Tuesday, February 27, 2007

By Request... A Little Lord Creator

By Request... Lord Creator (born Kentrick Patrick circa 1940 in San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago) began his career as a calypso singer. In 1962 he moved to Jamaica after achieving initial success with his song "Evening News" in 1959. His talent easily transitioned from calypso into the new ska sound emanating from the island around the time and Creator quickly became known as one of the best crooners in Jamaica. Creator's track "Independent Jamaica" became the official song marking Jamaica's Independence from the British Empire on August 6, 1962. It was also the first song ever released in the UK on Chris Blackwell's Island Records label (Island 001) though oddly enough legend has it that Owen Gray's "Twist Baby" (Island 002) made it to the shops first. In '64 with the help of Coxsone Dodd and the equally legendary Tommy McCook he hit big with the tune "Big Bamboo." After that success he went on to record a calypso album at Studio One called Jamaica Time (which I unfortunately don't have and have never even heard!) Lord Creator went on to record throughout the ska era, through the rocksteady phase and disappeared from the scene in 1970 right around the time the reggae sound was gaining momentum and right after he cut one of his best known tracks "Kingston Town" for producer Clancy Eccles.

There is an interesting story regarding the later phases of Creator's career... apparently Creator had run into some hard times and had borrowed $30 from Eccles. Some time had passed when Eccles was informed that UB40 had recorded a version of "Kingston Town" and that Lord Creator was due substantial royalties. When Clancy Eccles approached Creator to let him know the good news Creator fled afraid that the producer had come to collect the $30 he owed him. After Eccles caught up with him and royalties began to roll in Creator was able to get his life and career back on track. He went on to perform at various "Oldies Nights" and even toured Japan later on.

So... as per the requests, here is the Lord Creator mix and this is what you're going to hear...

1. "Hold Me Tight" from the Studio One album Dance Hall '63 featuring King Stitt
2. "Feeling The Rhythm" from the Studio One "Best of Lord Creator" CD called Golden Love
3. "Bang Bang Lulu" from the Dynamic Sounds produced calypso album Big Bamboo
4. "Big Bamboo" taken from the Trojan Calypso Box Set
5. "Evening News" from the Blue Beat 7" (BB 292)
6. "Everything Crash" again from the CD Golden Love
7. "Independent Jamaica" from Island Records 40th Anniversary CD set
8. "Such Is Life" from the various artists sampler CD called The Rough Guide To The Music Of Jamaica
9. "Paint Up, Clean Up Time" also from the Trojan Calypso box
10. "Remember Ma & Pa" taken from a Randy's 7"
11. "Precious Time" from Golden Love again
12. "Molly" off the CD boxset Trojan Reggae Brothers
13. "Archie Buck Them Up" from the Studio One LP called Presenting Jamaica All Stars Vol 1
14. "Kingston Town" off the Trojan Originals Boxset
15. "Bangarang" taken from Golden Love once again
16. "Beyond" also from the King Stitt enhanced LP Dance Hall '63

Give him a listen!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Sweet Sounds Of The Heptones

Okay, now that we’re done taking a little trip away from Jamaica we’re back to the island for music that we all can consider “Distinctly Jamaican.” I was giving the Heptones a listen this weekend and surprised myself when I realized that I have yet to give them some praise or exposure here. I love these guys! They’re the kind of group that never fail to raise your mood. Great lyrics, smooth harmonies, just some of the best music you can wrap your ears around – regardless of genre and era!

The vocal trio know as the Heptones comprised of Leroy Sibbles, Barry Llewellyn and Earl Morgan, were beyond a doubt one of the best rocksteady and reggae harmony groups that Jamaica ever produced. After a brief stint with Ken Lack’s Caltone label, they started recording a string of hits when they went to work for Coxsone at Studio One in 1966 right at dawn of the rocksteady era. They left Studio One in 1971 and went on to record for Joe Gibbs, Harry J, Augustus Pablo, Harry Mudie, Geoffrey Chung, Phill Pratt, Rupie Edwards and last but not least Lee “Scratch” Perry. Eventually Sibbles left the group for a solo career and the Heptones regrouped adding Naggo Morris as his replacement with minor success.

I present, for your listening pleasure, a mix of Heptones tracks from various eras and producers, in no particular order. Hopefully you’ll hear some tunes you know and if you’re unfamiliar with this talented group perhaps this mix will inspire you to discover more. Give ‘em a listen!

Here is what you're gonna hear...

The first track is called "Ting A Ling" and comes from the album of the same name produced by Coxsone Dodd and of course released on the Studio One label in 1970. Next we have the song "Road Of Life" produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry and taken from the 1977 album called Party Time on the Island Records label. Third, we've got "Fatty Fatty" from the Dodd produced various artists album called Natural Reggae released on Studio One in 1969. "Sufferer's Time" also from Party Time is next in the mix. The Augustus Pablo produced track called "Love Won't Come Easy" taken from the 1979 Greensleeves 12" is next followed by a nice melodica tinged dub called "Rockers Dub" courtesy of the man Mr. Pablo - a nice heavy Rockers tune! Back to Coxsone again with the song "Haven't You Any Fight Left," swiped from the Ting A Ling LP. "Make Up Your Mind" is the eighth track inside the mix borrowed from the excellent but nowhere near complete Lee Perry box set Arkology. Sticking with another Perry production is the tune "Warden" from the fantastic CD called Unreleased Night Food And Rare Black Ark Sessions originally recorded circa 1976-1977 and finally released on the Auralux label in 2005. "Warden Dub" immediately follows this track. One of the best known Heptones tracks is next, a little tune called "Country Boy" from the Harry J produced LP called Cool Rasta released on Trojan Records in 1976. This version of the song is different than the Island Night Food release... it doesn't have the bluesy guitar soloing at the top but it's relatively the same. "Good Life" off another Greensleeves 12", also from 1979 but this time produced by Joseph "Hoo" Kim - another nice song but I'm kinda biased. I've always admired and respected the quality music Greensleeves made available on 12" single from the late 70's all the way through the "rub-a-dub" of the early 80's, but I digress. From the Heartbeat release called Sea Of Love is another Coxsone classic called "Be A Man." Another Coxsone tune called "Nine Pound" comes at you next from the aforementioned Ting A Ling. Back to the Black Ark for "Crying Over You" from the Pressure Sounds various artists CD called Produced And Directed By The Upsetter. Jumping right back to Studio One we've got "I Shall Be Released" from Sea Of Love - an absolute classic tune! A real uplifting tune called "Sweet Talkin'" lifted from the album Night Food is rounding out near the bottom of the playlist. "Give Me The Right" from the 1982 self produced Heptones LP called On The Run is the eighteenth track in the mix. We follow that one up with another tune from the same LP called "Work And No Pay." Finally the last track presented for your listening pleasure is called "Choice Of Colours" heisted from the Studio One various artists release from 1971 called Reggaematic Sounds. Enjoy!

Heptones Mix

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Distinctly Non-Jamaican Sounds Of Reggaexx's Noir Mix

I know the name of the blog is Distinctly Jamaican Sounds and in the year its been in operation I've only posted music of the Jamaican variety. And though Jamaican music is my one true love I do occasionally listen to other things such as blues, early rhythm and blues, exotica and cool jazz and that is where the dilemma comes in. I just completed a "crime jazz" mix complete with clips from noir films and I wanted to share it. Would anyone be interested in hearing this non-reggae mix? Or will I be alienating those who stop here for Jamaican music? Don't get me wrong, I'm not announcing a "format change" for the blog and if I hear enough requests I may institute a once-a-year policy for posting non-Jamaican mixes.

I'm really proud at how this "Noir" mix came out - the music I selected blend well and really provide a highly visual and even moody listening experience.

After reading the feedback I have decided to post the mix... Here it is!

1. Serge Gainsbourg – Black March
2. Mulatu Estatke - Gubelye’
3. Holly Golightly – Love Is
4. Laurindo Almeida – Big Town
5. Curtis Counce – The Butler Did It
6. Artie Shaw – Nightmare
7. Jimmy Smith – Chicago Serenade
8. Sam “The Man” Taylor & His Cat Men – Harlem Nocturne
9. Sarah Vaughn – Night Song
10. Sam Butera – Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
11. John Coltrane - Theme For Ernie
12. Nelson Riddle – Speakeasy Blues
13. Bobby Darin - Charade
14. Jerry Goldsmith – Love Theme From Chinatown
15. Stan Wilson – A Lady Sings The Blues
16. Heath Allen – Detective In The Rain
17. Miles Davis – ‘Round Midnight
18. Alex North – Floozie
19. Jazz At The Movies – The Big Sleep
20. Quincy Jones - Peter Gunn

Monday, February 12, 2007

Valentine's Love Gone Wrong

I've never been one for Valentine's Day. To me it always seemed like a holiday devised by the card companies, chocolate makers and the florists to help tide them over until Easter. Luckily my wife is of the same mind-set so there's never a need to commit to a financial splurge on roses and Godiva's - thank God! Don't get me wrong, I love what the holiday represents and there is nothing nicer in life than finding someone you'll enjoy growing old with but I don't think we should need a "holiday" to profess our love with tokens from our wallets! But enough of that... I'm here to present another themed mix for your listening pleasure.

It would probably have been a lot easier for me to find 20 or so love songs and put them up for all to hear but I wanted to go a different direction. Besides, by posting true love songs would be falling into the trap that Hallmark has set for us. Instead I've decided to expound on one of the most painful and annoying aspects of love; the break-up.

Here's the track listing...

Winston Samuels – I’m Leaving
Lloyd Clarke – Love Me Or Leave Me
The Wailers – Don’t Ever Leave Me
Winston Samuels – She’s Gone
Freddie McKay – Tears Won’t Help You
Derrick Morgan – Tears On My Pillow
Horace Andy – Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely
Boris Gardiner – Ain’t No Sunshine
Max Romeo – I Don’t Want To Let You Go
The Silvertones – That’s When It Hurts
Ronnie Davis – I’ve Lost My Lover
Gregory Isaacs – Love Is Overdue
Carlton & The Shoes – Never Give Your Heart Away
Ken Boothe – Crying Over You
Winston Francis – Leaving
Bob Marley & The Wailers – She’s Gone
Delroy Wilson – Here Comes The Heartaches
Paulette & The Lovers – Please Stay
Horace Andy – Please Don’t Go
Barrington Levy – Why Did You Leave Me