Friday, August 19, 2016

Day 293 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Royals - Pick Up The Pieces

The Royals were formed in 1964 by Roy Cousins and continued to record in various incarnations all the way until the mid-80s.  They started out unsuccessfully as the Tempests in the studios of Duke Reid, Lloyd Daley and Coxsone Dodd; Dodd of which shelved the original recording of today's tune "Pick Up The Pieces" backed my the Sound Dimension which they recorded in 1967.  The following year Joe Gibbs gave The Royals their break by releasing "Never See Come See" and they were met with moderate success but Cousins decided to disband the group while he continued to work his day-job at the post office in an effort to make and save some money.  In 1971 Cousins started his Tamoki, Wambesi and Uhuru labels with his earnings and later that year when the re-recorded take of "Pick Up The Pieces" had become a hit, Dodd finally decided it was time to release the original, crediting The Tempests (The Royals original name), four years after it was recorded.  Underhanded?  Yes.  Sleazy?  Sure.  But if I were to get into some of the horror stories I've read about musicians and their dealings with Studio One I could go on for days, if not months.  So I'll stop right there.  But "Pick Up The Pieces" became much larger than just a Royals track, it became one of those Studio One riddims that got the dancehall rehab in the late 70s and early 80s and has been used countless times by artists from Barrington Levy to Ranking Joe to Ninjaman.  And from what I've read Dodd wasn't too keen on the do-over treatment his riddims got by other producers that perhaps it was The Royals who got the last laugh on "Pick Up The Pieces" after all.

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