Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Dada Tewari’s Down Beat Label 7-5-16

down beat label B

The Godfather Of Ska on Down Beat

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

The July 5th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady began with a version to version excursion with Shark Wilson & the Basement Heaters 1971 cut for Moodisc, Make It Reggae.  We actually played two sets of early reggae to start the show ending with another version to version with Barbara Jones cover of the Patti Page classic, Changing Partners which Jones recorded for GGs in 1974.   Our weekly mento set contained a gem from The Wrigglers Sing Again LP which was released by Kalypso in 1958, the suggestive tune, Biggest Maracas.  The final set of the first hour, a ska set in fact, started with a Stranger Cole tune that has never been played on the show before,  a 1963 cut entitled Morning Star for the Dutchess label,  We ended the first hour with Lee Perry’s Trial and Crosses which he recorded for Coxsone Dodd’s Worldisc in 1964.  We then began our spotlight of the Down Beat Label.

Deonaire ‘Dada’ Tewari started out as a businessman. His family had a growing dry goods business, and in addition, they owned the Tivoli Theater, which would later become the Queen’s Theater. Tewari worked primarily in his family’s businesses until 1953, when he opened the Caribbean Recording Company, one of the earliest recording facilities to be opened in Jamaica, opened only after the recording studios of Ken Khouri and Stanley Motta. Two labels existed to distribute the music recorded at the Caribbean Recording Company: Caribou and Down Beat. You’ve heard selections from Caribou during our weekly mento sets, but we have yet to share a mass of tracks from Down Beat. Consequently, Down Beat was our label spotlight.

We started the second hour with Laurel Aitken, an artist who got his start with Tewari. After getting spotted at the V-Rocket sound system, Laurel was introduced to Dada Tewari. He recorded many tracks for Tewari, including the early hit  “Roll Jordan Roll” for the Caribou label, and “Boogie Rock” for the Down Beat label, the track which will start this spotlight.  A student of the Alpha Boys School, Lester Sterling began playing trumpet before switching over to alto sax. He performed as a member of the Jamaica Military Band before entering the recording industry. Throughout his career, Sterling worked extensively with Coxsone Dodd, and this next track “Pipe Dream” is one product of their collaborations. Though Tewari did produce many recordings on Down Beat, some of the tracks released on the label were also produced by Coxsone Dodd. Tewari’s Caribbean Recording Company, located on Torrington Road, was highly productive throughout the fifties and early sixties. Unfortunately, we don’t hear any recordings from Tewari after the ska rhythm because the facilities experienced a fire, and Tewari did not return to the music industry.

We hope you enjoy the July 5th, 2016 Bovine Ska and Rocksteady:

Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady: Sir Mike The Musical Dragon Label 6-21-16

Sir Mike's Label A

The Great Stranger Cole on Sir Mike’s

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

First off,  we just want to thank everyone who gave us love for last week’s 20th Anniversary episode of the Bovine Ska.  It was a tough show to glue together so we are so happy that you all loved it so much.  Here’s to another twenty years!

The June 21st edition of The Bovine Ska and Rocksteady began with a seldom heard rocksteady cut from Lee Scratch Perry called, Run For Cover, which was released on Star in 1967.  We played that in tribute to the endlessly entertaining, live painting event that Scratch put on at Dem Passwords in Chinatown here in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 16, 2016.   We followed with seven more smooth rocksteady cuts including Dion Cameron and The Three Tops gem, Miserable Day, which they cut for WIRL in 1967.

Our weekly mento set began with Miss Goosie from Count Owen’s Rock Steady Calypso LP which came out on Federal in 1968 and ended with Lord Power’s wildly festive, Let’s Do It on Hi Lite in 1956.  We ended the first hour with a rousing set of ska, with our final track being Hortense Ellis disguised as Little Darling and No One, which she recorded for Prince Buster on Voice Of The People in 1965.  We then began our spotlight on Sir Mike The Musical Dragon Label…

From the early soundsystem era, we always hear about Lloyd Daley’s Matador, Duke Reid’s Trojan, Coxsone’s Downbeat, Prince Buster’s Voice of the People, and Vincent and George Edwards (collectively known as King Edwards) The Giant sound systems. Mike Shadeed’s Sir Mike the Musical Dragon Sound System stood in the company of these big names, but we often do not hear of Shadeed’s work.

Sir Mike the Musical Dragon was considered one of the big six sound systems in Jamaica, so much so that Shadeed was invited by the Jamaican government to partake in Independence celebrations and dances in the mid-60s. As a testament to the reputation and popularity of the Sir Mike sound system, King Tubby, in interviews, has even discussed the power of Sir Mike’s, saying that Sir Mike was even stronger than Coxsone Dodd’s Downbeat and Duke Reid’s The Trojan by the time the mid-60s arrived. Sir Mike the Musical Dragon also introduced the music world to Prince Far I, who was a DJ for the sound system before he became a recording artist.

As a record label, Sir Mike the Musical Dragon gave us some excellent ska from some of the best artists at the time. We kicked off this spotlight on the Sir Mike label with a duo of great talent, Stranger & Ken, Stranger Cole and Ken Boothe, who recorded, Hush Baby, for Mike Shadeed in 1963.

Before playing melodica in the 1970s, Joe White recorded primarily as a vocalist in the 1960s. For the Sir Mike the Musical Dragon label, White recorded two beautiful skas. Wanna Go Home, features a simple and gorgeous trumpet line from Baba Brooks playing in tandem with White’s solid voice, and “When You Are Wrong” also features Baba Brooks, but White’s voice shines in the track. We started off the second set of the spotlight with both of these wonderful Joe White recordings.  

Lily and Generoso

Here is the June 21st, 2016 Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady:

Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 7/21/15: Alvin Ranglin’s GG Label

GG Label A

A great early hit for the GG Label

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners,

This week’s program which aired on Tuesday, July 21st, started with two sets of fantastic ska beginning with one of the most unheralded singer/songwriters in Jamaica music history, Wilburn “Stranger” Cole’s 1963 cut for Duke Reid’s Dutchess label, “Boy Blue.”  Gaylad, BB Seaton, ended the first set with a fierce solo cut, “Power” produced by Coxsone in 1963.  After another, mostly instrumental ska set, we charged into our mento set with The Tower Islander’s informative tune, “Advice To Men.”  We ended our first hour with an unusually long rocksteady set, beginning with The Originators, “Red Hot Iron” for Gayfeet in 1967 and ending with Junior Smith flute-infused rocksteady, “Cool Down Your Temper.”  At the end of the first hour it was time to spotlight Alvin Ranglin’s GG Label.

Born in the rural district of Eden in Clarendon in Alvin Ranglin’s interest in music began when he was a child as a choir member in the Adventist church. As a teenager, he moved to May Pen for a better school. In May Pen, Ranglin began to sing publicly in concerts. Music, however, was not his original industry of choice. Ranglin first attempted to become a carpenter, then mason, and then a welder, with no luck. At that point, his mother suggested going to England, but Ranglin stayed and became an electrician, emerging after training as a radio and television technician. Given his skills, Ranglin built tube amplifiers that were sold to musicians, and in the hope to get more music to people beyond the amplifiers, Ranglin opened up his GG’s sound system, named after family members, Gloria, her sister, and a cousin nicknamed Girlfriend. With the soundsystem open and connections to the jukebox industry, Ranglin was ready to record his own singles. The earliest to his label were the Maytones and his singing partner Emmanuel Flowers. With the duo Flowers & Alvin, the label scored a hit with Howdy & Tenky, which was further promoted by Ranglin’s own jukebox circulation.  A major entrepreneur with hands in many businesses ranging from TV repair to gaming machines, Ranglin also opened a record store in May Pen, then Kingston, then Halfway Tree, Old Harbour, and eventually in London and Brooklyn.

The Maytones, Vernon Buckley and Gladstone Grant, were early stars on the GG’s label. Buckley was doing book work and Grant was a mini-bus driver, and the two formed the Mighty Maytones and auditioned for Alvin Ranglin when they heard about his record store in Maypen. The Maytones would see great success with Ranglin until Buckley left Jamaica for Canada in 1980. The house band for the label was the GG All Stars and amongst the rotating musicians who played for GG’s All Stars are: Winston Wright or Glen Adams on keyboards.  On trumpet Bobby Ellis and on sax Roy Samuel or Felix Bennett.  On guitar Alva Lewis or Hux Brown. on Drums were Winston Grennan and Calrton Barrett. On bass Clifton Jackson or Aston Barrett and on piano Theo Beckford or Glady Anderson.

Listen to the 7/21/15 edition of Generoso and Lily’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on Mixcloud HERE.

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