Under The Covers
We take an in-depth look at the tunes behind the tunes, the stories behind the tracks that were dusted down and polished up to be covered on the 2 Tone label…
Gangsters (an interpretation of):
Al Capone – Prince Buster
A Message To You Rudy – Dandy Livingstone
Too Much Too Young (an interpretation of):
Birth Control – Lloyd Charmers
Guns of Navarone – The Skatalites
Longshot Kick De Bucket – The Pioneers
Liquidator – Harry J Allstars
Skinhead Moonstomp – Symarip
Rude Buoys Outa Jail (an interpretation of):
Rude Boy Gone A Jail – Desmond Baker & The Clarendonians
Maggies Farm – Bob Dylan
Do The Dog (an interpretation of):
The Dog – Rufus Thomas
Too Hot – Prince Buster
Monkey Man – Toots & The Maytals
Stupid Marriage (an interpretation of):
Judge Dread – Prince Buster
You’re Wondering Now – Andy and Joey
Enjoy Yourself – Prince Buster
Sock It To ‘Em JB – Rex Garvin and The Mighty Cravers
Maggie’s Farm – Bob Dylan
James Bond – John Barry
Everyday – (Time Hard) – The Pioneers
My Collie (Not A Dog) (an interpretation of):
My Boy Lollypop – Barbie Gaye
Carry Go Bring Come – Justin Hinds
Murder – Leon & Owen
(People Get Ready) Lets Do Rocksteady – Dandy Livingstone
Too Experienced – Winston Francis
007 – Desmond Dekker
The Prince (an interpretation of):
Earthquake – Prince Buster
Madness – Prince Buster
One Step Beyond – Prince Buster
Tears Of A Clown – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
Ranking Full Stop (an interpretation of):
Pussy Price – Laurel Aitken
The Swinging Cats
Mantovani (an interpretation of):
Hear my song Violetta – Mantovani
Mantovani (an interpretation of):
Speak to me of Love – Lucienne Boyer
I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down – Sam and Dave
Girls Talk – Dave Edmunds
Sea Cruise – Frankie Ford
Oh Carolina – The Folkes Brothers
Easy Snappin’ – Theophilus Beckford
Do The Reload (an interpretation of):
Green Island – Don Drummond
Easter Island (an interpretation of):
Morning Island – Sadao Watanabe
Red Top – Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra
Fiesta – Charlie Parker
Don’t Stay Out Late – Lord Creator
That Man Is Forward (an interpretation of):
Joker – The Duke Reid Group
Prince Buster – Al Capone
Cecil Bustamente Campbell, better known as Prince Buster and less known by his muslim name Muhammed Yusef Ali, is a musician from Kingston, Jamaica and regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of ska and rocksteady music. The records he made on Blue Beat and his own Prince Buster/Voice Of The People label in the 1960s were an inspiration to many reggae and ska artists.
The Al Capone session featured: Dennis Campbell and Val Bennett on tenor saxes, Raymond Harper and Baba Brooks on trumpets, Junior Nelson on trombone, Ernest Ranglin on guitar and bass, Jah Jerry (Jerome Hinds) on guitar, Gladstone Anderson on piano, Drumbago on drums. Prince Buster/Voice Of The People single. UK single (Blue Beat 324) 1965, with One Step Beyond on the b-side both by Buster.
The Specials – Gangsters was a cheeky reworking of this Buster instrumental. Buster of all the covered artists on 2 Tone probably needs least introduction and his music was covered no less than 7 times on the label (8 if you side with Buster on the disputed rights to Oh Carolina, more on that later…).
Al Capone was a UK top twenty hit in 1967 and is available on Prince Buster Fabulous Greatest Hits (Melodisc Records). Buster recorded a second studio version that appeard on his album The Outlaw, 1969.
Prince Buster – Earthquake
The second release on 2 Tone further cemented the labels debt to Buster with the ‘a’ side both a direct tribute and a subtle reworking of his Earthquake and the flip a straight cover of Madness.
The Prince lyrically mirrors the wordplay on Busters Earthquake and musically uses a similar 12-bar riff. On Earthquake, Buster recounts the virtues of the boxer “The Prince” (himself) Original release b-side Ghost Dance.
Andrew Clayden contacted us to say:
While it is correct that “The Prince” is partly inspired by Buster’s own “Earthquake,” the origns can be traced back further to “Blues In The Night” by Johnnie Taylor on Atlantic Records, which is the original arrangement that Buster ‘adopted’ for “Earthquake.”
There is also another cut to “Blues In The Night” by Patsy [Todd] with Lynn Taitt & The Jets on Doctor Bird Records [DB 1113-B] under the title “A Man Is Two Faced”
Earthquake is available on Prince Buster Fabulous Greatest Hits (Melodisc Records)
Prince Buster – Madness
Buster’s Madness gave The ex-North London Invaders a smarter moniker. The track was part of their live set (as it was for The Specials & The Selecter)
The original a.k.a. ‘Madness Is Gladness’ was released in the UK in 1963 and appeared on the album ‘I Feel The Spirit’. Prince Buster/Voice Of The People single and Blue Beat 170 b/w Toothache. Produced by Buster.
Dandy Livingstone – A Message To You Rudy
One of a long list of songs on the ‘Rude Boy’ theme that was released in the late 60’s. Voicing concern for the unruly youth of Jamaica this track sought to warn those who broke the law that they would suffer the consequence of their actions. There were also records released which sought to glamorise the life style of the rude boy, such as The Pioneers Rudies Are The Greatest. This was the first of 2 Dandy Lingstone tracks to appear on 2 Tone, although in previous years he had produced future 2 Tone artist Rico, when he recorded as Rico and the Rudies.
A Message To You Rudy is available on Suzanne Beware Of The Devil – The Best Of Dandy Livingstone (Trojan Records)
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – Tears Of A Clown
Originally recorded in 1966 this track wasn’t released until 3 years later at a time when Smokey (real name William Robinson) was in the process of leaving the group. The track was a major hit, reaching number one in both the US and UK and convinced Smokey to remain with the band for another 2 years.
In his long career Smokey Robinson has become one of music most prolific songwriters with a huge catalogue of material to his credit. The Beat felt confident enough with their version of the track to released it as their debut single, plus it also allowed them to side step what the band thought was a less than impressive deal with 2 Tone parent company, Chrysalis Records.
Tears of a Clown is available on Smokey Robinson: The Ultimate Collection (Motown Records)
Laurel Aitken – Pussy Price
Laural Aitken made an uncharacteristic move into the rude reggae market with this 1969 single on the Nu-Beat label, which was a subsidiary of the famous Pama label. Pama also included the track in their rude reggae compilation, Birth Control.
Musically it formed the foundation of The Beat’s Ranking Full Stop although the band also performed a cover of the track in their early live sets. Why a band that highlighted the pitfalls of male jealousy and overt sexism in tracks such Hands Off…She’s Mine covered a track like this remains a mystery.
Pussy Price is available on the ‘Woppi King’ Laurel Aitken collection on Trybute.
Rufus Thomas – The Dog
Something of an excentric, Rufus Thomas had a long and extremely varied carried until his death in 2001. He recorded many genres of music such as gospel, blues, funk and soul. Having previously recorded for the legendary Sun Records, it was with Stax Records that he had most success, releasing a string of songs on the ‘Do the’ theme, such as Do the Funky Chicken and Do the Funky Penguin.
Thankfully Jerry Dammers sought inspiration in The Dog though the Specials cover may have more in common with Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames version from 1964.
The Dog is available on The Very Best of Rufus Thomas (Stax Records)
Prince Buster – Too Hot
Yet another Prince Buster rude boy themed record. This time Buster takes a much more ambivalent stance towards the rude boy lifestyle with lines like:
‘Now they calling in for the guns
About to spoil the rude boys fun
The rude boys never give up their guns’
The laid back tempo of the track was replicated perfectly by the Specials on the closing track on the first side of their debut album.
Too Hot is available of Prince Buster Fabulous Greatest Hits (Melodisc Records)
Toots & The Maytals – Monkey Man
This track first appeared on the 1968 album Sweet and Dandy, and was also the title of a 1970 album. Frederick “Toots” Hibbert had on of the most distinctive voices in Jamaican music and although the band originally recorded as The Maytals it was after Toots’ released from jail on a drugs charge that they officially became Toots and The Maytals.
This lyrically nonsensical track was the groups first international hit in 1970, although the band is better known for previous tracks such as Pressure Drop and 54-46 That’s My Number. Monkey Man musically was very similar to The Pioneers’ “Mama Look Deh” but there seems some dispute as to which track was penned first.
Monkey Man is available on Pressure Drop: the Definitive Collection (Trojan Records)
Prince Buster – Judge Dread
One of Busters many Rude Boy themed records, which also spawned numerous ‘response’, records, such as Honeyboy Martin and The Voices Dreader than Dread and follow up records such as Busters own Barrister Pardon. The mythical and ruthless Dread was re-christened Judge Roughneck for the intro of Stupid Marriage.
Judge Dread is available of Prince Buster Fabulous Greatest Hits (Melodisc Records)
Andy and Joey – You’re Wondering Now
Little is known about the vocal pairing of Andy and Joey (any details would be greatly appreciated) but they are just 2 of many vocalist who used the impressive talents of The Skatalites as their backing band.
You’re Wondering Now is available on Studio One Ska (Soul Jazz Records)
The Pioneers – Time Hard
One of the lesser known Pioneers tracks, this was a protest song of the time which The Selecter felt had relevance to the state of late 70’s Britain. Also known as Every Day. The interchange of the songs title was something that passed on to the The Selecter who retiled the track Everyday on some versions of the debut album.
Time Hard is available on Let Your Yeah Be Yeah: Anthology 1966-1986 (Trojan Records)
Barbie Gaye – My Boy Lollypop
Although Millie Small had a major hit with this record in 1964 (with a slight alteration of the spelling i.e. Lollipop) the track was first recorded by teenage R’n’B singer Barbie Gaye in 1957. Lyrically it may have been very basic, but musically it is a very interesting record indeed. It is among the handful of records that bridged the cap between R’n’B and early ska. The Selecter quickly removed any trace of twee innocence there may have been in the original with their reworking of the track as My Collie (Not a dog).
My Boy Lollypop is available on Early Girls Vol.2 (Ace Records)
Leon & Owen – Murder
Although best know for his more slower tempo tacks, this 1962 Blue Beat recording by Owen Gray is much more mento in style. His early recordings read like a who’s who of JA music having worked with producers such as Leslie Kong, Prince Buster, Duke Reid and Coxson Dodd. The Selecter totally revamped this track for their debut album and proved that when it came to the 2 Tone tradition of cover versions they had would opt for the less obvious choices.
Many thanks to Kees for helping us track this one down.
Not yet available on CD.
Justin Hinds & The Dominos – Carry Go Bring Come
The original ska version was recorded in late 1963 at Federal Studios, backed by the Treasure Isle studio band led by Tommy McCook and Herman Marquis and is said to have been recorded in one take. It was released as a single on the Treasure Isle label, backed with a tune called Hill And Gully Ride credited to L. Reid’s Group.
It stayed at the top of the Jamaican charts for eight consecutive weeks in 1963 and also sold considerably well in Great Britain where it was for a long time after its release, one of the most common second-hand Island label records after Guns Of Naverone. Produced by Duke Reid.
A rocksteady version was recorded in 1966-67. Produced by Duke Reid.
John Barry – The James Bond Theme
A dispute over who exactly composed this track has ended up in court on two occasions. The dispute has involved the person who orchestrated the track, John Barry, claiming that he also wrote the track. The court has ruled twice in favour of Monty Norman, who is listed as the original composer and has received royalties on the track since 1962’s Dr No.
The wonderfully named Vic Flick played the famous guitar riff on the original recording, a riff that was ably reproduced by Neol Davies on the closing track of The Selecter’s debut album.
The James Bond Theme is available on The Best of Bond …James Bond (Capitol Records)
Sam and Dave – I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down
The singing duo of Sam Moore and Dave Prater were best known for their soul stompers such as Hold On, I’m Comin and Soul Man but proved that they were equally adapt at ballads as this b-side of the 1967 single, Soothe Me, proves. I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down is also the title of a 1984 Sam and Dave compilation album. The track was totally reworked by Elvis Costello for the 2 Tone single that never was.
I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down is available on Sam and Dave: The Definitive Soul Collection (Rhino Records)
Dave Edmunds – Girls Talk
Here we have a cover version in reverse so to speak. The track ‘Girls Talk’ was the flip to Elvis Costellos’ withdrawn ‘I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down’ single, and although the song was written by Costello, it had already been a top ten single for Welsh rocker Dave Edmunds in 1979.
Dave Edmunds (born 15 April 1944 in Cardiff, Wales) is a British singer, guitarist and record producer. Although he was primarily associated with pub rock and New Wave, and had numerous popular hits in the 1970s and early 1980s, his natural leaning has always been towards 1950s style rock and roll music from the pre-Beatles era. Edmunds is best known for his 1970 hit ‘I Hear You Knocking’ which went to number 1 in UK and number 4 in US.
Lloyd Terell – Birth Control
One of many ‘Rude Reggae’ tracks, which were popular for a period among Jamaican artists. As a rule they contained some rather none too subtle sexual innuendo, although more often than not it was just pure smut. Max Romeo’s Wet Dream is perhaps the best-known rude reggae track and managed to score a respectable number 10 in the UK national chart with its release.
Sometimes listed as Lloyd Tyrell or Lloyd Charmers and The Lowbites, the single provided the foundation for Too Much Too Young, although thankfully the lyrical influence from it was minimal.
Birth Control is available on Trojan X Rated Box Set (Trojan Records)
The Skatalites – Guns Of Navarone
This theme tune from the film of the same name was a top 40 UK hit for The Skatalites on Island Records in 1965. In their mere 18 month recording career the band may have recorded some of the most famous ska instrumentals of all time they had very little chart success, although tracks such as this did find favour among Britain’s developing mod scene.
Guns of Navarone is available on Guns of Navarone: the Best of The Skatalites (Trojan Records)
The Pioneers – Longshot Kick The Bucket
Musically this song is a good example of the slowing down of the rocksteady tempo to the even more laid back reggae beat, however, it’s the songs lyrics which have always been of interest. The song is about a legendary race horse in Jamaica called Long Shot which had a less than impressive track record but through sheer determination managed to win the hearts and minds of large sections of the population. The opening lines of the song ‘What a weeping and a wailing down at Caymanas Park’ sum up the atmosphere rather melodramatically at Jamaica’s only racetrack, Caymanas Park, that fateful day of Long Shots untimely demise.
Released on 3 different labels: Trojan, Big Shot and Attack, The song was a Top 30 hit in 1969 and was also the opening track of the legendary Tighten Up Volume 2 compilation.
Long Shot Kick the Bucket is available on Let Your Yeah Be Yeah: Anthology 1966-1986 (Trojan Records).
Harry J Allstars – Liquidator
Reaching a very respectable number 9 in the UK charts when it was released in 1967, this instrumental by session keyboard player, Winnie Wright, became something of a skinhead reggae classic. The name given to the group of session men who played on the track came from producer Harry Johnson, who carried on a long tradition of reggae producers trying their best to outshine the musicians involved.
Liquidator is available on Liquidator: The Best Of The Harry J. All Stars (Trojan Records)
Symarip – Skinhead Moonstomp
Symarip were a UK ska/reggae group who at various times went under the names The Pyramids, Seven Letters, The Bees & Zubaba. Symarip is an approximate anagram of the word Pyramids.
Aware of the growing Skinhead movement in the UK in the late 60’s, the band began to produce skinhead anthems such as ‘Skinhead Moonstomp’, ‘Skinhead Girl’ and ‘Skinhead Jamboree’. Skinhead Moonstomp (which was based on the Derrick Morgan’s ‘Moon Hop’) was released in 1969 on the Treasure Isle label (Skinhead Moonstomp / Must Catch A Train – Treasure Isle TI-7050) and was issued again on Trojan in 1979, (Skinhead Moonstomp / Skinhead Jamboree – Trojan TR-9062)
In 1971 the band moved to Germany performing reggae and Afro-rock under the name Zubaba. In light of the success of 2 Tone, Trojan issued the Skinhead Moonstomp album in 1980, and Symarip found themselves in the UK charts for the first time. The band split in 1983.
Dandy Livingstone – (People Get Ready) Lets Do Rock Steady
Dandy Livingston(e) aka Robert Livingston Thompson was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1944. He moved to the UK when he was 15 and would later become a regular vocalist for Sonny Roberts pioneering UK ‘Orbitone’ label, and recorded with Tito Simone as Sugar & Dandy and also as Dandy, Brother Dan Allstars and Dandy & The Superboys.
Best known for his 1972 hit, ‘Suzanne Beware of the Devil’ which reached number 14 in the UK charts, and of course for ‘Rudy, A Message to You’ where Dandy recorded with Rico and would later produce a number of singles for the trombonist as Rico & the Rudies.
(People Get Ready) Let’s Do Rocksteady was released as the flip side of the 1967 single ‘We Are Still Rude’ on the Giant label (GN 7), it was also available on the the 1967 Giant album ‘Rock Steady With Dandy’ (GNL 1000).
Desmond Baker & The Clarendonians – Rude Boy Gone A Jail
The Clarendonians were formed in 1965 by Ernest Wilson & Peter Austin (also of The Soul Lads). They were later joined by a young Freddie McGregor, and there seems to be much speculation as to who indeed Desmond Baker is, or if he exists at all…, perhaps a pseudonym for the young McGregor.
The track was released on the Coxsone label as ‘Rude Boy Gone A Jail’ by The Clarendonians and later in the UK in 1966 on Island (Island WI 295) with ‘Don’t Fool Me’ by The Sharks on the flip.
Winston Francis – Too Experienced
Winston Francis was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1948. He moved to Miami with his family at sixteen and attended music school where he was spotted by the well known writer/arranger Chuck Bird, who likened his voice to that of Nat King Cole.
Bird got gigs for Francis in Miami form around 1965 and thereafter Francis began travelling regularly to Jamaica and made some recordings in Coxsone’s Studio One.
He scored a hit in the UK with his album ‘Mr Fix It’ whose cover of the Mamas and the Papas’ ‘California Dreamin’ was Tony Blackburn’s ‘Hit Pick of the Week’ on Radio One for two weeks straight…
Too Experienced was released on both the album and the flip side to the California Dreamin’ single, and features falsetto backing vocals from Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer no less.
Too Experienced would go on to be covered by many more artists than just The Bodysnatchers, the list includes, Owen Gray, Eddie Lovette, Bob Andy, Miss Dynamite, Shalene, Barrington Levy, Shola Lewis, The Bonedaddys, Byron Lee & The Dragonaires and Jackie Edwards.
Prince Buster – Enjoy Yourself
Obviously not a Buster original, but certainly Busters’ recording was the touchstone for The Specials version. Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think) is something of a popular standard, published in 1948, with music by Carl Sigman & lyrics by Herb Magidson (both since inaugurated into the American Songwriting Hall Of Fame).
The most famous version of the song, by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, was recorded in 1949 (Decca 24825), charting in January 1950, it spent 19 weeks on the US chart peaking at no.10. It was quickly followed by Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (RCA Victor 20-3375) and Doris Day (Columbia 38709).
Enjoy Yourself has been covered by a multitude of artists including: Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians, Tommy Dorsey, Doris Day, Donald Peers, Jack Smith, Louis Prima & His Orchestra, Paul Reece, The Sound Sifters, Jools Holland (with Prince Buster), Bing Crosby and Mrs. Mills.
Buster released his version as ‘Enjoy It’ in 1963, and it appeared on the flip-side of the ‘Open Up Bartender’ 45 on Blue Beat (Open Up Bartender / Enjoy It – BB 158)
Rex Garvin and The Mighty Cravers – Sock It To ‘Em JB
Rex Garvin is a fairly elusive character, and it’s tough going digging up any info on him. He was born in the Bronx, New York around 1937. Involved with doowop group The Hearts and Johnnie and Joe with his neighbour Zelma “Zell” Sanders.
He released a number of records with the Mighty Cravers in the early to mid 60’s for a variety of labels like Okeh, Like, Tower, Uptown, and Atlantic, but never really broke through into the charts.
The Specials’ version is surprisingly faithful to the original a semi-instrumental which was themed around the James Bond movies and was a big Manchester soul club hit.
The song was released on Like & Atlantic as Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers – Sock It To Em JB Part1 (aka What’s In a Name) backed with Part2 an almost dub version if you like, of the A-side.
The track was also covered by Sandy Nelson in 1966.
Mantovani – Hear My Song Violetta
In researching this article it was The Swinging Cats and Rico that really took us further afield than the shores of Jamaica. And with Mantovani the Cats sent us to Italy and France respectively as in one song they borrowed from both Hear My Song Violetta & Speak To Me Of Love.
Annunzio Paolo Mantovani was born in Venice, Italy in 1905 and passed away in 1980 in Tunbridge Wells in England. A violinist, pianist, musical director, conductor, composer and arranger, Mantovani was one of the most successful orchestra leaders and album sellers in the history of popular music.
After the family moved to England in 1912, he made his professional debut at the age of 16. He recorded for UK Decca and while experimenting with various arrangements he, came up with what has been variously called the ‘cascading strings’, ‘cascading violins’, or ‘tumbling strings’ effect, it became, the orchestra’s trademark sound.
He is said to have been the first to sell over a million stereo units, aided by the superb quality of sound obtained by Decca. Between 1955 and 1966 he had 28 albums in the US Top 30. He was awarded a special Ivor Novello Award in 1956 for services to popular music.
Hear My Song, Violetta has been recorded many times by different artists, most famously by Josef Locke in 1947 but also by David Whitfield, Tommy Dorsey, Jorgen Ingmann, Tony Martin, Glenn Miller, Victor Sylvester and Frank Sinatra.
Lucienne Boyer – Parlez-Moi D’Amour
“Parlez-moi d’amour” or “Speak to me of love” was written by film composer Jean Lenoir in 1930. It was first recorded by Lucienne Boyer and has become a popular music standard with a host of (mostly French) cover versions from the likes of: Jean Lumière, Ray Ventura, Anny Gould – Lina Margy, Colette Renard, Sacha Distel, Dalida, Suzy Delair, Petula Clark, Juliette Gréco, Yvette Giraud, Patachou, Tino Rossi, Marie Laforêt, Jacqueline Boyer, Patrick Bruel, Duke Ellington.
Lucienne Boyer (1903 – 1983), was a French singer, born Émilienne-Henriette Boyer in Montparnasse Quarter of Paris. While working as a part-time model, she was given a chance to sing in the cabarets of Montparnasse. In 1927 she got the chance to spend nine months in New York, returning to perform there and to South America numerous times throughout the 1930s. By 1933 she had made a large number of recordings for Columbia Records in France including her signature song, ” Parlez-moi d’amour”. the song won the first-ever Grand Prix du Disque of the Charles Cros Academy.
In 1939, she married the cabaret singer Jacques Pills of the popular duo ‘Pills et Tabet’. Their daughter Jacqueline, born on April 23, 1941, followed in their footsteps, becoming a successful singer who won the 1960 Eurovision Song Contest for France singing “Tom Pillibi”.
Frankie Ford – Sea Cruise
Huey “Piano” Smith (born January 1934 in New Orleans) is an American rhythm and blues pianist whose influence on New Orleans music in the mid 1950s was profound.
In 1959, Ace Records producer Johnny Vincent erased Huey’s voice from the now classic single he composed, arranged and performed entitled “Sea Cruise”, and replaced it with a more energetic vocal track by white singer Frankie Ford. The tune was a huge hit for Ford.
Ford recorded several singles for the Ace label in the late ’50s that featured top New Orleans players like Smith and saxophonist Red Tyler, but none were to eclipse the success of “Sea Cruise,” which made the Top 20 in 1959 and remains one of the hits most identified with the classic New Orleans R&B sound.
The Folkes Brothers – Oh Carolina
The Folkes Brothers were a Jamaican mento group, composed of John, Mico, and Junior Folkes. Their 1960 single “Oh Carolina” was the first hit song produced by Prince Buster and is regarded as a landmark in the history of ska and reggae music. In 1994, John Folkes and Buster were involved in a legal dispute over the authorship of the song, after a cover version by Shaggy became an international hit. It was eventually ruled that Folkes held the copyright.
Oh Carolina b/w I Met A Man
Buster Wild Bells ZSP 52834-1A 1961 / Blue Beat BB 30 /UK 1961
This track was cut at Prince Buster’s first ever recording session at RJR studios in Kingston. Buster was the first to bring Rastafarian drummer Count Ossie & His Wareikas (some sources suggest that included Rico Rodriguez) into the studio. He thus created a new sound on record with huge influence for the roots music of the 1970s.
Bob Dylan – Maggie’s Farm
This was an update of Dylan’s 1961 song “Hard Times in the Country,” which was adapted from The Bentley Brothers “Penny’s Farm,” a 1920s musical complaint about a rural landlord. He recorded the track at one of his first Rock sessions on January 14, 1965 backed by 2 electric guitarists, piano, bass, and drums.
Dylan performed it live for the first time in 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival. He provoked an adverse reaction by playing Rock at the said Folk festival, and this opened his set. Some feel that Dylan was using Maggie’s Farm as a metaphor for the Folk Singer Industry. He wasn’t going to work for the Folk Factory anymore… he was going to go electric and cover new ground.
The track appeared on The album ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ and was released as a single: Maggie’s Farm / On The Road Again – 1965 UK CBS 45 201781
Theo Beckford – Easy Snappin’
Born Theophilus Beckford in 1935, Kingston, Jamaica, Theo was a piano player influenced by American shuffle, boogie, & R&B. He was a part of the group Clue J & The Blues Blasters who recorded for Studio One in the late 50’s. Along with Ernie Ranglin, there are some who credit Beckford with inventing the Jamaican strand of shuffle or boogie music which later became knwon as ska.
Easy Snappin’ was first released in 1959 with Beckford on vocal and piano. Cluett Johnson on bass, Ian Pearson on drums, Ken Richards on guitar, Roland Alphonso on tenor sax and Rico Rodriguez on solo trombone (his first recording session). UK single (Blue Beat 15) with Goin’ Home on the b-side. Produced by Clement S. Dodd.
Beckford died March 20, 2001 murdered at the age of 65, stabbed by a man with whom he had a dispute.
Charlie Parker – Fiesta
Charlie Parker is widely considered one of the most influential of jazz musicians of all time. He acquired the nickname “Yardbird” early in his career, and the shortened form “Bird” remained Parker’s alias for the rest of his life, inspiring the titles of a number of Parker compositions, such as “Yardbird Suite” and “Ornithology.”
Parker played a leading role in the development of bebop, a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuoso technique, and improvisation based on harmonic structure. Parker’s innovative approaches to melody, rhythm, and harmony exercised enormous influence on his contemporaries. Several of Parker’s songs have become standards, including “Billie’s Bounce,” “Anthropology,” “Ornithology,” and “Confirmation”.
Parker also became an icon for the hipster subculture and later the Beat generation, personifying the conception of the jazz musician as an uncompromising artist and intellectual, rather than just a popular entertainer.
The Album Fiesta was first released on Verve MG V-8008 in 1951. mono. Fiesta 45 rpm: Clef EPC 337, 12″ LP: Verve MGV 8008, MGV 8126. Charlie Parker (as); Walter Bishop, Jr. (p); Teddy Kotick (b); Roy Haynes (d); Luis Miranda (cga); Jose Mangual (bgo). A Norman Granz-produced session putting Parker in a Latin setting.
Lord Creator – Don’t Stay Out Late
Alongside Cuban born Rolando Alphonso, Barbadian Jackie Opel and fellow Trinidadians Lynn Taitt and Lord Bryner, Lord Creator was an important and positive ‘outside’ influence during the early development of the Jamaican music scene. Born Kentrick Patrick in San Fernando Trinidad, Lord Creator moved to Jamaica in 1962 due to the huge popularity he had achieved with the Caribbean smash hit song ‘Evening News’. When it came to singing smooth ballads or letting loose over Calypso or Ska arrangements he was a ‘cut above’ and Lord Creator became a much loved performer all over Jamaica…and beyond.
In 1962, he recorded “Independent Jamaica”, which became the official song marking Jamaica’s independence from the British Empire on 6 August 1962. That song was also the first record on Chris Blackwell’s newly founded Island Records label in the United Kingdom (Island 001). In 1963, “Don’t Stay Out Late”, produced by Vincent Chin, became a huge hit in Jamaica.
In 1964, he had a further hit with “Big Bamboo”, produced by Coxsone Dodd with Tommy McCook on saxophone. His biggest hit was “Kingston Town”, a tune he recorded for producer Clancy Eccles in 1970 which would go on to become a huge hit for UB40 in 1989.
Lionel Hampton and His Orchetra – Red Top
Lionel Leo Hampton, was an American jazz vibraphonist, percussionist, bandleader and actor. Like Red Norvo, he was one of the first real jazz vibraphone players. “Hamp” ranks among the great names in jazz history, having worked with a who’s who of jazz musicians, from Benny Goodman and Buddy Rich to Charlie Parker and Quincy Jones.
He was born April 20, 1908 in Louisville, Kentucky. His father, Charles Hampton, a promising pianist and singer, was reported missing and later declared killed in World War I. Lionel and his mother, Gertrude, first moved to Birmingham, Alabama, to be with her family, then settled in Chicago.
He attended the Holy Rosary Academy, near Kenosha, Wisconsin, where a Dominican sister give him his first drum lessons. Hampton was only 15 when he graduated from high school and joined Les Hite’s band. Benny Goodman broke the color barrier in jazz when he asked Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa to became members of his Quartet.
While playing with Goodman, Hampton recorded a number of records under his own name. He formed trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, septets, octets and nontets, as well as his own big band to cut dozens of records between 1937 and 1941.
LIONEL HAMPTON Decca 78 25281 Red Top b/w Giddy Up.
The Duke Reid Group – Joker
Duke Reid was born in Jamaica as Arthur Reid around 1915. As a young man he served in the Police Force for about ten years. He had a love of American R & B music and owned a Liquor Store on Bond Street, with his wife, the Duchess. The shop was called Treasure Isle. He had a record program on Jamaica radio called “Treasure Isle Time” playing R & B 78’s. Leading USA Jazz artist like Lester Young, Colman Hawkins, Tab Smith and Illinois Jaquet could be heard.
By the mid fifties Duke Reid had his own sound system. This comprised of large speakers and a record playing deck together with a powerful amplifier. He used a large van to transport this equipment around Jamaica to dance halls and open air events. Due to the nature of the van it became known as the Trojan. Clemont Seymore Dodd also had a sound system called Sir Coxone Downbeat after the Yorkshire cricketer Coxone. They had many a ” Battle of the sound Systems” and towards the end of the fifties Duke Reid the Trojan was crowned king.
His record production career began in 1959 on the “Trojan ” record label, these were on 78’s, such as Duke’s Cookies and Chuck and Dobby “Cool School”. On the Duke Reid label due to demand he issued home made recordings of the USA R & B style music. He formed his own backing band the Duke Reid Group who backed young singers like Derrick Morgan and the Jiving Juniors. Around this time the Jamaican R & B gave way to Ska, the guitar and piano played on every beat whilst the drummer reversed the offbeat, the bass played a powerful ‘walking’ rhythm.
Don Drummond – Green Island
Duke Reid built his own recording studio, of wood, above the ‘Treasure Isle Liquor Store’. Now he could with his engineer, Bryon Smith, achieve a high quality production and experiment with new sounds and rhythms.
The Duke Reid Group would have had a changeable line-up inclding at various stages ex-members of The Skatalities, Tommy McCook sax and flute, Herman Marquis alto sax, Lennox Brown sax, Vin Gordon trombone, Baba Brooks trumpet, Jackie Jackson bass, Ernest Ranglin and Lyn Taitt on guitar, Winston Wright organ, Gladstone “Gladdy” Anderson piano, Lloyd Knibb or Hugh Malcolm on drums.
Don Drummond was a part-time music teacher at Alpha School, a Catholic school for boys who were nearly all from poor, underprivileged backgrounds. Alpha veered towards the European musical tradition of marching and classical music. Drummond graduated from being one of the schools top seniors, to its main tutor.
In 1964, under Coxsone Dodd’s supervision, keyboardist and musical director Jackie Mittoo began to assemble the best musicians in Jamaica to create a sound that would dominate the music scene for years to come. The seeds for the Skatalites were sown while Mittoo played in the Sheiks, alongside Johnny Moore (trumpet) and Lloyd Knibbs on drums. After guitarist Lynn Taitt and Tommy McCook declined to join the band, Drummond was the man Mittoo turned to, and he quickly became the most prolific composer and musician in the band.
The Skatalites as a group came to an end in 1965. Don Drummond was arrested on New Years Eve 1965, accused of murdering his girlfriend Marguerita. He died in Bellevue, a mental institution in 1969. The Skatalites last gig was a Police Dance at the Runaway Bay Hotel. Roland Alphonso went on to form the Soul Brothers then later the Soul Vendors. Tommy McCook and the Supersonics became Duke Reids session band at Treasure Isle recording studio.
The track Green Island appears on many releases and is variously credited as Don Drummond or as The Skatalites. Rico previously recorded a version as ‘Rainbow Into The Rio Mino’ (aka Green Island) for his Trombone Man, and here on That Man Is Forward he records it as ‘Do The Reload’
Sadao Watanabe – Morning Island
Sadao Watanabe is a Japanese jazz musician. He learned clarinet and alto in high school, and in the 1950s he moved to Tokyo, joining Toshiko Akiyoshi’s bop-oriented group in 1953. When the pianist moved to the U.S. in 1956, Watanabe took over the band. He attended Berklee during 1962-1965 and had the opportunity to work with Gary McFarland, Chico Hamilton, and Gabor Szabo.
However, Watanabe has remained mostly based in Japan throughout his career where he is a major influence on younger players. He has recorded steadily through the years, most notably with Chick Corea in New York (1970) and with the Galaxy All-Stars (1978).
Watanabe is also known as a talented photographer and has published six picture books. As an executive producer of the Japanese Government Exhibition Project for the 2005 in Japan, he advocates the message “World Peace” through music.
Prince Buster – One Step Beyond
The former amateur boxer Cecil Busamente Campbell worked as a bouncer for legendary JA producer Clement Dodd before trying his hand at the music business. Although he pioneered the semi-spoken word vocal style he also left his mark as both a producer and musical arranger.
His most famous instrumental track, Al Capone, was reworked for the debut release on 2 Tone and as an added bonus the single’s b-side, One Step Beyond, provided North London’s finest with a track that would become synonymous with the band.
One Step Beyond is available on Prince Buster Fabulous Greatest Hits (Melodisc Records)
Desmond Dekker – 007 (Shanty Town)
Former apprentice tailor Desmond Adolphus Dacres recorded a string of tracks on the Rude Boy theme but the 1967 UK chart hit ‘007’ is perhaps his best known. JA producers such as Coxsone Dodd and Duke Reid were less than impressed with the talents of the young Desmond Dekker and it wasn’t until he enlisted the help of Derrick Morgan (who later went on to have something of a recording spat with Prince Buster) that he found success with producer Leslie Kong.
Dekker was a firm favourite amongst both the 60s mods and original skinheads and managed to achieve a major chart hit on both sides of the Atlantic with his most famous track ‘Israelites’. Given his high profile in the early reggae scene in the UK it is perhaps surprising that the only ever cover version of a Dekker song on 2 Tone came via a previously unreleased Bodysnatchers track on the Compact 2 Tone Story.
007(Shanty Town) is available on Israelites: The Best Of Desmond Dekker (Trojan)