Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jimmy Cliff

An early Island label 45 from 1963. I couldnt find out much about Sir Percy who does a great B side here.

Wikipedia says -

"Cliff was born in Somerton District, St. James, Jamaica. He began writing songs while still at primary school in St. James, listening to a neighbour's sound system. In 1962 his father took him to Kingston to go to Kingston Technical school where he ended up sharing his cousin's one rented room in East Kingston. He sought out many producers while still going to school, trying to get his songs recorded without success. He also entered talent contests. "One night I was walking past a record store and restaurant as they were closing, pushed myself in and convinced one of them, Leslie Kong, to go into the recording business, starting with me," he writes in his own website biography. After two singles that failed to make much impression, his career took off when his "Hurricane Hattie" became a hit, while he was aged 14. It was produced by Kong, with whom Cliff would remain until Kong's death from a heart attack in 1971. Cliff's later local hit singles included "King of Kings", "Dearest Beverley", "Miss Jamaica" and "Pride and Passion". In 1964, Cliff was chosen as one of the Jamaican representatives at the World's Fair and Cliff soon signed to Island Records and moved to the UK. Island Records initially (and unsuccessfully) tried to sell Cliff to the rock audience, but his career took off in the late 1960s. His international debut album was Hard Road to Travel, which received excellent reviews and included "Waterfall" (composed by Nirvana's Alex Spyropoulos and Patrick Campbell-Lyons), which became a hit in Brazil and won the International Song Festival.

"Waterfall" was followed in 1969 by "Wonderful World, Beautiful People" and "Vietnam" in 1970, both popular throughout most of the world. Bob Dylan called "Vietnam" the best protest song he had ever heard. Also during this period, Cliff released a cover of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" as a single, but it was not included on his Wonderful World, Beautiful People album."

Jimmy Cliff - King Of Kings

Sir Percy - Oh 'Yeah

Bingy Bunny & The Morwells

A 45 from the ska box which also contains some later reggae including this one probably bought because I liked the sound of the name.

"The Morwells were originally formed by Maurice 'Blacka' Wellington and Eric 'Bingy Bunny' Lamont in 1973. Later friend Errol "Flabba" Holt was brought in. During the mid to late 1970's the Morwells released a string of singles on their own "Mor-Well-Esq" label with Bingy Bunny usually singing lead vocals. Their first album "Presenting the Morwells" is a cult classic and its companion dub album "Dub Me" has been reissued by Blood and Fire. The Morwells released a total of four vocal albums: "Presenting the Morwells", "Crab Race", "Cool Runnings", and "Kingston 12 Toughie". During this period Bingy and Flabba were also working in the Kingston studios as session musicians. Bingy on Guitar and Flabba on Bass. The Jamaican studios of the late 1970's were a bee hive of musical creativity. Bingy and Flabba joined forces with Dwight Pickney on guitar, Style Scott on drums and Gladstone Anderson on piano and began laying down tracks for some of the great Jamaican artist of the day; Gregory Isaacs, The Wailing Souls, Isreal Vibration, Bunny Wailer, Prince Far I... Prince Far I called them the "The Arabs" but it was Bunny Wailer who gave them the name that the world would come to know them by: "The Roots Radics." The rest, as they say, is history. Sadly, the world lost Bingy Bunny in 1993."

The Morwells - Greenwich Road Skank

Bingy Bunny & The Morwells - Swing & Dine

Friday, January 29, 2010

Baba Brooks

Another ska single on the Doctor Bird label from the late 60's. No idea who the Saints were on the A side they do a ballad called Brown Eyes but the B side instrumental by Baba Brooks is a top tune- a version of Making Whoopee called King Size.

"Oswald Baba Brooks started his musical career as a trumpet player with the Eric Dean Orchestra in Jamaica in the 1950's. The Jamaican bands played mostly Folk, Afro, Jazz, they played at clubs, big hotels and sometimes on local radio. This was an exciting scene at the time but began to die out towards the end of the fifties. Band members began to move into the recording studios in Kingston that were emerging at the time with the advent of the Sound System. The records that were produced kept the musicians well employed. Most big bands began to die out and only a few managed to survive into the sixties and beyond. One such band was Byron Lee, they became the Islands premire band and established many talented musicians including Baba Brooks. He soon became a popular session man working for many of the top record producers and featured on many of the great Ska tracks during the golden period from 1963 - 1967. He was riding high in 63' with three hits in the Jamaican charts, Musical Communion, Bank To Bank and his version of Watermelon Man. This was a year before the Skatalies had been formed as a band, with whom he was to play on many occasions."

The Saints - Brown Eyes

Baba Brooks - King Size

The Blue Beats

Another old Blue Beat single from the dusty box from 1964. No info. on Red Price who takes lead vocal on this. Sounds strangley MOR and not what you would expect from the label at the time. Covers of show tunes? An old Vera Lynne song? Very odd.

"The Melodisc label was originally dedicated to releasing Jazz and Blues imported from the US featuring artists such as Charlie Parker and Woody Guthrie, as well as UK recorded Jazz from early Jamaican artists such as Joe Harriotts 1953 e.p: Cool Jazz With Joe. Shallit also released African Highlife records from acts like Ambrose Campbell & His West African Rhythm Brothers, Rans Boi Ghana Highlife Band, Ayinda Bakare & His Meranda Band, and The Nigerian Union Rhythm Group. Trinidadian Calypso was also a big mainstay of the 1950s Melodisc catalogue and many sides were issued from artists such as Lord Kitchener, Lord Beginner, Trinidad All Star Steel band, and The Sparrow.

Revolutionised by jazz arrangements inspired by US big bands from multi-instrumentalist Rupert Nurse, and featuring noted Caribbean musicians like saxophonist Al King Timothy, and trumpeter Rannie Hart, the Calypso sound took on new dimensions on Melodisc, and gained much popular acclaim. A big seller of the time was Marie Bryants amusingly titled Dont Touch My Nylonswhich was written by the late Al Timothy. According to Timothys obituary, the song was also recorded by an artist known as The Charmer who subsequently emerged as Louis Farrakhan - currently leader of The Nation of Islam.

Jamaican Mento was another type of music which Shallit pioneered, and due to the lack of recording facilities in Jamaica the earliest recordings were made in London using Jamaican musicians, for example: Louise (Miss Lou) Bennetts Melodisc 78 Bongo Mandates from 1949, was recorded in London, and is possibly the first ever Rastafarian record.

In 1952 Jamaican entrepreneur Stanley Motta started making his own recordings in Kingston, inspired by Bertie King, an ex Alpha School Musician who had been resident in the UK since 1938 and was well known on the British Jazz circuit. King had released a few British recorded Mento records in the UK on his Limbo label, and when he returned to Jamaica in the early 1950s he suggested to Motta the idea of setting up his own recording facility and producing his own records for sale to the local JA market as well as exporting to the UK - in direct competition with neighbouring Trinidad, which was achieving much international acclaim for Calypso. "

The Blue Beats - Blue Beats Over

The Blue Beats - Kiss The Baby

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Piranhas

A 3 track 45 on the Sire label from 1980 I found in a charity shop in Crewe the other day. I vaguely remember seeing the Piranhas ( from Brighton ) play live at a pub in south London in about 1979. Very good they were too. Tom Hark was a medium sized hit but they didn't do much after that as far as I know.

Wikipedia says -

"They were formed in 1977, and were originally part of the Brighton punk scene, first coming to prominence when DJ John Peel started playing their single "I Don't Want My Body" on his BBC Radio 1 programme, but achieved their biggest success with their cover version of the South African kwela song "Tom Hark". This had been an instrumental hit in 1958 for Elias & His Zig Zag Jive Flutes, and had already been covered in a ska style by Millie Small. With new lyrics written by the band's frontman "Boring" Bob Grover, it was a Top 10 hit in the UK in 1980.[1] It was the first song to feature on BBC Television's pop music programme, Top of the Pops, when it returned in 1980 after being blacked out for several months by industrial action. It also became a popular chant amongst British football fans the tune being used for songs such as "Premier League, You're Havin' A Laugh". It is also popular at limited-overs cricket games, often being played when a boundary is hit, and the tune was also used in the novelty World Cup song "We're England", performed by the presenters of the radio station talkSPORT with adapted lyrics for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Finals. Two years later the band's version of Lou Busch's "Zambesi" - produced by Pete Waterman - was a Top 20 hit in the UK Singles Chart.

The band were however not involved with a song that entered the UK charts in 2005, a remake of their biggest hit entitled "Tom Hark (We Want Falmer)", recorded under the name of Seagulls Ska, featuring Brighton resident Attila the Stockbroker and members of the ska band, Too Many Crooks. This was to help raise money for a new stadium for Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. (nicknamed "The Seagulls") at Falmer.

"Boring" Bob Grover still lives in Brighton, and is currently gigging around the UK with his new band 'Dates'. They released their debut album, First Party, Fire and Theft on Hah! Records in March 2007.

Guitarist Johnny Helmer went on to become a songwriter. He is best known for writing lyrics for Marillion's second incarnation with Steve Hogarth after the departure of Fish. He also published a novel entitled Mother Tongue in 1999. As a day job, he works in marketing for a Brighton company (as of 1999)."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eli Buckett

A CD from one of my contacts that I've had a few years safely locked away in the cowshed. Maybe it should have stayed there? Anyway I thought I would give it an airing as you have all been so good and deserve cheering up ( is that the right phrase? ).
I dont know much about Eli but heres a blurb about a show he does-

"Goring resident Rod Scriven is presenting the popular West Country character Eli Buckett at the Kenton Theatre, Henley, on Friday, September 12th.

It Makes I Laugh will feature Eli and his band The Haybalers in an evening of comedy songs, stories and good natured country humour.

Rod has performed the character in theatres and clubs across the country and internationally, with tv and radio appearances and even released a single, The Yodelling Cockerel.

“People can come to the show and expect a lot of fun and a really good laugh,” said Rod.

“I’ve been performing as Eli for several years. If you split me down the middle, I’m a quarter Rod and three quarters Eli Buckett.

“It’s a good old West country show, with buckets of laughs,” he said. "

Eli Buckett - Somerset Born

Eli Buckett - Stooper's Hill

Eli Buckett - Her Romeo Just Walked On By

Eli Buckett - Oh Ah

Eli Buckett - When I'm Cleaning Windows (Cowsheds)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Raymond Harper

Some old ska singles now that I have put up from time to time. I've always had a soft spot for this kind of thing. I have a huge box full of Blue Beat and Ska beat singles from the 60's and will try and feature a few from time to time.

Cant find anything much about Raymond Harper or the Vibrators. He seems to have been a trumpet player who played on many sessions. Any info. greatly appreciated.

Raymond Harper & Carib Beats - Amour

The Vibrators - Sloop John B

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lord Tanamo

Some old ska singles now that I have put up from time to time. I've always had a soft spot for this kind of thing. I have a huge box full of Blue Beat and Ska beat singles from the 60's and will try and feature a few from time to time.

"Lord Tanamo (born Joseph Abraham Gordon, 2 October 1934, Kingston, Jamaica) is best known as a mento and ska performer and songwriter. He helped create the sound we now know as ska, by combining elements of calypso gleaned from Lord Kitchener, with the lilting mento rhythms of his childhood. He has been based in Canada for over thirty-five years.

Tanamo played the rumba box (also known as a bass lamellophone), an essential element of mento. He enjoyed hits as the lead vocalist for The Skatalites, such as "I'm In The Mood For Ska", in 1965. He continued to record at least through the late 1970s, with singles and albums for record producers, Coxsone Dodd, The Pottingers and Bunny Lee.

In 1970, he recorded a cover of Brook Benton’s "Rainy Night In Georgia", which was a number one hit in Jamaica for seven weeks. During another trip home he recorded the album Calypso Reggae, for Bunny Lee.

By 1999 a compilation album, entitled Skamento Movement, was released on the Imaj record label.

In July 2002 in Toronto, Canada, a two night 'Legends of Ska' concert was held. Reuniting were Skatalites Lloyd Knibbs, Rico Rodriguez, Lloyd Brevett, Lester Sterling, Johnny Moore and Lynn Taitt; along with Prince Buster, Alton Ellis, Owen Gray, Lord Creator, Justin Hinds, Derrick Harriott, Winston Samuels, Roy Wilson, Derrick Morgan, Patsy Todd, Doreen Shaffer, Stranger Cole and Tanamo himself.

In January 2008 it was stated in a Jamaican newspaper that Tanamo was in a nursing home in Canada after suffering a stroke that has left him unable to speak."

Lord Tanamo - Mattie Rag

Baba Brooks - Mattie Rag

Titus Turner

Some old ska singles now that I have put up from time to time. I've always had a soft spot for this kind of thing. I have a huge box full of Blue Beat and Ska beat singles from the 60's and will try and feature a few from time to time.

"If you’re a collector of R&B and soul, then the name Titus Turner should loom large. Turner – though no slouch in the performing department – made his mark as a writer of some of absolutely dynamite songs, among them ‘Sticks and Stones’, ‘All Around the World’ (aka Grits Ain’t Groceries), and ‘Leave My Kitten Alone’.
Turner himself had a two decade long career as a recording artist, spending most of the 50s recording mostly for Okeh and King, and then the 60s waxing sides for no less than a dozen different imprints."

Titus Turner - Way Down Yonder

Titus Turner - Miss Rubberneck Jones

Joe Mansano

Some old ska singles now that I have put up from time to time. I've always had a soft spot for this kind of thing. I have a huge box full of Blue Beat and Ska beat singles from the 60's and will try and feature a few from time to time.

"Joe Mansano was born in Trinidad and Tobago, moved to the UK in 1963 to study accounts, became a record producer and returned in 1980 to his country.

In the UK reggae world he is best known for his production work for Trojan Records, the company that offered him also a record label, called Joe.

With Rico Rodriguez on trombone he produced an LP Brixton Cat in 1969.

Over the re-release of the LP Mansano was not informed until he came to England in 2002. Negociating with Sanctuary Records they agreed over royalties and the release of a compilation of his work on 7" sides that were long out of print.

Joe The Boss was released in November 2006 and containes several tracks with Rico on trombone who were not available on CD until now. "

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Chimes Family

"The Chimes Family is a leading harmonic group with an inimitable style. It consists of Michael Chimes and his three sons, Gilbert, Craig and Michael Jr.
Michael Snr. at an early age was a member of the "Borrah Minevitch's Harmonica Rascals"> he has appeared in leading TV shows such as Ed Sullivan, Perry Como, Garry Moore and has been featured again and again on every major radio and TV network. His harmonica can be detected in most of the leading commercials. he has featured with prominent artists such as Harry Belafonte, Robert Russell Bennett, Keely Smith, the New Christy Minstrels, Johnnny Mathis and The Weavers and too many others to be listed.
The Three sons joiedn the act at the age of 6. This highly unusual family group has played all over the world and appeared in every major city in Canada."

This LP on the Request label was found at a boot sale recently. It reminds me of those old variety acts that you don't see anymore like the Morton Frazer Hamonica Gang and the The Three Ginx. Every week on the London Palladium they always seemed to have a juggler, and ventriloquist and a harmonica band!

The Chimes Family - Hlybokah Kernysya

The Chimes Family - Kucheryaya Kateryna Pro Divchynon Koo

The Chimes Family - Veyav By Ta Bandooroo

Twisting The Oldies

An LP on the small Valmor label that put this out in the early 60's when the Twist dance craze was at it's height. All instrumentals of old rockers like Dream Lover, Splish Splash and Kansas City etc.

"The thrill of the late 1950s and the phenomenon of the early 1960s --the dance anyone can do-- was the twist. Nearly the hula-hoop movement without the hoop, the twist paved the way for the frug, watusi, monkey, pony, swim, snake, hully gully, etc., and even the limbo, mento, ska, and a new dance called the "regay" in some liners. Yes, these were the last days of teenagers and the older dancing generation sharing phonograph and stage.

The basics were Chubby Checker with the hit song (and endless variations), the Isley's "Twist and Shout," and Joey Dee & the Starlighters creating a scene at New York's Peppermint Lounge. All this healthy activity led to attempts at the twist by big bands, high-society orchestras, Latin artists, and of course rock and soul bands. (The list below excludes most of the obvious twist sources, such as the Champs, Coasters, Joe Houston, Louie Prima, Huey Smith, etc.)

The twist made its most interesting impact abroad, on French pop, Tahitian, and presumably even Indian and Hawaiian artists. It is a goofy legacy, but after all, it is where rock and social dancing parted company."

Valmor discography and brief history of the label HERE.

Night Owls - Be My Guest

Night Owls - Don't Be Cruel

Night Owls - I've Had It

Musical Highlights From R.K. Films

A Hindi film from the late 50's I would guess. I used to find these quite regularly in Cheshire Street market in East London when I lived in Stepney in the 80's. This one is pretty typical with some wonderful singing by Asha Bhosle, Mukesh and Lata Mankeshkar the supreme bollywood voice over artists of the day.
I have just realised this LP is in the wrong sleeve which complicates things a little. The record label says this is "Musical Highlights From R.K. Films" on the Angel Label. I will have to try and track down the cover art elsewhere.

Wikipedia says of Mukesh -

"Mukesh was born in Punjab, in a small middle class family. His father Lala Zorawar Chand Mathur was an engineer. His mother was Chand Rani. He was the sixth in a family of ten children. The music teacher who came home to teach Mukesh's sister Sundar Pyari, found a pupil in Mukesh who would listen from the adjoining room. He had a younger brother Parmeshwari Das. Mukesh left school after the 10th standard and worked briefly for the Delhi Department of Public Works. Mukesh experimented with voice recordings during his employment in Delhi and gradually developed his singing abilities.

Mukesh got married in 1946 to Saral Trivedi Raichand alise Bachhiben in a temple in Kandiwali, at the residence of R. D. Mathur. Sarla was the daughter of a Gujarati Brahmin millionaire. With him having no proper house, an erratic income and a supposedly "immoral" profession, Mukesh and Sarla had to elope. Everyone made dire predictions of unhappy days and divorce; but both weathered the lean days and celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary on 22 July 1976, five days before his departure for the U.S.A. on 27 July 1976. The couple had five children as Rita, Nitin, Nalini(d. 1978), Mohnish (Taboo - nick name) and Namrata (Amrita). He is the grandfather of actor, Neil Nitin Mukesh.

Lata Mangeshkar - O Basanti Pavan

Lata Mangeshkar - Ghar Aata Mera Pardesi

Lata Mangeshkar - Raja Ki Ayegi Barat