Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Day 165 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Prince Buster - High Blood Pressure

Cecil Bustamente Campbell AKA Prince Buster, was born in Kingston in 1938 but was sent to rural Jamaica to live with his grandmother to better embrace his families strong Christian faith.  When he returned to the city just a few years later, he began singing rock n' roll a few times a week at a teenage social club called the Glass Bucket Club, which was the thing at the time in the 1950s.  Once he graduated, Buster linked up with Tom the Great Sebastien, an early sound system that specialized in American rhythm and blues.  But he didn't get into the behind-the-scenes operation of a sound system until he met Coxsone Dodd where he handled security, identified and located records and even collecting tickets, before eventually moving up to becoming Dodd's selector.  But instead of sticking with Dodd he started his own Voice of the People sound system with financial backing from his family and a radio shop owner.  Voice of the People quickly became a rival with the Island's two biggest sounds Coxsone and Duke Reid's and in order to compete he applied to become a seasonal farm laborer in the U.S. where he intended to spend his down-time seeking out new records for his sound system.  But when his request was denied and he came to the realization that it was going to be virtually impossible for him to get music from the United States he decided to start recording his own.  By the time the 60s rolled around Prince Buster had established himself as a well-rounded singer, producer, songwriter and arranger and when he established a deal with the UK-based Blue Beat label he quickly found an international following.  What week of ska would be complete without a little Prince Buster?  Today's tune "High Blood Pressure" recorded and released in 1965 on Buster's own Islam label and also sold to the UK market on Blue Beat, is yet another ska vocal classic.  The video features the original vinyl, my track in the weekly mix comes from a 2003 CD compilation called Rock A Shacka Vol. 2 from Drum & Bass Records in Japan.

No comments: