Monday, March 23, 2009

A Tribute To Producer Arthur "Duke" Reid

Here's the second part in my "Producer Tribute Series." This time I'm serving you a hearty helping of Duke Reid for your hungry ears. During the last couple months I have had an insatiable appetite for anything related to Reid's rocksteady/early reggae productions and originally released on his Treasure Isle label. Don't get me wrong I find comfort in nearly all eras of Jamaican music but this music has consistently lifted my mood numerous times throughout the years and I thought it was about time to pay tribute to one of the true greats!

As I did with the Leslie Kong mix, I've spared some time by not researching a lot of background information and I didn't even attempt to try and chronicle all the hit songs that flew out of the doors of 33 Bond Street.

But instead of going the quick Wikipedia route I wanted to share some sentiments found inside the liner notes of some of the Treasure Isle various artist CDs that I tapped to put together the mix...

The first quotation comes from the 2001 Heartbeat release called By Special Request (18 Top Rock-Steady & Reggae Classics) written by Chris Wilson...

"Duke Reid was a true pioneer in Jamaica. A colorful character that wore a bandoleer and carried a pair of pistols... who was a former police man and yet attracted some of the roughest followers to his sound system... whose wife's liquor store was stocked with bottles of alcohol and policemen. By all reports he dealt with artists well and they repaid him by giving him some of the greatest songs ever recorded in Jamaica. An era ended with his death in 1975 and his legacy has not received the proper examination it deserves. The legacy of Treasure Isle seems more important outside of Jamaica today than it does on the island where memory of the label's many hits has receded into the distant past. Maybe in the future this glaring oversight will be corrected so that Duke Reid can again receive the accolades he so richly deserves."

The second quotation comes from the liner notes to another Heartbeat compilation called "Treasure Isle - More Hottest Hits" released in 1994. This one is attributed to Karl Anthony from WLIB in New York...

"I started out as a DJ in Jamaica at RJR in 1968, but before that time I remember listening to the radio, I think every Saturday, and hearing "My Mother's Eyes" by Tab Smith and his Orchestra and then the Radcliff Butler voice saying "It's Treasure Isle Time." For the next half hour it would be nothing but side after side of Duke Reid's Treasure Isle recordings. I loved that music, and when I started working at RJR I actually got to meet Duke himself. Of course, we DJs always knew him as "Rings and Things." He never wore anything too far out, but he had a ring on almost every finger. Duke was one of the nicest men you could ever meet. His voice was soft and he always had a smile on his face. Always. As DJs we would see him on occasion, particularly around Christmas time. He would have us over to the liquor store and give us records and a bottle of liquor as a Christmas present. I don't drink, but I'd take it anyway. He was generous to everyone. I remember one time he had just given me some records to play on the radio. I had problems with a belt on my car and unfortunately I had no money. The mechanic saw the records in my back seat and asked what they were. I told him I had just gotten them from Duke and he said "I'll fix your car for the records." And he did. He wanted to be the first on his block to have a new Treasure Isle record. Today that wouldn't happen. I talked to Duke a couple of days later and told him that I had left the records in my car and something had happened to them. He just gave me replacements. He never worried about what he gave people, he just wanted them to have the records. So many great songs were produced by Duke Reid and the Treasure Isle label. Whenever I hear those great songs I always think of Duke Reid. The big smile on his face and the rings on his fingers."

On October 16, 2007 Duke Reid was posthumously awarded the Order of Distinction for his contribution to Jamaican music, 32 years after his death. Better late than never I guess...

Here's what you're going to hear...

1. Royals - We Are In The Mood
2. The Paragons - On The Beach
3. The Three Tops - It's Raining
4. Phyllis Dillon - Don't Stay Away
5. Jamaicans - Things You Say You Love
6. The Melodians - What More Can I Say
7. The Conquerors - Lonely Street
8. Ken Parker - True, True, True
9. Alton Ellis - Girl I've Got A Date
10. Techniques - Love Is Not A Gamble
11. Girl Satchmo - Come Back My Darling
12. The Termites - Love Up Kiss Up
13. The Paragons - The Same Song
14. U-Roy - The Same Song
15. Dennis Alcapone - DJ's Choice
16. The Sensations - Baby Love
17. Duke Reid Group - Soul Style
18. Freddie McKay - If I Should Make It
19. The Sensations - Everyday Is A Holiday
20. Phyllis Dillon - Perfidia
21. The Silvertones - In The Midnight Hour
22. The Melodians - Last Train To Ecstasy
23. The Dynamic Man - Boss Boss
24. The Ethiopians - Mothers Tender Care
25. The Melodians - Everybody Bawling
26. U-Roy - Everybody Bawling



Anonymous said...

Hi Reggaexx, I hope your rough times are over. I wanted to give you back some good vibes and thank you for all that good old stuff you've just put. I've found your site looking for I don't remember what and went straight to the Leslie Kong mix. I had forgotten how much those old songs were spreading joy even through tough lyrics. Thanks again and wow, what a Volcano discography !!! Take care

kinabalu said...

Very fine. I'm a huge fan of classic Treasure Isle and of course, Studio One, too.

Mike said...

Bad times always lead to good times, you just gotta keep pushing through!

I've been grabbing your mixes now for a few months and have actually gone back far enough that the links don't work anymore. I'd love to get some of the older stuff you'd posted.

Anyways, keep up the great work and don't think people don't appreciate this wonderful music you're sharing with us. I'm very grateful that I stumbled upon this blog too. I've gotten a few people hooked on your Volcano mixes and I have 5 or 10 of the mixes on CD in my car.

Well, download finished and so am I :P

Buns O'Plenty said...

awesome tribute! Duke Reid was the man...i just posted a Trojan records comp if anyone is interested. Keep up the great tunes!

Buns O'Plenty

Hoops McCann said...

Just checked back. Great stuff, Reggaexx, don't ever go away for good! I love your mixes. The Dub Poetry one was a favorite - really opened my ears... been downloading many from from you over the last six months.

I've been inspired in turn to create mine - at my blog site Dread On The Web. I humbly invite your readership, and yourself to check em out:

Lotsa roots. Lotsa dub. Lotsa artists.

Thanks! One love.

Ill Jackson said...

Just from the track listing alone, I can't wait to hear this. I'm a fellow 20 year reggae fan from MD, keep up the good work!

Boogie Man said...

Amazing music. Treasure Isle is the greatest!

Thing You Say You Love is so dope and I still am wondering if Duke Reid Group's 'Soul Style' is floating around somewhere on 45...gotta get it!

wadadasababa said...

Greetings to who this comment might reach, my name is Martin 'Wadada' I am trying to find my very good friend Karl Anthony, he before WLIB DJ in the 80's Brooklyn, his famous talk was 'BOUNCING BABY BOY, and also MC in Japan for Japansplash, last time I saw him was Japansplash final 1998 in Osaka Japan with BUJU BANTON, if anyone have any info to link Karl please let me know my link>>