining.  It was great.

The opening set of the May 24th 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady  was inspired by my good friend Douglas Purdy, who posted Kris Kristofferson’s 1971 classic, Loving Her Was Easier which started a conversation about the famed singer/songwriter and actor.   We wondered if the current generation was even aware of Kristofferson’s huge impact on music during the 1960s and 70s and as a response, I selected a few of my favorite Jamaican versions of his songs including: Ken Parker’s take on Help Me Make It Through The Night which he cut for Treasure Isle in 1972 and Glen Adams interpretation of For The Good Times, released on Straker in 1971.

After the next set of early reggae from 1971-1973, we went to our weekly mento set that started with Count Owen’s Draw Down More from the Rock Steady Calypso record  which was released on Kalypso in 1968.  We then ended the first hour with a long set of Jamaican rhythm and blues to get you ready for this week’s spotlight on the early Coxsone Dodd imprint, SENSATIONAL.  The set of rhythm and blues began with the very first recording by famed vocalist Gene Rondo, who cut a two sides for the Magico label in 1960.   We played his track with Roy entitled Little Queenie.   We followed that with a rare cut from the famed duo of Joe Higgs and Roy who cut the early rude boy tune,  Gun Talk for Luxor in 1961.   When the set was over, we started the second hour with our spotlight on The Sensational Label…

We’ve been focusing quite a bit on reggae labels recently, and for this week’s show, we thought we should go back in time and genre to the Jamaican Rhythm & Blues.  This early style had plenty of smaller producers such as BSR favorites Charlie Moo and Simeon Smith, but the era was dominated by Coxsone Dodd.  The man of the Downbeat Sound System, Clement Seymour Dodd received the nickname Coxsone from the sport of cricket, far from the world of music where he would make his name. As a young man, he was a strong cricket player, and for that he was given the nickname “Coxsone” after Alec Coxon, a member of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Dodd had many imprints that released R&B tracks, and Sensational was one of them. It’s a special one because there was a lot variety in sounds here, with the short life of the label including multiple backing groups and distinct arrangements. And to begin the spotlight, we’ll start off from a group that epitomized the R&B sound, The Jiving Juniors.  In these early days of Coxsone productions, two of the backing bands he relied on a great deal were  Rolando Alphonso and his Alley Cats and Hersang & the City Slickers.

We hope that you enjoy the show.  Here is the May 24th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady:

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Coxsone’s Rolando and Powie Label 1-5-16

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Shenley Duffas Shines On Rolando and Powie

 

Welcome Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

After two weeks of theme shows, we came back this week with our time-tested recipe for The Bovine Ska that included a spotlight of an early Coxsone imprint, Rolando And Powie which started midway through the show.

We dedicated this show to vocalist Jimmy Riley of The Sensations and The Uniques who recently announced on his official page on Facebook that he was in poor health.  We send him and thoughts and prayers for a full recovery. To honor Jimmy Riley we started our show with his wonderful rocksteady from 1968 on Coxsone  You Should Have Known and then followed with a version from The Gladiators, Tribulation.   The second set of rocksteady began with a rarely heard Melodians cut on Treasure Isle, a beautiful harmony on Somewhere from 1967.  After a nifty mento set which featured The Wrigglers 1960 tune, Little Boy which was released in 1960 Kalypso LP The Wrigglers Sing Calypso At The Arawak we threw out a scorching ska set that began with one that we have never played on the Bovine Ska, Love Is All I Had by The Federal Singers on Federal Records.  Right after the ska set, we went right into our spotlight on the Rolando And Powie Label.

As a young man, Coxone Dodd moved to Florida to work as a crop picker, and during this time, he immersed himself in American Rhythm & Blues, which he had known via Tom the Great Sebastian’s soundsystem, but being in America, he was able to hear the latest hits and see live performances, giving him a new insight into the music. Consequently, when he moved back to Jamaica, Coxone Dodd opened up his Downbeat soundsystem, playing records he would regularly bring back from trips to America. As rock ‘n roll overshadowed rhythm and blues America, Coxsone decided to to record Jamaican musicians and to play fewer American records at his soundsystem. Initially, these recordings were only created as Dub plates, but upon realizing that commercial potential of the music played at the Downbeat, Coxsone Dodd began opening his own record label imprints, allowing the one off songs recorded on Dub plates to be enjoyed by anyone with a record player or via DJs on the radio.

During the sessions that produced singles for Coxsone Dodd’s labels, Dodd relied heavily on the talents of Rolando Alphonso, who was well known across the music industry as an excellent saxophonist and as a result was in high demand from multiple producers. Powie, a Chinese Jamaican friend of Roland’s, opened up the Rolando and Powie label, with Powie paying for the recording sessions that Roland performed on. In less than a year, Roland decided to record more for Coxsone, so Dodd bought out the Rolando and Powie label and used it to release his own productions.

We kicked off this spotlight on the Rolando and Powie label with Powie’s Hop, a track referring to Powie and one backed by the Alley Cats, a group that Rolando helped form and would be the key group to initially record for the label before Coxsone took it over.

You can listen to our full Gladdy Anderson retrospective from January 5th, 2016 HERE. Subscribe to our show on Mixcloud; it’s FREE, and you’ll get an email every Tuesday when we post a new show.

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See you here next week!

Lily and Generoso

 

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 8/11/2015: Coxsone Dodd’s Tabernacle Label

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Great Jamaican Gospel From The Marvetts

Howdy there Bovine Ska listeners!

For this past week’s show, we decided to take the spotlight in a bit of a different direction by focusing on the Gospel recordings of Coxone Dodd’s Tabernacle label. We’ve always talked about how some of Studio One’s stars recorded beautiful tracks for the Tabernacle label, and we realized it was time to shine a light on a genre of Jamaican music we’ve only briefly touched upon in the past. But, before that spotlight, we had two sets of ska, one set of mento, and one set of rocksteady to build up to the midway spotlight. In the first hour, we shared two skas from Prince Buster’s Islam label: “Country Girl” by The Charmers and “The Soldier Man” by Prince Buster himself. We also were thrilled to play the airplane opening “One Minute to Zero” by Karl Walker & The All Stars. In our rocksteady track, we included the lovely vocal stylings of The Heptones with “Cool It Amigo” and The Wrigglers with “Get Right.”

Then, we proceeded to the Tabernacle spotlight, starting off with “I Left My Sins,” a stunning Gospel recording from none other than Bob Marley and The Wailers.

As many know, Coxone Dodd was a major fixture of the Jamaican music industry. Originally trained as a cabinet maker and auto mechanic, Coxone Dodd was inspired to enter the music industry after spending some time in America as a farm laborer and then returning to Jamaica with jazz and  blues records in hand, allowing him to get a jump start on his Downbeat sound system and marking his arrival into Jamaica’s music industry. From his initial sound system emerged plenty of record labels as he began to record artists. Beyond Studio One, the other familiar imprints are Worldisc, D. Darling, Muzik City, Allstars, Supreme, and C&N. While most of Coxone Dodd’s productions focused on secular music, Coxone did have a gospel label, appropriately named Tabernacle. As a lifelong Christian, Coxone recorded Tabernacle tracks on Sundays, and many artists from his secular music labels would record a gospel track for Tabernacle on those Sundays. 

And after the Tabernacle spotlight, we closed off the show with a reggae set filled with outstanding cuts, including the sensational “Face Your Trouble” from Vin Morgan and The Soul Defenders.

Listen to the Tabernacle spotlight and the ska, rocksteady, mento, and reggae tracks of the August 11, 2015 edition of the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on Mixcloud HERE.

Subscribe to the show on Mixcloud to get reminders when we post up the show, and join us on Facebook to get updates on upcoming spotlights, record discoveries, and upcoming Jamaican music performances and shows in the Southern California area!

Enjoy!

XOXOXO Lily & Generoso

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: 12/10/14: Winston Samuels

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Winston Samuel’s Biggest Hit on Lyndon Pottinger’s “SEP” Label

We started off this past week’s very mysterious Bovine Ska and Rocksteady, with the enigmatic, “Prince of Darkness” who tossed down the incredibly danceable sounds of “Burial of Longshot,” for Dandy Livingstone on the Downtown label in 1969.   The track is a response to the classic cut “Longshot” by The Pioneers.  We then burned through two sets of reggae, a very fast mento set and a set of ska to get you in the mood for the ska sounds of Winston Samuels.

Winston Samuels, after much research and reaching out to scholars and Jamaican legend, remains somewhat of a mystery. What we can gather about this magnificent singer is that with the exception of his hit, “Be Prepared,” there is very little known about Winston’s personal history and his career beginnings. According to Studio One artist and Bovine Ska and Rocksteady friend, Dudley Sibley, we know that Winston Samuels first recorded for Coxone in the early 1960s , and other sources indicate that his first release on Coxsone’s All Star imprint was a single with two sides with conflicting names and themes: “Paradise” and “In Jail.” We started off the spotlight on mighty vocalist Winston Samuels, with “In Jail” and with that you got a preview of the amazing voice that he would hone and perfect throughout his career.  One of the real surprises was the magnificent quality of the tracks Winston would do curing the rocksteady period for Prince Buster.  His voice may be at it’s best here.

There are some rumors that he was a member of The Four Aces, but we were not able to confirm this, but what could be verified was that Winston Samuels was a prolific song writer who penned two festival song winners for Eric Donaldson: “Sweet Jamaica” and “Land of My Birth,” in 1977 and 1978, respectively. Then, after spending quite some time in the music industry, Winston Samuels moved to America, but his whereabouts since have been pretty mysterious.

Listen to the spotlight and the full show HERE.

Enjoy! The archived file will be available until 12/23/2014.