A great compilation of early ska and rhythym and blues from Jamaica from the 60's on the Melodisc label. Heavily influenced by the music of New Orleans and the southern states of America, whose powerful radio waves reached the Carribean. We can hear the echoes of Shirley and Lee, Fats Domino and Dave Bartholemew etc. in many of these tracks.
"Duke Reid was born in Jamaica as Arthur Reid around 1915. As a young man he served in the Police Force for about ten years. He had a love of American R & B music and owned a Liquor Store on Bond Street, with his wife, the Duchess. The shop was called Treasure Isle. He had a record program on Jamaica radio called "Treasure Isle Time" playing R & B 78's. Leading USA Jazz artist like Lester Young, Colman Hawkins, Tab Smith and Illinois Jaquet could be heard. By the mid fifties Duke Reid had his own sound system. This comprised of large speakers and a record playing deck together with a powerful amplifier. He used a large van to transport this equipment around Jamaica to dance halls and open air events. Due to the nature of the van it became known as the Trojan. Clemont Seymore Dodd also had a sound system called Sir Coxone Downbeat after the Yorkshire cricketer Coxone. They had many a " Battle of the sound Systems" and towards the end of the fifties Duke Reid the Trojan was crowned king. His record production career began in 1959 on the "Trojan " record label, these were on 78's, such as Duke's Cookies and Chuck and Dobby "Cool School". On the Duke Reid label due to demand he issued home made recordings of the USA R & B style music. He formed his own backing band the Duke Reid Group who backed young singers like Derrick Morgan and the Jiving Juniors. Around this time the Jamaican R & B gave way to Ska, the guitar and piano played on every beat whilst the drummer reversed the offbeat, the bass played a powerful 'walking' rhythm. Duke Reid built his own recording studio, of wood, above the 'Treasure Isle Liquor Store'. Now he could with his engineer, Bryon Smith, achieve a high quality production and experiment with new sounds and rhythms."
"Prince Buster established a mix and blend of restricted roots musical forms; using ingredients such as Mento and Burro with a reinforcement of jazz horns in parts mixed with R&B rhythms to construct a decidedly unique new sound. The creation of Ska turned the R&B rhythmic outline inside out by utilizing and co-ordinating of an after-beat guitar strut on the second and fourth heats. A lot of the songs that Prince Buster produced were no doubt unquestionably political, in that they embraced a Marcus Garvey type mind-set of narcissisms and pride in Africanisms blackness
Prince Buster embraces the Africanisms effects within his music productions, none more so than his production of the Folks Brothers "Oh Carolina" back in the 1960s. Oh Carolina very first recording to use the Rastafarian rhythmical drumming group of Count Ossie for accompaniment. In other words the Ska beat combines the poignant backbeat of New Orleans style rhythm & blues and Mento along with a flavouring of Africanisms within the consortium of the music. 1962 after working for Clement Dodd of the Studio One Fame as henchman, Prince Buster took to producing his own records, with labels that read like a religious presentation of deliverance. "