Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 7/7/15: Prince Buster’s Wild Bells Label

Standard
wild bells 2

A great Gabbidon cut on Buster’s Wild Bells Label

 

This week (July 7th) on Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady, we started off with a version to version to version extravaganza from Phil Pratt’s Sun Shot Label.  We began the second set again with another version to version from Derrick Harriott and the late DJ Scotty, then our bouncy mento set before a long set of early Jamaican rhythm and blues that featured an early Jimmy Cliff side from Leslie Kong’s Beverley’s label called “You Are Never Too Old” to set up the spotlight on Prince Buster’s Wild Bells label.

Born as Cecil Bustamente Campbell, Prince Buster has one of my all time favorite stories about his entry into the music industry. After living with his grandmother in rural Jamaica as a boy, Buster gained an interest in music after singing in churches. Consequently, as a teenager, when he lived on Orange Street, he naturally became attracted to the soundsystem culture, particularly with Tom the Great Sebastian’s soundsystem. As soundsystems further emerged and began to compete against each other, particularly the big two, Coxone Dodd’s and Duke Reid’s, Prince Buster and his crew aligned himself with Coxone, whose soundsystem was more of an underdog in comparison to Duke’s, to provide Coxone’s dances with security. As he stuck around Coxone, Buster learned enough about running a soundsystem that he created his own, which he called Voice of the People. With his soundsystem up and ready for records, Buster was ready to begin recording his own singles, but originally before he could get to producing music for his soundsystem alone, he was asked by Duke Reid to produce records for him. Buster ended up recording 12 tracks at Feral studios, and he gave one to Duke Reid, leaving the rest to be pressed on his own Wild Bells label, which we highlighted this epsiode, beginning with Buster’s very first track as a vocalist, Little Honey, which was released in 1961.

Buster’s Group, the backing band for the Wild Bells label,  included members of the future renowned Skatalites band. On drums and percussion was Arkland Parks, better known as Drumbago. On tenor sax was Dennis Ska Campbell. On guitar was Jah Jerry Haynes. On trombone was Rico Rodriguez, and on tenor sax as well was Val Bennett

If you would like to listen to the show, it is HERE!

Please subscribe to our show, its FREE!: https://www.mixcloud.com/bovineska/

Join us on Facebook to know what our future spotlight will be, shows and record shops of Jamaican interest in the Southern California area, and the occasional posting of a rare photo or side:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/175321709220304/

Love,

Lily and Generoso

 

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 4/8/2015: Horace Faith

Standard

For this past week’s show, we began with two sets of mid-tempo ska, beginning with a spectacular one from Henry Buckley himself on his own Merritone label entitled, “Reap What You Sew.” Afterwards, in the second set of ska, we presented the amazing “Run Rudies Run” from Lee Perry and the Gaylads.

After the first two sets, we jumped into the mento with “Tongue Tied Mopsie” from The Wrigglers on the Kalypso label. And then to transition into the spotlight on Horace Faith, we shared an extended set of rocksteady, beginning with a too cool Prince Buster track named “Sweet Beat.”

Cover for 7″ of Black Pearl

To start the second half of the show, we featured a memorial spotlight on Horace Faith, who passed away on March 8, 2015.

Unfortunately, we don’t know too much about Horace’s bio. We do know he was born as Horace Smith in Jamaica, but given his extensive recording for English labels and a small tidbit shared with us on an annotated episode of Top of the Pops, we know that he immigrated to England as a young man and spent a good chunk of his music career there.

Faith’s career is an interesting one; he recorded lots and lots of covers in reggae and soul but with very lush arrangements. We presented all of his best work in this memorial retrospective on Faith, including his major hit, “Black Pearl.”

“Black Pearl” is a cover of the song with the same title by Sonny & The Checkmates, and with this cover, Horace Faith gained quite a bit of popularity. It reached #13 on the U.S. Billboard top 100 and #13 on the UK singles chart as well.

The spotlight included both reggae and soul cuts from Horace Faith, all of which had beautiful and lavish compositions.

Listen to the spotlight and the full program HERE.

Enjoy! The archive will be available until 4/21/2015.

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 11/25/14: Bunny and Skitter

Standard
Bunny and Skitter Chubby Single

Count Ossie Adds Some Furious Drumming To This Bunny and Skitter Classic

As this week’s show aired twenty four hours before Thanksgiving 2014, we just had to start with the only Jamaican track to honor our day of overeating, football, and some thanks, Prince Buster’s sublime mid-tempo ska, Thanksgiving.  A fun cut that was released in Jamaica on the “What a Hard Man Fe Dead” LP in 1967.    We then surrounded that cut with two sets of tantalizing rocksteady, culminating with a Merritone label track from Hopeton Lewis entitled “At The Corner of The Street,” which up until recently was a long forgotten song on tape until the kind folks at Dub Store Records in Japan released it.

Our last set of the first hour featured some splendid ska instrumentals which included “One More Time” from Lloyd Brevett and his Group, released on Lyndon Pottinger’s SEP Label in 1964 and ending with a sensational instrumental from Roland Alphonso recorded for Justin Yap called, “Live Desire.”

For our spotlight this week, we chose the early Jamaican rhythm and blues duo, Bunny and Skitter, who despite recording some fantastic hits during the pre-ska era, also remain quite the enigma as there’s still a little bit of mystery surrounding the identities of Bunny and Skitter.  There is some solid agreement on the identity of Skitter, who was Vernon Allen. There are reports that Bunny was Zoot Simms and other reports that identify him as George Dudley. Though, the exact identity of Bunny is not clear, we do know quite a bit about their discography. Bunny and Skitter recorded their earliest tracks for Coxone’s Worldisc label and after working with Coxone, the duo would work with Prince Buster and Vincent Randy Chin.  It must be said that although they would only do one session with Buster, it would produce a high point for their career in the song called “Chubby.”

When “Chubby” was recorded in 1961, the Rastafarian was still viewed as a cult by proper Jamaican society.  This fact seemed to elude Buster who had always operated with a downtown ethic.  For this recording, Buster brought in the Nyahbingi drumming of Count Ossie and a team of four burro drummers as he had with the Folks Brothers R&B hit, “Oh Carolina” but here Buster removed the R&B elements to produce the first pure example of Nyahbingi drumming ever recorded in Jamaica which also proved a hit for Bunny and Skitter.  Shortly after the success of “Oh Carolina” and “Chubby”, several other Jamaican producers such as Coxsone Dodd and Vincent Chin would turn to Count Ossie for a hit.  With Bunny and Skitter’s voices and the Count Ossie drumming, a musical revolution had begun.

We were delighted to present the spotlight on Bunny and Skitter. Listen to this past week’s show HERE.

The archive will be available until 12/8/2014. Enjoy!