Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Day 256 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - The Starlights Featuring Stanley Beckford - Boderation
Plain and simple, I love the hell outta Stanley Beckford. You see, Stanley Beckford (1942-2007) had one of the most distinctive voices in Jamaican music, especially during the reggae era and mainly because it hearkened back to mento. His high-pitched, nasal timbre that was prevalent in a lot of singers years before ska ever hit the Jamaican audience's ears, did not work for his first foray into music with the band Soul Syndicate in 1968 and he was quickly replaced. Beckford in turn had to take a job as a night watchman at the telephone company and one night in 1973 while witnessing an arrest by the local police he wrote the song "You Are A Wanted Man." The lyrics so impressed Alvin "GG" Ranglin that he gave Beckford an audition and when it was recorded, with the Starlights doing the backing, the record's distinctive mento flavor differed so much from the then current wave of reggae sweeping the island, it shot up the chart to number one. After a string of hits, Beckford parted ways with Ranglin over a financial dispute and sought out another producer, eventually lending his talents to Barrington Jeffrey at Dynamic Sounds with a new band called The Turbines. He spent the rest of the decade recording mento-influenced tunes until the dawn of the digital era when his output waned. In 2001 Stanley Beckford recorded Stanley Beckford Plays Mento a straight-up mento album backed by The Blue Glaze band which covered a diverse catalog of songs, including an absolutely beautiful cover of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds," and it immediately became one of my all-time favorite albums! His follow-up release Reggaemento in 2004 was just as good! Sadly when Stanley Beckford passed away of throat cancer in 2007, Jamaican music lost a true living link with its past and I for one am grateful for what he did for me in opening my ears to mento music. RIP Mr. Beckford, you will not be forgotten. And with that said, let's get to the 254th track in the 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge... this one is called "Boderation" and it comes from an excellent 1993 Starlights compilation on the Heartbeat label called Soldering. Pure niceness!