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 Skatalites (SJRCD375 - 2017)

Guns Of Navarone
Christine Keeler
El Pussy Cat Ska
Sudden Destruction
Scambalena
Tell Them Lord
Russian Ska Fever
Independent Anniversary Ska
Marcus Garvey
Heaven and Earth
Jack Ruby Is Bound To Die
Further East (aka Trolley Song)
Beard Man Ska
Surplus
Fidel Castro
Suavito
Coolie Boy
Adam's Apple (Don't Bother Me No More)
Full Dread
King Solomon
 
"This album features The Skatalites. The Skatalites consist of musicians who are the best individually, and have combined to produce a sound that is the greatest."
Ska Authentic Volume 2 - Studio One 1965

During the late fifties and early sixties the "twenty or so studio musicians who played on nearly all early Jamaican records" from Jamaica's jazz, dance and orchestra bands established themselves as recording artists in a multitude of studio based bands for Kingston's sound system operators turned record producers. The Skatalites, many of whose members have been playing together  in The Cavaliers, were officially inaugurated as a band at a meeting in the Odeon Theatre, Kingston in June 1963.

Tenor saxophonist Tommy McCook gave the band their name. "Somebody had suggested 'The Satellites' - it was 'Dizzy', Lloyd Knibb or one of the brothers. But I said 'No - 'The Skatalites' since the ska was what we played." Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd recalled that, because he was recording the band, it was "good to get them popular out in the streets" and, shortly afterwards, The Skatalites played their first official engagement at the Hi Hat Club in Rae Town, South Kingston. They would go on to play out at venues including La Parisienne, immortalised on 'Ska La Parasiene' (sic) on C&N Records credited to Roland Alphonso & Orchestra, The Orange Bowl and the Bournemouth Beach Club. They performed their farewell show at a police dance held at the Runaway Bay Hotel on Jamaica's north coast in August 1965.

Their time together was fleeting yet, during this short, intensively creative period, The Skatalites not only played on hundreds of records but also forged the template for what would become the Jamaican recording business. The original founding members of 'the very first super group' were:

Don Drummond: Trombone
Roland Alphonso: Tenor Saxophone
Tommy McCook: Tenor Saxophone & Flute
Lester sterling: Alto Saxophone
Johnny 'Dizzy' Moore: Trumpet
Jackie Mittoo: Piano
Jerome 'Jah Jerry' Haynes/Hines: Guitar
Lloyd Brevett: Double Bass
Lloyd Knibb: Drums

Jamaica's jazz musicians had made their presence felt after coming to prominence at the first large scale jazz concert in Jamaica presented at Kingston's Ward Theatre in 1954. However, due to the lack of musical opportunities at home, many of the stars of the show including Wilton Gaynair, Noel Gillespie, Joe Harriott, Harold McNair and Alphonso 'Dizzy' Reece, were obliged to leave the island to find their fortune overseas. And, while never abandoning their dedication to jazz, the second wave of players were able to remain in Jamaica through the birth of ska and Don Drummond and Roland Alphonso took on a starring role as featured front men of The Studio One Orchestra.

Don Drummond was born 12th March 1934 in Kingston's Jubilee Hospital and attended Alpha Catholic Boys Home and School, established in 1880 by Roman Catholic nuns as a 'school for wayward boys', where he was a prominent member of the School Band. At the age of twenty he was voted Jamaica's best trombonist and, the following year, he joined the Eric Deans Orchestra. In 1959 he played on the first record for Clement Dodd, released on the Cariboo label, where he backed Owen Grey singing 'On The Beach' and Coxsone was so impressed with Don's prowess and proficiency on his borrowed instrument that he purchased a brand new trombone for the young maestro.

Roland, also known as Rolando or Roly, Alphonso was born 12th January 1931 in Havana, Cuba and returned home with his Jamaican mother two years later. He began to learn to play the saxophone at Stony Hill Industrial School in the suburbs of north Kingston and, on leaving school in 1948, he too joined the Eric Deans Orchestra and also played for tourists with a number of bands at Jamaica's upmarket hotels. As Jamaican rhythm & blues recordings developed Roland made his mark in a number of bands including The Alley Cats, The City Slickers, Clue J and His Blues Blasters and Aubrey Adams and The Dew Droppers.

Tommy McCook was born 3rd March 1927 in Havana, Cuba to Jamaican parents and moved back to Kingston, Jamaica six years later. At the age of eleven his mother entrusted Tommy to the Roman Catholic nuns at the Alpha Catholic Boys Home and School where he studied music theory and learned to play the flute and tenor saxophone under the guidance of vibraphone virtuoso and band leader Lennie Hibbert. After leaving Alpha Tommy too started to play with the Eric Deans Orchestra and the Ray Coburn Dance Band but, in 1954, he sailed for the Bahamas to play with a dance band in Nassau. "By 1963 I was tired of it" and Tommy returned to Kingston where he started working with Aubrey Adams at the Courtleigh Manor Hotel. Following a great deal of persuasion, "jazz was my first love", he reluctantly began to play on ska records for Duke Reid and Clement Dodd after hearing Don Drummond's 'Schooling The Duke'. Allegedly Tommy McCook's first ska recording was his interpretation of the theme from Otto Preminger's 1960 epic film 'Exodus' released on Coxsone's Mu-zik City label.

Born in the parish of St. Ann on 3rd March 1948 Donat Roy 'Jackie' Mittoo grew up in York Castle where his grandmother, a music teacher taught him to play classical piano from the age of three. In the early sixties Jackie's family moved to Kingston where he joined The rivals before leaving to become a member of The Sheiks. Their line up included Lloyd Knibb on drums, Lloyd Spence on bass, Lyn Taitt on guitar, Felix 'Deadly Hedley' Bennett and Bobby Gaynair on saxophones, Roy Sterling (Lester's brother) and Johnny 'Dizzy' Moore on trumpets. The Sheiks eventually became known as The Cavaliers Orchestra and, by he time Jackie started High School, he was already a semi-professional musician. In 1963, while playing with Lyn Taitt and the house band at Federal Recording Studios, he was approached by Clement Dodd who asked Jackie to come and help him with the arrangement and development of songs at his newly opened recording complex, the Jamaican Recording and Publishing Studio, on the site of a former night club, The End, at 13 Brentford Road, Kingston 5 now internationally renowned as Studio One.

After graduating from Alpha Catholic Boys Home and School Lester Sterling, born 31st January 1936, joined the Jamaican Military Band before becoming a member of Val Bennett's band in 1957. He then began playing regularly as a session musician in a number of bands including Clue J and His Blues Blasters.

Johnny 'Dizzy' Moore, born 5th October 1938, in Kingston gained his epithet from the American jazz trumpeter and composer, John 'Dizzy' Gillespie, one of the originators of bebop. Although he was apparently a well behaved youth he "pulled a couple of pranks" in order to enroll at Alpha Catholic Boys Home and School where he studied musical composition and learned to play the trumpet under bandleader and clarinet player Ruben Delgado. Johnny then joined the Jamaican Military Band and, after three years in the army, joined the Mapletoft Poulle Orchestra and then moved on to the Eric Deans Orchestra before, eventually, joining The Cavaliers.

The eldest member of the band Jerome 'Jah Jerry' Haynes, born, 11th August 1921 in Trench Pen, Kingston (now known as Trench town) was first taught to play the guitar by his father and later became a student of the legendary guitarist and musical arranger Ernest Ranglin. He began playing professionally in 1949 with the Jocelyn Trott Orchestra in Montego Bay and then played in various line ups, including Val Bennett's band, until joining with drummer, Arkland 'Drumbago' Parks and becoming a regular session player for Duke Reid, King Edwards and Linden O. Pottinger before signing an exclusive recording contract with Coxsone in 1961.

"Brevett quietly provide the mesmerising backbone to the Skatalites' sound... to say that Brevett was a creator of both ska and dub is not to use hyperbole."
P.J. Patterson

The double bassist with The Cavaliers Lloyd Brevett, born 1st August 1931, and drummer Lloyd Knibb, born 8th March 1931 provided the rock solid foundation for the music of The Skatalites. Lloyd Knibb first performed professionally with Val Bennett's band but also played with Count Ossie's group where he mastered Nyahbinghi drumming techniques before he too joined the Eric Deans Orchestra.

The line up was not necessarily rigid and many other musicians, whether credited or uncredited, played important parts with The Skatalites including Arkland 'Drumbago' Parks on drums, Lloyd Spence on electric bass, Dennis 'Ska' Campbell on tenor & baritone saxophone, Karl 'Cannonball' Bryan on alto saxophone, Ernest Ranglin & Lyn Taitt on guitar, Oswald 'Baba' Brooks on trumpet, Ron 'Willow' Wilson on trombone and many others. The band backed countless vocalists in the studio but Tony Da Costa, Dobby Dobson, tony Gregory, Jackie Opel, Doreen Schaeffer & Lord Tanamo were favoured singers for The Skatalites live on-stage performances.

The sound of American rhythm & blues records, the initial inspiration behind the sound system entrepreneurs' foray into record production, was swiftly superseded when the music that proliferated in Kingston assumed its very own identity and ska replaced the music of America as "the Sound of Young Jamaica". As always there was measure if dissent and best-selling author and jazz aficionado, William Stanley Moss who had moved to Jamaica in the fifties, voiced his disapproval in a letter to Kingston's 'Daily Gleaner'.

"Time was, of course, not so long ago, when a select group of Billy Cooke's leadership were to be heard nightly at the now defunct nightspot, 'The End' but, alas, the band dispersed when the club folded. Some of its members, like Billy himself, formed small combos; others like Tommy McCook and Ernie Ranglin regrettably sold themselves to ska."
W. Stanley Moss

On 1st January 1965 Don Drummond was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend, Anita 'Margarita' Mahfood, a rhumba dancer and singer who had recorded 'Woman Come' aka 'Woman A Come' with the Baba Brooks Band for Treasure Isle. The following year the court found Don Drummond criminally insane on 26th July 1966 and he was confined to Kingston's Bellevue Mental hospital where he died on 6th May 1969.

"Don, who played with Tommy McCook and The Skatalites and Jackie Mittoo formed The Soul Brothers at Coxsone's Studio One and Tommy McCook became musical co-director (alongside alto saxophonist Herman Marquis) for Duke Reid's Treasure Isle house band Tommy McCook & The Supersonics in 1966."

The influence of The Skatalites was inestimable and members of the band carried on working individually as session players and musical arrangers on innumerable rock steady and reggae recordings during the sixties and seventies. The presence and power of the accomplished, creative musicians was a major contributory factor towards the artistry and longevity of Jamaican music over the ensuing decades. In July 1983 the band reformed for the Montego Bay Reggae Sunsplash concert and then again in July of the following year at Selhurst Park, London; these shows proved so successful that they decided to come together permanently. Over the past thirty years The Skatalites have undergone many changes in their line up but still tour the world with original members Lester Sterling and Doreen Schaeffer to enthusiastic new generations of music lovers. Despite the predictions of William Stanley Moss the strength, power and beauty of their music will never, ever diminish...

"Inevitably, it will be the small groups, having retained their names and individuality, which will survive the demise of Ska. But the others, having identified with an ephemeral craze, might well come to regret their readiness to jump on the ska-wagon. (What, for example, will the word 'Skatalite' mean to the average Jamaican in a few years time?)"
W. Stanley Moss

1. Guns Of Navarone
Roland Alfonso (sic) & The Studio 1 Orchestra - Mu-Zik City (Jamaica)
The Skatalites - Island WI 168 (UK) 1965

A ska translation of the theme music from J. Lee Thompson's Second World War blockbuster film, 'The Guns Of Navarone', starring Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn first released in 1961. The theme was originally credited to Joe Reisman Orchestra & Chorus while the Jamaican variation, which came four years later on Mu-Zik City, credited Roland Alfonso (sic) and The Studio One Orchestra. This was then released in London on Chris Blackwell's Island label before it was replaced by an edited take, with the same title and catalogue number, credited, more prosaically, to The Skatalites. The second, more dynamic release, was a huge hit in the capital's clubs and, nearly two years after its initial release, became one of the first Jamaican records to cross over into the UK National Charts. 'Guns Of Navarone' eventually reached number 36 in the spring of 1967.

Talking over records was still an unrecognised art form but foundation deejay and master percussionist Uzziah 'Cool Stick' Thompson, here 'chats' and makes percussive sounds known as 'peps', adding immeasurably to the overall excitement of this release,.

"Coxsone come hear me a deejay one day and take me go a studio one time and just said 'do the same thing'. My first records... I do songs for Coxsone named 'Guns Of Navarone' and 'Ball Of Fire'... all of them tune there! but the songs came out and did nice and me get a little something! Give thanks but those songs weren't my personal thing..."
Uzziah 'Cool Stick' Thompson

2. Christine Keeler
Roland Alphonso & The Skatalites - C & N Records (Jamaica) 1965

A moody, yet upbeat, version of Mel Torme's 'Coming Home Baby' which was first released in the USA in 1962 on the Atlantic label. Christine Keeler was a young "night club model" and showgirl at the centre of the infamous 'Profumo affair' when it became public knowledge that, through her relationship with society osteopath Stephen Ward, she was not only in a sexual relationship with John Profumo, a married government minister, but also allegedly with Yevgeni Ivanov a Soviet diplomat. She was involved with "two West Indians" one of whom "fired five shots" at Stephen Ward's house when he came looking for Miss Keeler one night. John Profumo denied improper conduct in the House of Commons and Stephen Ward's conviction for living off immoral earnings and suicide in 1963 caused a major political scandal. The subsequent furore seriously discredited not only Harold Macmillan's Conservative government but also brought about long overdue changes in British attitudes and unquestioning deference to the upper classes. 'Christine Keeler' was not released in the UK (perhaps because of its title?) although the 1989 film of the affair, 'Scandal', did feature Jimmy Cliff's 'Miss Jamaica' (perhaps because of its title?).

3. El Pussy Cat Ska
Roland Alphonso & The Studio 1 Orchestra - Studio One (Jamaica)
Roland Alphonso - Island WI 217 (UK) 1965

Originally 'El Pussy Cat' in 1965 from Mongo Santamaria & His Orchestra and both the original and the ska version came complete with mewling cat noises. A later re-press omitted the 'cat' and was labelled 'El Pussy Ska' turning the title into a single entendre. Back then the term 'pussy', wasn't quite so familiar on this side of the Atlantic otherwise it's doubtful if Ian Fleming would have got away with naming James Bond's female adversary, later ally, in 'Goldfinger', 'Pussy Galore'... a very Jamaican joke.

4. Sudden Destruction
Dizzy Johnny & The Studio One Orchestra - MuZik City (Jamaica)
Dizzy Johnny & The Studio One Orchestra - Ska Beat JB204 (UK) 1965

Taken from the New Testament the theme of 'sudden destruction' would be quoted repeatedly in the lyrics of Rastafarian inspired songs during the seventies.

"For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape."
Chapter 5, Verse 3 The First epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians

To the best of our knowledge this is the only Skatalites release where Johnny 'Dizzy' Moore is given a solo (and writing) credit as 'Dizzy Johnny'. In fact, throughout his long and distinguished career as a session musician, there are only a handful of records where, despite his invaluable input, he received a leader credit.

5. Scambalena aka Magic Star
Roland Alphonso & The Soul Brothers - Studio One (Jamaica)
Soul Brothers - Island WI 292 (UK) 1965

Also known as 'Magic Star' and originally entitled 'Sambalero' as performed by guitarist Luiz Bonfa, together with Stan Getz, on their bossa nova based 'Jazz Samba Encore' album released on Verve in 1963.

"A new approach? Yes! But, unlike so many new approaches, this one makes for better overall enjoyment... 'Soul Bros.' (nee Skatalites with minor changes) has not only done it again, but has excelled itself."
Ska Au Go Go - Studio One 1967

'Scambalena' dates from slightly later than the majority of tracks on this compilation after The Skatalites had gone their separate ways and the Soul brothers became Coxsone's house band at Studio One on Brentford Road where Roland would become Coxsone's 'Chief Musician'.

6. Tell Them Lord
The Wailers - MuZik City (Jamaica) 1964
A very early outing from The Wailers featuring Bob Marley on lead vocal and, despite the title, the song is more of an anguished cry for help than a spiritual hymn of praise. Only ever released in Jamaica in a very limited pressing, until Bob became the internationally famous figurehead of reggae music.

7. Russian Ska Fever
The Skatalites - Rolando & Powie/Studio One (Jamaica) 1965
"It was not as easy as it sounds. It took years of study and research to perfect the beat that we now all seem to be enjoying, not only in Jamaica, but in other countries as well. In 1957 Mr. Dodd variated the then existing beat with emphasis on the offbeat produced by the guitar with strumming the rhythm, suitably backed up by the rest of the band. Our Jamaican hep steppers showed how much they enjoyed this music thereby giving it the shot in the arm it really deserved. Since then this beat has not lost its popularity."
'Ska Authentic'

8. Independent Anniversary Ska aka I Should Have Known Better
Roland Alphonso & The Studio 1 Orchestra - Studio One (Jamaica)
The Skatalites - Island WI 206 (UK) 1965

First sung by The Beatles at the height of 'Beatlemania' in their debut film, 'A Hard Day's Night', in 1964 yet, considering the incredible worldwide popularity of the group, there are relatively few Jamaican cover versions from Lennon & McCartney's copious catalogue. This instrumental interpretation was originally released on Studio One backed with The Wailers' 'Jumbie Jamboree' a very obscure re-working of a calypso tune, 'Zombie Jamboree', first performed by Lord Intruder at the 1953 Carnival in Trinidad and later popularised by Lord Jelicho & His Calypso Monarchs, Harry Belafonte & The Kingston Trio amongst others. The Wailers recorded 'Jumbie Jamboree' and 'Hooligans' at the same session towards the end of 1964 as a response to a riot that erupted in the audience when a power cut cast the auditorium of the Palace Theatre, Kingston into total darkness during the group's onstage appearance with The Skatalites. It was re-titled for the London release, with the Beatles (and Jamaican) title in parentheses, in celebration of the third anniversary of Jamaican independence.

9. Where is Garvey? aka Marcus Garvey
Bongo Man, Roland Alfonso (sic) & The Studio 1 Orchestra - Mu-Zik City (Jamaica) 1965
The Skatalites - Island WI 168 (UK) 1965
A rough, raw and ready vocal from Delroy 'Bongo Man' Byfield "a Rasta guy" who only ever made a handful of records and notable for being one of the first records to mention Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jamaica's National Hero, who was belatedly bestowed with the posthumous honour in 1952. Garvey presented himself as neither preacher or prophet but was inspirational to the cause of equal rights. During a trip to Jamaica on 20th June 1965 Martin Luther King laid a wreath at Marcus Garvey's shrine and proclaimed:

"Garvey was the first man of colour to lead and develop a mass movement. He was the first man on a mass scale and level to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny. And make the negro he was somebody."
Martin Luther King

By the mid-seventies no-one needed to enquire as to the whereabouts of Marcus Garvey and his name would resoundingly reverberate through the music of Burning Spear, The Mighty Diamonds and a host of other artists.

10. Heaven & Earth
Don Drummond & Roland Alphonso
Originally released on the 'This Is Jamaican Ska' album on ND Records in 1965 where, in a poignant play on words, it was mis-credited 'Roll On Sweet Don'.

"If you miss getting a copy of this album, you'll be missing a good thing. Don't allow your friends to call you a square because you aren't there with this collector's item."
This Is Jamaican Ska - Studio One (Jamaica) 1965

11. Jack Ruby's Bound To Die
Bongo Man Byfield & The Skatalites - Roland & Powie (Jamaica) 1964
On 24th November 1964 Texas night club owner, Jack ruby, fatally shot Lee Harvey Oswald live in television in front of millions of viewers. Oswald was in police custody after being accused od assassinating President John F Kennedy two days previously and the shootings sent shock waves all around the world. A Dallas jury found him guilty of murder and he was sentenced to death but Ruby appealed and was granted a new trial.

Bongo Man's prophecy was fulfilled when Jack Ruby died of a pulmonary embolism in January 1967 after falling ill in his prison cell. His name lived on in Jamaica with this release, another track from The Skatalites 'Jack Ruby', and also through Lawrence Lindo who adopted his name and ran 'Jack ruby's Hi Fi' from the Jamaican North Coast tourist town of Ocho Rios. Lawrence 'Jack Ruby' Lindo produced "some material so I could overthrow other sound systems" with Winston 'Burning Spear' Rodney in 1975 which formed the core of the epochal 'Marcus Garvey' album.

Also known as 'Kennedy's Grave' the track was never released outside of Jamaica and, after the autobiographical 'Bongo Man' for Duke Reid, Bongo Man disappeared from the recording scene.

12. Trolley Song (Far East)
Don Drummond - D Darling (Jamaica)
Don Drummond - Blue Beat BB 179 (UK) 1963
'The Trolley Song', written by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane as credited on the D Darling release, made famous by Judy Garland in the 1944 film 'Meet Me In St Louis', forms the basis for this outing. However, bandleader Carlos Malcolm later told Heather Augustyn "it wasn't until they reach the bridge of the tune that I realise it was 'The Trolley Song'" and Don Drummond's version bears similarities to the version by MJT+3 on their 1959 Vee Jay album 'Make everybody Happy'.

The record was later re-released as 'Further East', supposedly a reference to the Rastafarian influence on Jamaican music, but undoubtedly one of the precursors of, and a huge influence on, the 'Far East' sound played in minor keys and popularised by Augustus Pablo, in particular, in the seventies.

13. Beard Man Ska
Roland Alphonsio & The Skatalites - Studio One (Jamaica)
The Skatalites - Island WI 228 (UK) 1966
Originally 'Live It Up' by Ernie Freeman and released in the USA on Imperial in 1959. A seriously in demand tune on Jamaica's sound systems it was released on an Imperial 78rpm record in Kingston by the Tropical Recording Company. 'Live It up' was particularly popular with the Rastafarian fraternity and when Roland Alphonso & The Skatalites updated the tune for Coxsone in 1965 they renamed it 'Beard Man Ska'. 'Beardman' and 'Locksman' were alternative names for the dreadlocked Rastafarians.

"Do you know Ernie Freeman's 'Live It Up'? A lot of tunes in Jamaica came off of that rhythm. They cut off the label when it came and named it 'Beard Man Shuffle' 'cause the Rasta man used to like it... so plenty of these tunes from Jamaica have different names so sometimes when you see the original you wont know what it is. They just gave it their own name. some Coxsone's instrumentals are Mongo Santamaria. Songs like 'Bridge View', 'Phoenix City' and all them songs Coxsone gave them those names. Some of those songs they just named them after movies like 'Guns Of Navarone' and all those tunes like 'Ska El Pussy Cat'..."
Bunny 'Striker' Lee

Unusually for a rhythm  blues/ska tune it would go on to form the basis for endless variations on a theme and a number of important, ground breaking records. In 1970 the rhythm was used for one of the first deejay records, 'Herb Man' from King Stitt & Andy Capp, and one of the first dub records 'Phantom' by The Dynamites, both produced by Clancy Eccles. In 1975 Lee 'Scratch' Perry used it as the basis for 'Sipple Out Deh' also known as 'War In A Babylon' with Max Romeo, one of the first crossover roots records, and two years later for an early twelve in 'discomix', 'Rastaman Shuffle', credited to The Upsetters. The same year the bass line provided the basis for a worldwide hit for Bob Marley & The Wailers... have another listen to 'Three Little Birds'.

14. Surplus
Don Drummond - C & N (Jamaica) 1964
"Don Drummond's artistry and styling attracted the attention of promoter C.S. (Coxsone) Dodd who has produced a vast number of hits on the local and international scene. Under Dodd's management Don made his first recording in 1959, 'On The Beach', with vocals by Owen Grey.

In his last years of musical fame he was the featured soloist of The Skatalites, the foremost exponents of the 'Ska' the Jamaican sound (that) went great with the local, Caribbean and international dance fans."  
In Memory Of Don Drummond - Studio One 1969

15. Fidel (Castro)
Don Drummond - C & N (Jamaica) 1964
Fidel Castro (13th August 1926 to 25th November 2016), a revolutionary and politician, governed the Republic of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 as Prime Minister and as President from 1976 until 2008. A committed Marxist Leninist he transformed Cuba into the first socialist state under Communist Party rule in the Western hemisphere. A divisive, polarising figure Castro was regarded by his supporters as a champion of socialism and anti-imperialism and this record can be read as a rousing tribute to the man from Don Drummond.

The presence of this bastion of socialism in the Caribbean and its influence in the area was a constant source of concern to the United States government. During the seventies Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley's People's National Party forged close links with their near neighbour, "a lot of people used to go away to Cuba and we called them brigadistas", as part of the PNP's experiment in democratic socialism. Convinced that Jamaica's very own people's revolution was imminent many of the upper and middle classes emigrated to Florida, USA to escape, what they imagined to be, the coming cataclysm.

16. Suaviti
Roland Alphonso & The Skatalites - Studio One (Jamaica) 1964
Also known as 'Sauvett', 'Sauvit' and 'Skaviti' this Latin flavoured work out was a version to Mongo Santamaria and His Orchestra's 'Sauvito'. The Latin dance band was the inspiration behind a number of significant ska hits including 'Phoenix City' ('Hammer Head') and 'Lee Harvey Oswald' ('Bayou roots').

17. Coolie Boy
Don Drummond & The Studio One Band - Mu-Zik City (Jamaica)
Don Drummond - Island WI 204 (UK) 1965
"This genius of the trombone was very quiet, reserved and somewhat shy; indeed most of his talking was done through his trombone..."
In Memory Of Don Drummond - Studio One 1969

"Coolie: An East Indian; formerly a neutral word, now used derogatively by many non-East Indians, and objected to by East Indians. (East Indians began coming to Jamaica as indentured labourers in 1834 to 1838 and, on a larger scale, after 1845).
F.G. Cassidy & R.B. le Page

18. Adam's/Adam Apple aka Don't Bother Me
Roland Alphonso - Coxsone (Jamaica)
Tommy McCook & Band - ND Records & All Stars (Jamaica)
Tommy McCook - Island WI 102 (UK) 1963
Latin dance band, Mongo Santamaria and His Orchestra, was the inspiration behind a number of significant ska hits including 'Phoenix City' ('Hammer Head') and 'Lee Harvey Oswald' ('Bayou Roots') and this version to their 'Don't Bother Me No More'. Credited to both of The Skatalites tenor saxophonists on three separate releases and with two different titles... it's never straightforward.

"Tommy McCook and Roland Alphonso, who have survived two eras of Jamaican Jazz and whose contributions are invaluable."
Sonny Bradshaw

19. Full Dread
Roland Alphonso - Roland & Powie (Jamaica) 1964
A very early title alluding to the Rastafarian religion at a time when followers of the faith were shunned and scorned by the Jamaican authorities and society and, when this record was initially released, a number of members of The Skatalites were adherents to the faith of this 'underground' sect. It would be many years before the Rastafarian religion became acceptable in Jamaican society.

"This album will supply every need for variety in sound. It will also show that ska has great potentalties and that it is capable of further improvements until it becomes an international sound amongst music lovers.

Co-operatively Roland Alphonso and Clement Dodd have worked on arrangements designed to give musical satisfaction. In this album, the listener is getting the best of many worlds. Buy this one and have fun!"
Ska Strictly For You - Studio One 1965

20. King Solomon
Tommy McCook - ND Records (Jamaica) 1964
Also released in the UK on Rita & Benny King's R&B label (R&B JB 137) where it was erroneously credited to Joe White & His Group. There are very few records on Coxsone's labels credited to Tommy McCook, possibly the handwriting was already on the wall as Tommy would go on to lead The Supersonics, the house band of Coxsone's arch rival, Duke Reid, at his Treasure Isle studio on Bond Street.

"Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, zero - Fire! Yes, once again then indomitable Tommy McCook and The Skatalites' go into 'orbit'. And what an 'orbit' they are in this time! Not that they can help being way above their Ska contemporaries in Ska orbiting."
This Is Jamaica Ska - Studio One 1965

"This is a great album for dancing, a great album for listening, so cut the chatter and spin the platter, as we spin you some great sounds."
N.J. Dodd
 
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