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Studio One Black Man's Pride 2 (SJRCD 414 - 2018)

Horace Andy - Illiteracy
The Heptones - Be A Man
The Manchesters - Natty Gone
The Gladiators - Down Town Rebel
Willie Williams - Calling
Roland Alphonso & Brentford All Stars - Sir D Special
Keith Wilson - God I God I Say
Alton Ellis - Almost Anything
Bobby Kalphat & The New Establishment - Adis A Wa Wa
Peter Broggs - Sing A New Song
Mystic Revelations Of Rastafari - Let Freedom Reign
Larry & Alvin - Free I Lord
Ernest Wilson & The Sound Dimension - Freedom Fighter
Jackie Mittoo - Happy People
Prince Lincoln - Daughters Of Zion
High Charles - Zion
Winston Jarrett - Love Jah Jah
 
This is the second instalment of deep roots Rastafarian and spiritual reggae recorded at Studio One mainly in the 1970s and features more classic and righteous music from some of the most important figures in reggae music - Alton Ellis, The Heptones, Jackie Mittoo, The Gladiators - alongside a host of rarities and little-known recordings, such as a truly hard-to-find Mystic revelation of Rastafari seven-inch single, Willie Williams' first ever recording 'Calling' and Horace Andy's long sought after masterpiece 'Illiteracy'.

Black Man's Pride 2 extends the legacy of Studio One's ground-breaking path in roots reggae which began at the end of the 1960s and continued throughout the 1970s. The rise of Studio One Records and the Rastafari movement were interconnected through the adoption of the Rastafari faith by key Studio One reggae artists - from the Skatalites and Wailers in the 1960s, through major singers such as Alton Ellis and Horace Andy at the end of that decade, and finally to defining roots artists such as The Gladiators and Burning Spear in the 1970s - added to the fact that Clement Dodd consistently recorded conscious roots music throughout the Studio One history.

Rastafari and Studio One are also linked in both time and place - Sir Coxsone's musical empire and the religious movement both have their formative days in the intense period of pre-independence Jamaica in Kingston in the late 1950s, and both grew rapidly in the 1960s, especially following the visit of Haile Selassie in 1966. By the 1970s Rastafarian roots music had come to dominate the reggae world, with the success of Bob Marley, originally a Studio One artist, spreading the word of Rastafari throughout the world. Much of the groundwork for the success of this musical genre occurred at Studio One during the previous decade, from the early Rastafari-inspired work of The Skatalites ('Addis Ababa', 'Beardsman Ska') at the start through to seismic and evolutionary releases such as The Abyssinians 'Declaration Of Rights' which brought the decade to a close.

One should also note that the 'outsider' identity of both reggae music and the Rastafari movement relates much further back in time, in fact many hundreds of years, to the original rebel stance of the Maroons, escaped slaves who set up self-sufficient and autonomous enclaves in the hills of the Jamaican countryside.

Clement Dodd presciently identified both the defining aspects of reggae music and Rastafarian ideology, and with Studio One, the first black-owned record company in Jamaica, he created a perfect exemplar of proud entrepreneurial  self-definition, a not-to-distant echo of this original rebel ideology.

What is also striking about Clement Dodd's choice in releasing so much Rastafarian-themed material in the early 1970s, in contrast to other Kingston producers (such as 'Babylon' ex-policeman Duke Reid at Treasure Isle),  and a number of years before roots music became such a powerful and fashionable musical form, is not simply the music itself (which is indeed striking), but at the same time Dodd was more than happy to continue to release gospel material, recorded at 13 Brentford Road on any given Sunday. For once again Clement Dodd perceived his own black identity with such visionary force that these two religious ideologies carried no contradiction. Hence The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari's deep 'Let Freedom reign' sits here comfortable next to Larry Marshall and Alvin Leslie's Christian-themed 'Free I Lord'. Christian hymns were in fact often the basis for Rastafarian music before the creation of the hypnotic musical style nyabinghi by master drummer (and later founder of the same Mystic Revelation of Rastafari) Count Ossie, a blending of burro and kumina drum styles which became the foundation music of Rastafari.

While nyabinghi music first came into existence during the fertile time of the cult's 'renaissance' in the ghettos of Kingston at the end of the 1950s, the music played at Pinnacle, Leonard Howell's original Rastafari compound in the hills of Saint Catherine's parish a decade earlier, was predominantly Christian hymns adapted and sung with proto-back to Africa lyrics (with Zion becoming Ethiopia, and Babylon signifying all that is wrong with Jamaican society and western capitalism).

Clement Dodd saw all this as one - black pride and self-empowerment, an all-encompassing 'uplift' of black Jamaican identity - manifested through his own business empire, the righteousness of Rastafari and gospel music, the civil-rights' self-determination of The Heptones' 'Be A Man', and so forth. For Sir Coxsone, black was a state of mind.

In the late 1950s, as Clement Dodd's Downbeat Sound System was in full swing tearing up the dancehalls of Kingston and the producer was busy making his first venture into Jamaican rhythm & blues and proto-ska recordings at Federal Studios, another pivotal cultural revolution was taking place in the same city, and no doubt with some of the same participants. The first Universal grounation of the Rastafari, was a musical celebration and reasoning session of Rastafari, held in Back-O-Wall, a shanty town ghetto in Western Kingston, in March 1958. This grounation was part-organised by Mortimer Planno who four years later, in an effort to defuse growing tensions between the outsider cult and the police, approached the University College of the West Indies to commission the first anthropological report into Rastafari, which became instructive in legitimising the new religion in the eyes of the wider Jamaican society. Planno later became a spiritual guide to the Wailers and a number of Studio One artists including Ken Boothe and Alton Ellis, often holding court in the Wailers' yard in Trench Town in the late 1960s.

Rastafari was born out of the teachings of Leonard Percival Howell in Kingston in the 1930s. Howell was a contemporary of Marcus Garvey, another key figure in the (re)shaping of black identity in the 20th century. In 1914 Garvey moved from Kingston to Harlem, USA, to set up the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Howell was also in New York at this time and became a member of the UNIA. Garvey prophetically wrote 'Look into Africa for the crowning of a black king. He shall be the redeemer.'

Both men were eventually deported back to Kingston - Garvey in 1928 and Howell four years later. On his return to Jamaica in 1932, Howell began preaching of how Haile Selassie, the new black king crowned in Ethiopia, was indeed the messiah returned to earth: 'The lion of Judah ('Haile Selassie') has broken the chain and we the black race are finally free. George V is no longer our king.'

For British-owned Jamaica this was tantamount to treason and Howell was imprisoned in 1934 for sedition. But Howell was strong in his spirit and on his release set up Pinnacle, a self-sufficient Rasta community in the hills of Sligoville around 1940. Faced with constant police brutality and victimisation the camp was eventually shut down at the end of the 1950s. Rastafarians dispersed from the land, many into the ghettos of West Kingston.

And, as we have seen, it is from this point that musical and spiritual timelines meet. Like the outsider dreads, Dodd's audiences on the dancehall lawns of Kingston were lower class. Count Ossie and his drummers were often invited to perform live at the height of a Downbeat session. The Skatalites, set to become the primary musical force at Studio One, the building block for all reggae music, identified themselves as predominantly Rastafarian.

Leap forward and by the time of the early 1970s, Clement Dodd had already achieved his greatest ambitions at Studio One - it was indeed number one. Secure in having created the finest catalogue of reggae music in the world, he was free to explore new paths and experiment with new styles such as DJ, dub and, in the latter half of the decade, dancehall. During all this time Coxsone continued to record Rastafari-inspired music. Aside from foundation roots artists Dodd often also chose to work with unknown artists and it is this diversity which we see here. That many of these tracks often appeared on a plethora of Studio One sub-labels - Big House, Supreme, Fast Forward, Sight 'n' Sound, Bongo Man and Winro - also makes them a collector's dream.

Stuart Baker

Horace Andy - Illiteracy (1974)
Horace hinds was born in Kingston in February 1951. In 1970, after an unsuccessful audition at Studio One (as a duo with Frank Melody), he auditioned again a few days later as a solo artist singing his own composition 'Got To Be Sure'. Mr Dodd was most impressed with his distinctive vocals and songwriting talents but suggested he change his name to Horace Andy, partly to avoid confusion with Horace's cousin, Justin Hinds, but also to capitalise on the prevailing popularity of Bob Andy, who had been a successful singer/songwriter at Studio One since 1966. Horace Andy went on to record over 30 singles and two LPs at the Brentford Road studio between 1970 and 1974. 'Illiteracy' was originally released as a single on the tiny Studio One imprint Big House label in 1974, and later issued on a Studio One label in the 1980s.

The Heptones - Be A Man (1970)
Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn had been singing together as teenagers since the late 1950s, but it wasn't until 1966 that they were joined by Leroy Sibbles to form the classic line-up of The Heptones. The trio's earliest recordings were produced by Ken Lack and released on his Caltone label. however, they soon moved to Studio One, where they were initially auditioned by Ken Boothe and Harris BB Seaton before being offered a five-year contract by Mr Dodd. As well as being the lead singer and principal for the Heptones, Leroy Sibbles also auditioned singers, arranged sessions, sang harmony and played bass as a member of the Sound Dimension and Soul Vendors session bands throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. 'Be A Man' was first released as a single in 1970 on a Coxsone label, and subsequently featured on the group's 'Black Is Black' album.

The Manchesters - Natty Gone (1977)
Little is known about the identity of The Manchesters (who also recorded as Mr Manchester). They were just one of many groups who passed through Studio One leaving little trace. However, we do know that The Manchesters were backed by session musicians Albert Griffiths, Clinton Fearon and Gallimore Sutherland (otherwise known as The Gladiators) on this track. They (or he) only recorded two other titles at Studio One: 'Selassie Bandman' (as The Manchesters) and 'Give Natty dread Glory' (as Mr Manchester). 'Natty gone' was first issued on the Studio One off-shoot Bongo Man label in 1977.

The Gladiators - Down Town Rebel (1977)
Albert Griffiths was born in St Elizabeth Parish in January 1946. he moved to Kingston in 1960, where he initially worked as a stonemason alongside Leonard Dillon (of the Ethiopians). Griffiths' debut recording was 'You Are The Girl', the B-side of the Ethiopians' smash hit 'Train to Skaville', released on the WIRL label in 1967. The original Gladiators vocal group was formed in 1968 by Albert Griffiths with David Webber and Errol Grandison, but by 1973 the Gladiators consisted of Albert Griffiths (vocals and guitar), Clinton Fearon (vocals and bass guitar) and Gallimore Sutherland (vocals and rhythm guitar). The majority of the latter trio's biggest hit singles were made at Studio One during the 1970s, including 'Bongo Red', 'Jah Jah Go Before Us', 'Roots Natty Roots' and 'Mr Baldwin'. 'Down Town Rebel' was never issued as a single but features on the group's only album for Studio One, 'Presenting The Gladiators' in 1977 (where it was erroneously titled 'Up Town Rebel' on the label).

Willie Williams - Calling (1968)
Willie Williams was born Wilbert Keith Williams in Saint Ann Parish in 1953. He moved to Trench Town around 1960 where he attended Trench Town comprehensive School (one of his classmates was Sly Dunbar). Willie's first recording session at Studio One came in 1968 when he was just 15 years old and still at school. The session yielded two tracks, 'Calling', which was released on the 'Party time In Jamaica' LP but not issued as a single, and 'Prisoner Of Love', which remains unreleased. The same session also produced the Gladiators' hit single 'Hello Carol', so it's likely that the Gladiators were also members of the backing band.

Roland Alphonso & Brentford All Stars - Sir D Special (1981)
Roland Alphonso was born in Havana, Cuba in January 1931, and was a stalwart of the Jamaican recording industry for more than three decades as both a saxophone player and as a group leader and arranger. His first recordings for Coxsone Dodd were made in 1956 at the Federal Records studio, for which the tapes have unfortunately been lost. In the late 1950s Roland played as a member of groups such as Clue J & His Blues Blasters and Aubrey Adams & The Dewdroppers, and by the early 1960s he was leading session groups such as Roland Alphonso & The Alley Cats, Roland Alphonso & His Upsetters and Roland Alphonso & The Studio 1 Orchestra. He was also a founder member of The Skatalites, the Soul Brothers and The Soul Vendors bands. Roland continued to work for Dodd as a session musician into the 1990s. He died in November 1998.

A 'special' is a bespoke recording that augments a pre-existing rhythm track with overdubbed instrumentation and/or vocals, and was primarily intended for exclusive play on a sound system. 'Sir D Special' was only issued as a Studio One 12" Discomix in 1981, as the flip-side to Johnny Osbourne's 'Unity'. It is a remix of Jackie Mittoo's instrumental 'Autumn Sound', a track that was originally included on his 'Evening time' album in 1968.

Keith Wilson - God I God I Say (1972)
Keith Wilson seems to be another one of those singers who passed through Studio One and into obscurity. He probably recorded more than just this song during his session, but this is the only track to be released. 'God I God I Say' was first released on a Studio One label in 1972, with a version on the B-side. Clive Alphonso is credited as the songwriter and the backing band is the Soul Defenders. 'God I Version', by Keith Wilson & The Soul Vendors was later reissued on the Iron Side label as the flip of 'Rock Fort Rock' by The New Establishment. An overdubbed instrumental version of the rhythm, titled 'Why Can't I' by Cedric 'Im' Brooks, can be found on the 'Im Flash Forward' album (1977), and on the first Soul Jazz 'Black Man's Pride' compilation (2017).

Alton Ellis - Almost Anything (1979)
Alton Nehemiah Ellis was born in Trench Town in September 1938. He attended Ebenezer Primary School and Boy's Town High School in Kingston, where he excelled at sport and music. In 1959 Ellis teamed up with Eddie Parkins (also known as Eddie Perkins) to perform as the duo Alton & Eddy. Their first session for Coxsone Dodd took place at Federal Recording Studio in 1959, where they recorded the R&B ballad 'Muriel', written by Ellis. It became an instant hit on Sir Coxsone's Downbeat sound system as well as on local radio stations RJR and JBC. When Eddie moved to the USA Alton continued to pursue fruitful collaborations with John Holt, Hortense Ellis (his sister) and Winston Jarrett (as Alton & The Flames). As a solo artist he became one of the major stars of the rock steady and reggae eras. 'Almost Anything' was originally released in 1972 on a Coxsone single credited to Alton & The Freed Sounds. this compilation features an extended version that was included on the Studio One Showcase Vol.1 LP from 1979.

Bobby Kalphat & The New Establishment - Adis A Wa Wa (1972)
Booby Kalphat played keyboards in a variety of bands from the mid 1960s and throughout the 1970s, including Lyn Taitt & The Comets, Bobby Aitken & The Carib Beats, the Hippy boys, the Soul Defenders and Skin, Flesh & Bones, as well as doing occasional session work at Studio One. The New Establishment was the catch-all name for one of Coxsone Dodd's regular session groups operating between 1972 and 1974. Membership of most of these groups was extremely fluid, and mainly depended on who was available for any specific session. On 'Adis A Wa Wa' Bobby Kalphat plays the melodica, a hand-held wind instrument with a piano keyboard, over Horace Andy's classic 'skylarking' rhythm.

Peter Brogg - Sing A New Song (1979)
P
eter Brogg (or Broggs) was born Henry James in 1954 in Hanover Parish, Westmoreland. He moved to Kingston when he was 17 years old, where he found work in a factory before becoming involved in the music industry. During his musical career he recorded for a number of different producers in Jamaica as well for the American RAS Records label, but it would seem that he only recorded one song for Coxsone Dodd (at least, only one song was ever released). 'Sing A New Song', engineered by Scientist during his brief sojourn at Studio One, utilises the rhythm for Horace Andy's 'Something Is On My Mind'. it was initially released on the Studio One Showcase Vol.2 album in 1979, and later as the B-side of a 12" Disco 45, coupled with Brigadier Jerry's 'Every Man A Me Brethren', in 1985.

Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari - Let Freedom Reign (1971)
Count Ossie, the Rastafarian drummer and band leader, was born Oswald Williams in St Thomas Parish in 1926. In the early 1950s he set up a Rasta community in the Wareika Hills, where Kingston's leading jazzmen (later including Cedric Brooks) would congregate with the drummers for regular jam sessions. His first recording was made when Prince Buster placed Ossie's burro drums on the Folkes Brothers massive hit 'Oh Carolina', recorded at the Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation Studios in 1959, but not released until 1961. Cedric Brooks, saxophonist and flautist, was born in Kingston 1943. From the age of 11 he was a pupil at the Alpha Boys School, renowned for its outstanding musical tuition (with notable alumni including Don Drummond, Tommy McCook, Lester Sterling, Rico Rodriguez and Vin Gordon). The Mystic Revelations of Rastafari were formed when Count Ossie & The Wareikas merged with Cedric 'Im' Brooks' group The Mystics. their sole recordings for Studio One released under this name were 'Let Freedom Reign' and 'Language And Culture' (also known as 'Give Me Back My Language And Me Culture'), issued as both sides of a single on the Sight 'n' Sound imprint label in 1971. A dub version, under the title 'Gumbay Jump', was included on the Juk's 'Incorporation' album in 1976.

Larry & Alvin - Free I Lord (1971)
Larry Marshall was born Fitzroy Marshall in December 1941 in Saint Ann Parish. In 1960 he was working as a gardener in Kingston when he made his performing debut at the Ward theatre backed by The Rhythm Aces (led by Boris Gardiner). His first recording was 'Too young To Love', released on Justin Yap's Top Deck label in 1962, and the first single he recorded for Studio One was 'Please stay' in 1963. In 1968 Larry, then working at the Brentford Road studio as an assistant engineer and harmony singer, teamed up with Alvin Leslie to sing as a duo. Larry & Alvin scored a number of big hits throughout the late 60s and early 70s, including the incomparable 'Nanny goat', 'Mean Girl' and 'Throw Me Corn'. 'Free I Lord' was one of several Christian songs that Larry recorded, usually credited to Brother Marshall and often accompanied by Sister Enid (Cumberland). 'Free I Lord' was first issued on the Supreme label in 1971.

Ernest Wilson & The Sound Dimension - Freedom Fighter (1978)
Ernest Wilson was born Fitzroy Ernest Wilson in Hayes, Clarendon Parish, in 1952. In 1963 he formed a duo with Peter Austin (also from the town of Hayes), when Peter was 17 and Ernest was 11, and together they found success in several local talent contests. their first recordings as The Clarendonians were released in 1965 on Leslie Kong's Beverley's and Duke Reid's Treasure Isle labels, but in 1966 they came to the attention of Clement Dodd, and at Studio One they recorded a series of chart topping singles that epitomised the rude boy era, including 'Rude Boy Gone A Jail', 'Rudie Bam Bam', 'Shu Be Do Be' and 'You Can't Be Happy'. During this time Ernest also began singing with the pre-teenage Freddie McGregor and they released several singles as Fitsy & Freddie (Freddie McGregor never recorded as a member of The Clarendonians, despite reports to the contrary). Ernest and Peter also released solo material and duets with other artists at Studio One until the Clarendonians disbanded in 1967. Ernest Wilson recorded 'Freedom Fighter' in 1978 accompanied by an un-credited female singer. The track was only ever issued as a 12" Disco 45 on the Studio One label. The original rhythm is Carlton & The Shoes' 'Happy Land'.

Jackie Mittoo - Happy People (1971)
Jackie Mittoo, the 'Keyboard King' and prolific composer, was born Ray Donat Mittoo in March 1948 in Brown's Town, Saint Ann Parish. He began playing piano at the age of four and was performing professionally by the time he was thirteen in bands such as the Rivals and the Sheiks. He made his first recordings for Coxsone Dodd as a session musician at the Federal Records studio, and when Dodd opened Studio One in Brentford Road, Kingston, in 1963 he recruited Jackie Mittoo as musical director. From 1963 to 1968 Mittoo played on virtually recording produced in the studio, as well as producing and arranging much of the material. Although he relocated to Canada in 1968, he returned to Kingston regularly and continued to be involved in literally hundreds of recordings at Studio One. 'Happy People' is an original composition that featured on Jackie Mittoo's solo album 'Macka Fat' from 1971. The rhythm might be more recognisable as 'This population' by Burning Spear, recorded in the early 1970s but not released until 1974.

Prince Lincoln - Daughters Of Zion (1978)
Singer and songwriter Prince Lincoln Thompson was born in Jonestown, Kingston, in June 1949 He began his professional singing career in 1966 as a member of the rock steady group The Tartans, together with Cedric Myton, Devon Russsell and Lindburgh 'Preps' Lewis. The Tartans achieved some success recording for the Merritone, Treasure Isle and Caltone labels. After the group disbanded in 1969, Thompson recorded three superlative songs for Studio One, 'True Experience' (released in 1973), 'Live Up To Your Name' (released 1974) and 'Daughters Of Zion' (released 1978). He is perhaps better known as the leader of Prince Lincoln and the Royal Rasses, which he formed in 1975 with Cedric Myton, Clinton Hall, Keith Peterkin and Jennifer Lara.

High Charles - Zion (1977)
The rhythm is 'Melody Life', originally recorded by Marcia Griffiths and the Sound Dimension band in 1968, but the exuberant DJ remains unidentified. Zion was issued on the Winro label in 1977. In the mid 1970s Dodd bought a job-lot of blank labels from Winro Records (a division of Aquaries Records Inc.) who were based in Los Angeles, California. These were used extensively for Studio One productions between 1975 and 1977, until stock ran out. A record on a re-cycled Winro label, either 7" single or LP, is a good indication that it is a first press.

Lawrence H - Love Jah Jah (1975)
'Love Jah Jah' was never released as a single and only appears on the Studio One Sales Conference album, credited to Lawrence H. However, the Forward label on the original 1975 issue of the LP credits the track to Winston Jarrett, and this is most likely to be the true identity of the mysterious Lawrence H. Winston Jarrett was born in Lime Tree Gardens, Saint Ann Parrish in September 1940, and after moving to the Jonestown area of Kingston at an early age, he was taught to play guitar by Jimmy Cliff and Alton Ellis. Around 1965 he became a member of Alton's backing band, The Flames. When Alton Ellis left for England as part of the Soul Vendors tour in 1967, Winston formed the Righteous Flames as a trio with Edgar Gardner and Junior Green. With and without the Righteous Flames, Winston Jarrett recorded numerous singles throughout the 1970s at Studio One. 'Love Jah Jah' is sung over the 'Get Ready' rhythm, which was originally recorded by Burning Spear in 1974.

Rob Chapman
 
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