The Wailing Wailers


The Wailing Wailers is the debut album by The Wailers published on the Studio One label. Originally released in very late 1965 and compiled from various recordings made over the years 1963-1965, it compiles what Clement Coxsone Dodd considered the best Wailers recordings from this period. It is not a studio album in the conventional sense but was the first full length LP released of the band’s work. The album has remained in print since its release, but after the first release (which has a different cover) each release of the album was newly overdubbed to fit with musical trends of the time. The album has never been released on CD with the original tracklisting or cover but all tracks (with and without overdubs) are available across various compilations released by Heartbeat Records in the 1990s and 2000s. The front cover’s band photo was also an inspiration for Walt Jabsco, the unofficial logo for 2 Tone Records, the drawing was created by Jerry Dammers and Horace Panter and is based on Peter Tosh (right).

Bob Marley & The Wailers were a Jamaican reggae, ska and rocksteady band formed by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer in 1963. Additional members were Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, Cherry Smith and Aston and Carlton Barrett. The band came to an end with the death of Bob Marley in 1981.

They were known variously as The Teenagers, The Wailing Rudeboys, The Wailing Wailers and finally The Wailers. By 1966 Braithwaite, Kelso and Smith had left the band, which then consisted of the trio Livingston, Marley and Tosh (Neville Livingston being the birth name of Bunny Wailer).

Some of The Wailers most notable songs were recorded with Lee “Scratch” Perry and his studio band The Upsetters. During the early 1970s The Upsetters members Aston “Family Man” Barrett and his brother Carlton (Carlie) Barrett,[1] formed the Wailers Band, providing instrumental backing for The Wailers.

The Wailers recorded groundbreaking reggae songs such as “Simmer Down”, “Trenchtown Rock”, “Nice Time”, “War”, “Stir It Up” and “Get Up, Stand Up”.
The Wailers disbanded in 1974 due to Tosh and Livingston’s refusal to tour. Bob Marley formed Bob Marley & The Wailers with Bob Marley himself as guitarist, songwriter and main singer, the Wailers Band as the backing band, and the I Threes as backup vocalists. The Wailers Band included the brothers Carlton Barrett and “Family Man” Barrett on drums and bass respectively, Junior Marvin and Al Anderson playing lead guitar, Tyrone Downie and Earl “Wya” Lindo playing keyboard, and Alvin “Seeco” Patterson playing percussion. The I Threes, consisted of Bob Marley’s wife Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths.
Bob Marley & The Wailers, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer all enjoyed considerable success as reggae music continued to gain popularity during the 1970s and 1980s.
Several of the group’s members have died subsequent to Marley’s death in 1981: Carlton Barrett and Tosh in 1987, Braithwaite in 1999, and Smith in 2008.[2] Bunny Wailer and Beverley Kelso are the only surviving members of the group’s original line-up.

Ska’s the Limit

This is just good silly fun and needed to be posted. Thank The Onion online for this one!

The Maytals

Toots and the Maytals, originally called simply The Maytals, are a Jamaican musical group and one of the best known ska and reggae vocal groups. According to Sandra Brennan at Allmusic, “The Maytals were key figures in reggae music. Formed in the early 1960s when ska was hot, the Maytals had a reputation for having strong, well-blended voices and a seldom-rivaled passion for their music. Frontman Hibbert’s soulful style led him to be compared to Otis Redding”.[1]
Contents [hide]
1 Career
2 Discography
2.1 Studio albums
2.2 Live albums
2.3 Compilation albums
2.4 Other Contributions
3 Contemporary usage
3.1 Covers
3.2 Samples
3.3 Soundtrack appearances
4 See also
5 References
6 External links
[edit]Career

Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, the frontman of the group, was born in May Pen, Clarendon, Jamaica in 1945, the youngest of seven children. He grew up singing gospel music in a church choir, and moved to Kingston in 1958 at the age of thirteen.
In Kingston, Hibbert met Henry “Raleigh” Gordon and Nathaniel “Jerry” Mathias, forming in 1961[2] a group whose early recordings were incorrectly attributed to ‘The Flames’ and ‘The Vikings’ in the UK by Island Records. The Maytals first had chart success recording for producer Clement “Coxsone” Dodd at Studio One. With musical backing from Dodd’s house band, The Skatalites, the Maytals’ close-harmony gospel singing ensured success, overshadowing Dodd’s other up-and-coming vocal group, The Wailers. After staying at Studio One for about two years, the group moved on to do sessions for Prince Buster before recording with Byron Lee in 1966.[1] With Lee, the Maytals won the first-ever Jamaican Independence Festival Popular Song Competition with their original song “Bam Bam” (later covered in a Dancehall style by Sister Nancy, and also by Yellowman in 1982).[1][3] However, the group’s musical career was interrupted in late 1966 when Hibbert was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months.[1] He stated that he was not arrested for ganja, but whilst bailing a friend.[4] He also stated that he made up the number 54-46 when writing “54-46 That’s My Number” about his time in jail.[5]
Following Hibbert’s release from jail towards the end of 1967, the Maytals began working with the Chinese Jamaican producer Leslie Kong, a collaboration which yielded a string of hits throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.[1] These included “Do the Reggay”, one of several songs released in 1968 to first use the word ‘reggae’ (spelled ‘reggay’) in a Jamaican recording;[6] “Pressure Drop”; “54-46 That’s My Number” the 1969 Jamaica festival’s popular song winner; “Sweet and Dandy”;[7] and “Monkey Man”, the group’s first international hit in 1970.[1] By 1971, they had not only become the biggest act on the island, they were also (thanks to signing a recording contract with Chris Blackwell’s Island Records) international stars.[1] In 1972 they won their third Jamaica festival popular song with “Pomps and Pride”.[7] The group was also featured twice in the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, the 1972 film starring Jimmy Cliff, named as one of Vanity Fair’s Top 10 soundtracks of all time.
After Kong’s death in 1971, the group continued to record with Kong’s former sound engineer, Warrick Lyn. Their re-instated producer Byron Lee renamed them Toots & the Maytals.[1] The group released three best-selling albums produced by Lyn and Blackwell of Island Records, and enjoyed international hits with Funky Kingston in 1973 and Reggae Got Soul in 1975. Following the release of Reggae Got Soul, Toots & the Maytals were invited to tour as the opening act for The Who during their 1975-76 North American tour.[8] The tour went poorly and Toots & the Maytals never went on to the success of Bob Marley or Peter Tosh in the U.S.[9]
Toots and the Maytals’ compositions would be given a second airing in 1978-80 during the reggae punk and ska revival period in the UK, when The Specials included “Monkey Man” on their 1979 debut album and The Clash covered “Pressure Drop”. They were also included in the lyrics to Bob Marley & The Wailers song, “Punky Reggae Party” – “The Wailers will be there, The Damned, The Jam, The Clash, The Maytals will be there, Dr. Feelgood too”. In 1982, Toots & the Maytals’ “Beautiful Woman”, reached number one in New Zealand, but the group had already broken up.[1]
They reformed in the early 1990s to continue touring and recording successfully.[1]
In 2005, the group released True Love, an album consisting of re-recorded versions of their earlier hits, alongside Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Trey Anastasio, No Doubt, Ben Harper, The Roots, and Shaggy. The album won the Grammy Award that year for best reggae album.
In 2006, they recorded a reggae/ska version of Radiohead’s “Let Down” for the tribute album, Radiodread, by the Easy Star All-Stars. The album was a song for song makeover of the English rock band’s album OK Computer into reggae, dub and ska. In August 2007 Toots & the Maytals released Light Your Light, which featured re-workings of older songs such as “Johnny Cool Man”, as well as new material. The album was nominated in 2008 for a Grammy in the best reggae album category.
Toots & the Maytals hold the current record of number one hits in Jamaica, with a total of thirty one.[citation needed]
In March 2009 it was announced that Toots & the Maytals would be performing alongside Amy Winehouse, for their shared record label, Island Records’ 50th anniversary. Winehouse had covered the band’s “Monkey Man”, and the act were supposed to support her at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London on 31 May 2009.[10] However, Winehouse was forced to cancel, leaving the Maytals to play at the more intimate Bush Hall, round the corner from the Empire, to a sell-out crowd.
In the summer of 2009, Toots and the Maytals performed at the Mountain Jam festival at Hunter Mountain, New York.
On 8 July 2011, Toots and the Maytals played the Winnipeg Folk Festival to an outdoor dancing crowd of thousands.
In August 2011, Toots and the Maytals are due to appear at a small number of outdoor events, including Rhythm Festival[11]

Mustard Plug



Mustard Plug is a ska punk band from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Formed in 1991, the band’s original members were Dave Kirchgessner, Mike McKendrick, Colin Clive, and Anthony Vilchez. Currently the band consists of Dave (Vocals), Brandon Jenison (trumpet), Jim Hofer (trombone), Nate Cohn (drums), Colin Clive (guitar/vocals), and Rick Johnson (bass). The band has regularly toured throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and South America. They have toured with the Warped Tour twice, and participated in the Ska Against Racism Tour. As of 2011, the band has released six studio albums and continues to tour actively.
Brandon Jenison stated in an interview [1] that their band name originated when “a guy in the early stages of the band was making a sandwich and that crusty stuff that forms on the mustard bottle when you put it in the fridge without wiping it off first gave him an interesting idea for a name.”

Prince Buster

Cecil Bustamente Campbell, O.D. (born 28 May 1938), better known as Prince Buster, and also known by his Muslim name Muhammed Yusef Ali, is a musician from Kingston, Jamaica. He is regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of ska and rocksteady music. The records he made on the Blue Beat label in the 1960s inspired many reggae and ska artists.
Contents [hide]
1 Biography
1.1 Early life
1.2 Artistic and producing career
1.3 Post-recording life
2 Album discography
3 UK hit singles
4 References
[edit]Biography

[edit]Early life
Campbell began his professional career as a singer in 1956; performing in Kingston nightclubs. He formed a succession of bands with several of his friends, none of which were successful.
Campbell’s music career reached maturity with the growth of the sound system. Across Jamaica, music promoters drove vans filled with stereo equipment to stage mobile parties. The operators of the sound system would play the popular R&B dance records of the day and often they would have a vocalist called a toaster call out the dancers’ names, chant in rhythm, and make light-hearted boasts. Deejay “toasting” was one of the precursors to the style of vocal delivery that eventually evolved into rap.
Eventually, Campbell was introduced to Clement Dodd, a musically-inclined businessman who operated one of Kingston’s most popular sound systems. Interestingly, Campbell was not hired as a musician but as security; because of rivalries between fans devoted to a particular sound system, the parties sometimes could become quite rough, and Campbell had been a skillful amateur boxer as a teenager. It was in this line of work that he earned the nickname “The Prince”, which along with his boyhood moniker “Buster” (from his middle name Bustamente), formed the name under which he would later become famous.
[edit]Artistic and producing career
In 1960, Buster produced a record for the Folkes Brothers for the Wild Bells label, “Oh Carolina”, under his nickname. Buster dubbed himself ‘The Voice of the People’, and gave a voice to those people with “Oh Carolina”, which expressed black Jamaicans through a commercially successful medium.[1] This record was Jamaica’s first to involve an element of African music – the drumming in the record was provided by Count Ossie, the lead nyabinghi drummer from the rastafarian camp, Camp David, in the hills above Kingston. It was an instant hit in Jamaica, and Buster’s early records, which were released in the UK by Blue Beat Records, contributed greatly to the developing sound of ska. Buster was soon recording his own compositions as well as producing records for others.
From 1963 to the end of the decade, Buster wrote and produced hundreds of songs for Blue Beat. Soon after his initial success, Buster was drawing international attention. He toured Britain extensively during this period, playing to sellout crowds, and appeared on commercial TV broadcaster Rediffusion London’s Friday early-evening pop show Ready, Steady, Go! in 1964. While in England, Buster met World Heavyweight Champion boxer Muhammad Ali, a meeting that resulted in Buster joining the Nation of Islam, as well as Ali being mentioned in the song “Earthquake on Orange Street”,[2][3] which was subsequently referenced by the UK group Madness, who took their name from one of his songs, in their first single “The Prince”. He went on to be a popular as a recorded and touring artist in Europe, and though none of his singles charted as highly in the United States, he went on a successful American tour in 1967 to support the little-known RCA Victor LP releaseThe Ten Commandments (From Man To Woman). Today, the album (catalog LSP-3792) is a highly-sought-after rarity among collectors of ska and foundation reggae.
Prince Buster had two hit singles in the UK: first, “Al Capone” (#18, 1967), and much later, with an updated version of “Whine And Grine”, which was used on a television advertisement (#21, 1998).[4] In 1972 Buster gained notoriety for the title track of his album Big Five, a raunched-up re-write of Brook Benton’s “Rainy Night in Georgia” with explicit references to sex and drugs.
Besides being a pioneering musician, Buster, like Clement Dodd, was also very interested in business. He started a record shop in Kingston in the early 1960s which is still owned and operated by his family today. Later he founded a jukebox company. He also started the Prince Buster Records label, at first as an attempt to keep the Melodisc label viable,[5] but today is used to reissue his music.
[edit]Post-recording life

This biographical section of an article needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful. (July 2011)
The ska sound and rhythms were undergoing a change by the late 1960s, musicians were slowing the beat and introducing more subtle rhythmic pulses that audiences found less frantic and therefore easier to dance too. This new music was eventually called rocksteady, slower than ska and more influenced by gospel and soul. Rocksteady itself would eventually be replaced by reggae. In addition to the musical influence that ska and rocksteady exerted, many reggae lyrics expressed an Afrocentric, Marcus Garvey-inspired worldview, which had been present in some of Prince Buster’s songs. Bob Marley, Toots Hibbert, and other reggae stars have acknowledged their debt. Buster also made a cameo appearance in the acclaimed international hit movie, The Harder They Come. However, reggae’s Rastafarian orientation led the Muslim Prince to keep an arms distance away from the new music. He turned toward more traditional tourist-based business ventures instead and gracefully exited the Jamaican music scene.
By the late 1970s, Buster was in serious financial trouble. His business ventures were all posting losses or low profits, and the loans he had taken out to start them were catching up. Fortunately for him, ska was experiencing a revival in the United Kingdom, and the most prominent bands of the revival drew from his material. In 1979, the band Madness released their first record, a tribute to Buster called “The Prince”, which urged ska fans to remember “the man who set the beat”. The b-side to this record was a cover of the Prince Buster song “Madness” from which they took their name. Their second single was a cover of Buster’s “One Step Beyond” which reached the Top 10. On their first album, The Specials covered “Too Hot” and drew heavily on “Judge Dread” in the song “Stupid Marriage”, and “Al Capone” in the song “Gangsters”. The Specials also included a cover of Buster’s version of “Enjoy Yourself” on their second album. Not to be outdone, the The Beat included covers of the Buster originals “Rough Rider” and “Whine & Grine” on its first album. Interest in Buster soared during this time; he received royalties when his songs were covered by 2-Tone bands, and his old records were re-issued and sold well. Buster’s songs continued to be popular sources for ska bands in the U.S., an example being The Toasters covering “Hard Man Fe Dead” in 1996. In 1989, Prince Buster recorded a 12″ single with London based ska and blues band, The Trojans, which was released on Gaz’s Rockin’ Records in the UK. “Stack O Lee” was a limited edition and it sold out within weeks.
Prince Buster now lives in Miami, Florida. He has performed at several shows over the past few years, including: the 2002 Legends Of Ska festival in Toronto; Dedham, Massachusetts in 2002; the 2006 Boss Sounds Reggae Festival in Newcastle upon Tyne, the 40th Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland with the Delroy Williams Junction Band, and 2007’s Rhythm Festival. During the last day of the 2008 Notting Hill Carnival, Prince Buster made an appearance on the Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues stage, alongside The Trojans.
Prince Buster was due to make a rare live appearance in London on September 5, 2009 at Camden Centre, but it was cancelled two weeks beforehand, with ticket holders being informed by e-mail.

Sally Brown

Let me tell you ’bout Sally Brown
Let me tell you ’bout Sally Brown
Sally Brown is a girl in town,
Sally Brown is a girl in town,
She don’t mess around,
She don’t mess around,

(if you mess with Sally she gonna hit you with a co co maja stick)

co co co co co co co co maja stick, she gonna hit you with a co co maja stick,
co co co co co co co co maja stick, she gonna hit you with a co co maja stick,

The Godfather of Rocksteady

Alton Ellis

 
 

Biography

Ellis was born in 1938 and grew up in Kingston’s Trench Town district. Born into a musical family, he learned to play piano at a young age.[6] He attended Ebeneezer and Boys’ Town schools, where he excelled in both music and sport.[7] He initially sought fame as a dancer, competing on Vere Johns’ Opportunity Hour.[8] After winning a couple of competitions, he switched to singing, starting his career in 1959 as part of the duo Alton & Eddy with Eddy Perkins.[9] Ellis and Perkins recorded for Coxsone Dodd at Studio One, initially in the R&B style, having a massive hit with “Muriel” (from Dodd’s first commercially-oriented recording session at Federal studios),[10] a song Ellis had written whilst working as a labourer on a building site[7] and recording follow-ups with “My Heaven”, “Lullabye Angel”, “I Know It All”, “I’m Never Gonna Cry” and “Yours”.[7] The duo also recorded a few tracks for Vincent Chin’s Randy’s label, but came to an end when after winning a major talent contest, Perkins moved to the United States.[9] Ellis remained in Kingston, working as a printer and after losing his job, he restarted his music career, initially forming a new duo with John Holt.[7] When Holt joined The Paragons, Ellis formed a new group, The Flames. Ellis continued to work for Dodd and also recorded for his arch-rival, Duke Reid on his Treasure Isle label.[9] By the mid 1960s, ska was moving on and the beat was slowing down to rocksteady and becoming associated with the violent rude boy subculture in Jamaican dancehalls. Many artists made records referring to the rude boys, including Ellis, although his records were consistently anti-rudie, including “Don’t Trouble People”, “Dance Crasher”, and “Cry Tough”, in contrast to artists such as Bob Marley, whom Ellis blamed for glorifiying the rudies.[10] Recording with The Flames (the varying line-up of which included his brother Leslie Ellis, David “Baby G” Gordon and Winston Jarrett), Ellis scored big with the hits “Girl I’ve Got a Date”, “Cry Tough” and “Rock Steady”, which was the first song to refer to the name of the newer genre. As rocksteady dominated the Jamaican airwaves for the next two years, Ellis continued to score hits for Treasure Isle, working with artists such as Lloyd Charmers, Phyllis Dillon and The Heptones. His Mr Soul of Jamaica album is regarded as one of the definitive rocksteady albums.[9]
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ellis recorded for some of Jamaica’s top producers, having two huge hits with Lloyd Daley in “Deliver Us” and “Back to Africa” and recording for Bunny Lee, Keith Hudson, and Herman Chin Loy.[9] Ellis toured the United Kingdom in the 1967 with Ken Boothe and Studio One session band the Soul Vendors and on his return to Jamaica he worked with Dodd, recording the tracks that would be released as his debut album Alton Ellis Sings Rock & Soul.[7] He also began to produce his own records, including “My Time Is The Right Time” and “The Message”.[7]
Ellis regularly returned to England, working with several London-based producers and after spending a few years in Canada, from 1972 he based himself permanently in the UK.[9] Ellis continued to record and perform regularly, recording in the early 1980s for emerging producers including Henry “Junjo” Lawes, Sugar Minott, and King Jammy.[10] He also opened up the All-Tone record shop in South London, and started a record label of the same name.[3][11]
The “Mad Mad” riddim, first recorded by Ellis in 1967 would later be recycled in more than one hundred other songs. The instantly recognizable three-note descending horn line was reinterpreted by Henry “Junjo” Lawes and eventually became known widely as the “Diseases” reggae riddim. “Diseases” is notably utilized in Yellowman’s hit song “”Zungguzungguguzungguzeng”, which has in turn has been sampled and reinterpreted by a long list of popular hip hop artists including KRS-One, The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur and Blackstar. This constant reinterpretation and referencing has made Ellis a major but little-known influence in the trajectory of dancehall, reggae and hip hop.[12]
Ellis continued to be active on the reggae scene until his health began to deteriorate.[13] His latest works include performing all over Europe with a French backing-band called ASPO (About Some Precioux Oldies) at the beginning of the 21st century. Recorded in Bordeaux, France, Live with Aspo: Workin’ on a Groovy Thing is the only live album Alton Ellis ever published (2001).
In 2004, Ellis was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government in recognition of his achievements.[7]
In December 2007, he was admitted to hospital in London for treatment of cancer of the lymph glands, but he returned to live performance after receiving chemotherapy.[2][14]
Ellis died on 10 October 2008 at Hammersmith Hospital, west London, of cancer.[15] His death prompted a statement from Jamaica’s Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, who said “even as we mourn the great Alton Ellis, we must give thanks for his monumental contribution to the development of Jamaica’s popular music”.[16] A funeral service and celebration of his life was held on the 3rd of November, attended by family, fans, music industry personnel and government ministers, with tribute performances from stars including Winston ‘Fix It’ Francis, Tinga Stewart, George Nooks, Tony Gregory, Ken Boothe, Judy Mowatt and Carlene Davis.[17]
He was the older brother of the late Hortense Ellis, and the father of more than twenty children including Noel Ellis and Christopher Ellis, who are both reggae singers.[2]
[edit]Discography

[edit]Albums
Mr Soul of Jamaica (Treasure Isle, 1967)
Sings Rock and Soul (Studio One, 1967)
The Best Of (Coxsone, 1969)
Sunday Coming (Coxsone, 1970)
Greatest Hits (Count Shelly, 1973)
Later released as Cry Tough (Heartbeat, 1993)
Still in Love (Horse, 1977)
A Love to Share (Third World, 1979)
Showcase (Studio One, 1984)
Slummin’ (Abraham, 198?)
A New Day (Body Music, 1983)
Daydreaming (Silver Camel, 1983)
25th Silver Jubilee (Sky Note, 1984)
Continuation (All Tone, 1985)
Jubilee Volume 2 (Sky Note, 1985)
Here I Am (Angella, 1988)
Family Vibes (All Tone, 1992)
Man From Studio One (All Tone, 1994)
Change My Mind (Orchard, 2000)
More Alton Ellis (T.P., 2001)
Live with Aspo: Workin’ on a Groovy Thing (Belleville International/Patate Records, 2001)
With the Heptones
Mr Ska Bean’a (Cha Cha, 1981)
Alton Ellis Sings, Heptones Harmonise (1978–80) (Jet Star, 19??)
With Hortense Ellis
Alton & Hortense Ellis at Studio 1 (Heartbeat, 1990)
[edit]Compilations
All My Tears (1965–68) (Brook, 2006)
Arise Black Man (1968–78) (Moll Selekta, 19??)
Be True to Yourself (196?-7?) (Trojan, 2004)
Get Ready for Rock Reggae Steady (1967–74) (Jamaican Gold, 1999)
Many Moods of Alton Ellis (1978–80) (Tele-Tech, 1980)
My Time Is the Right Time (1966–71) (Westside, 2000)
Reggae Valley of Decision (197X) (House of Reggae, 1996)
Soul Groover (Trojan, 1997)
Reggae Max (Jet Star, 1997)
The Duke Reid Collection (Rhino, 1999)
Soul of Jamaica (Bianco, 2001)
It Hurts Me So (Essential Gold, 2006)
Reggae Chronicles (Hallmark, 2006)
Muriel (All Tone, 2007)

The Skatalites

Reggae/ska band

The Skatalites. © David Corio, MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES/Venice, CA

The Skatalites. © David Corio, MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES/Venice, CA

Although many people today would associate ska with bands like The Specials, The English Beat, and Crawdaddy, it was actually The Skatalites, formed in 1963, that pioneered this musical sound. Lasting only 14 months after their original inception, this ground-breaking band has made some major comebacks. In 1984 they performed at The Reggae Sunsplash Festival in London and released the album Return of the Big Guns that same year. More recently, The Skatalites have composed two more albums accompanied with live performances. The 1990s marked the group’s fourth decade together, during which they have gained wide-spread popularity since their reunion. In an effort to meet the demand for their colorful, electrifying shows, The Skatalites continue to tour year round.

“When I came back to Jamaica in 1962, there was this tune there, ‘Schooling the Duke.’ lt was tearing down the airwaves,” recalled original Skatalites leader Tommy McCook in a 1984 interview with David Rodigan of Capital Radio London. He was impressed by the jazzy sounds of Johnny “Dizzy” Moore and Don Drummond, who both played on the tune. A jazz musician himself, McCook was peforming one night when he was approached by Moore and Drummond and asked to record with them. McCook initially refused but eventually joined the band that would later become The Skatalites.

During the 1960s, members of the band were heavily involved with recording sessions in Jamaica. They are also credited with inspiring the Britsh two-tone movement of the late seventies and early eighties. While recording primarily for producer Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd of Studio One, they performed with other acts such as the Charms, the Maytals, the Wailers, and the Heptanes.

The Last Gig

Although band members continued to perform with other artists, The Skatalites officially broke up in the summer of 1965. “Our last gig was at the Runaway Bay Hotel, Police Dance,” one Skatalite remembered in the 1984 interview. However, a new band, Soul Vendors, was subsequently formed and included the likes of Johnny Moore, Jackie Mittoo, Lloyd Brevette, and Bunny Williams.

Tragedy struck the band on May 6, 1969, when one of the founding Skatalites members, Don Drummond, died mysteriously while in a mental hospital. He had been plagued with mental problems for years, which perhaps influenced his music. “He was great, the sounds he produced,” commented McCook in his interview with Rodigan. “And the way he played his horn…would make you wonder you know…it was all so moonfull, sometimes you could cry inside.” McCook also suggested that Drummond’s death involved foul play—possibly as the result of a 1965 incident in which Drummond, in an angry rage, stabbed his girlfriend Marguerita to death. She was the daughter of an alleged mafia family.

Drummond’s Music Lives On

Drummond had written some songs that were posthumously recorded, allowing his music to survive. McCook acquired the compositions after one bandmember collected them during Drummond’s arrest. For years he retained the music as a memory, but McCook eventually decided to record it. “I took the music…to the piano,” he told Rodigan, ” and started to put the changes to it and things like that and it came out nice.” Before his death, Drummond had won several jazz trombonist awards.

One of the first Jamaican acts to sign with Island records, The Skatalites reached the British Top 40 with “Guns of Navarone” in 1967. The same year the Skatalites ceased recording under that name, although most members remained involved in Jamaican music. Some pursued solo careers, while others moved to England and became session musicians. One member, Rico Rodriguez, played horns on The Specials self-titled debut album in 1979, which incidentally was produced by the legendary Elvis Costello.

“Synergy” Reunited the Band

But it was “synergy” that reunited the band, as McCook declared to Rodigan. Playing for a whole new generation, The Skatalites released Ska Voovee in 1993, which contained 11 new instrumental songs, including a tribute to Drummond called “The Don,” featuring his replacement in the band, jazz trombonist Steve Turre. Reunited band members include Tommy McCook, Ron Wilson, Lester Sterling, Lloyd Knibbs, and Lloyd Brevette. According to Geoffrey Himes of theWashington Post, “The two Lloyds once again serve up the push-and-pull rhythms—with their emphasis on the off-beat—that first defined ska as something different from North American R&B and set the stage for reggae.” This “off-beat” sound has influenced the music of many modern artists, who have sampled Skatalites rhythms to blend with their own.

Although The Skatalites defined the ska sound in the 1960s, most of the original members began their careers as jazz musicians, and with the 1994 release of Hi-Bop Ska, the band seems to have come full circle. The founding members “at the core of this reformed ensemble reaffirm their jazz roots in vibrant style here,” opined Down Beat‘s Larry Birnbaum. “New compositions blend easily with classics like ‘Guns of Navarone’ and ‘Man in the Street.'” In 1995 McCook suffered a heart attack and was forced to take a hiatus from his busy touring schedule. But this didn’t prevent him from returning to the studio to record 1996’s Greetings from Skamania. A biography released by Shanachie Entertainment asserted that the result of this effort is “a lava-hot album that exemplifies the best the Skatalites have to offer. Pounding ska beats and blistering jazz solos blend seamlessly together to create an album that feels simultaneously cutting-edge fresh and tempered-steel classic. Greetings from Skamania!”

For the Record .. .

Members include Roland Alphonso, tenor sax; Gladstone Anderson, keyboards; Theophilus Beckford, keyboards; Lloyd Brevette, bass; Baba Brooks, trumpet; Karl Bryan, alto sax;Drumbago, drums; Don Drummond (d. May 6, 1969), trombone; Bobby Ellis, trumpet;Raymond Harper, trumpet; Jah Jerry (b. Jerome Hines), guitar; Hugh Malcolm, drums; Tommy McCook, trumpet, tenor sax; Jackie Mittoo (d. 1988), keyboards; Johnny “Dizzy” Moore,fluegelhorn, trumpet; Lloyd Nibbs, bass, percussions; Ernest Ranglin, guitar; Rico Rodriguez,trombone; Lester Sterling, alto sax.

Group formed in 1963 in Jamaica; released Ska Authentic in 1963; disbanded 1965; reunited 1983, 1993; signed with Shanachie c. 1983; credited with inspiring the British two-tone movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Addresses: Business agent—Abby Hoffer Enterprises, 223½ E. 48th St., New York, NY 10017. Fan club— PO Box 391079, Cambridge, MA 02139-1079.

Selected discography

Ska Authentic, Studio One, 1963.

Legendary Skatalites, Top Ranking, 1975.

African Roots, United Artists, 1977.

Scattered Lights, Aligator, 1984.

Ska Voovee, Shanachie, 1993.

Hi-Bop Ska, Shanachie, 1994.

Greetings from Skamania, Shanachie, 1996.

Sources

Books

Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, edited by Jon Pareles, Rolling Stone Press/Summit Books, 1983.

Periodicals

Down Beat, June 1995.

Washington Post, March 4, 1994.

Online

The Boston Ska Home Page: http//www.dataweb.nl/~vanbreda/Skatalites.HTML.

Additional information was obtained from Shanachie Entertainment press materials, 1996.

Maria L. Munoz

The Toasters

The Toasters was one of the first American bands in the third wave of ska, and is one of the longest active third wave ska bands.
They have released nine studio albums, most of them on Moon Ska Records. The Toasters experienced a small degree of commercial success in the late 1990s due to the popularity of third wave ska in North America. Their song “Two-Tone Army” is also the theme song for the Nickelodeon show KaBlam! (credited as the Moon Ska Stompers) and they recorded background music in many TV commercials, including for America Online and Coca-Cola. Their song “Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down” appeared in the pilot episode of the animated series Mission Hill. They still perform around the world, and in 2007 they celebrated their 25th Anniversary with a new studio album, One More Bullet.

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Skarmageddon

For the ska scene, the spectacular two-CD compilation Skarmageddon was proof positive that the third wave had swept across every corner of the country, and held out hope of it finally washing out into the mainstream. With zero interest from the majors, little hope of airplay outside one’s own locale, and only the brave (and foolhardy) touring the underbelly of clubs outside their region, only rumor and fanzines gave hint to what was happening elsewhere. Skarmageddon would change all that, helping to pull together a disparate scene and present a united face to the larger world. It was, however, not a partially representative selection of bands, nor was it by any means a best-of-the-scene compilation, although some extremely good bands can be found within. Instead it’s a snapshot of the times, intended as a leg up for bands that hadn’t yet or were just beginning to make an impact. Two years earlier, in 1992, Moon Ska had released the seminal California Ska-Quake set. No encores for those bands, however, as a new crew of two would now represent the Golden State.Those Mid-Westerners that had featured on Jump Up’s equally crucial 1993 American Skathiccompilation were luckier. Several would be picked up by Moon for Skarmageddon. And so the set trawled the States, pulling in bands from as far afield as Seattle, Portland, Maine, and Tampa, FL, with even a stray Canadian managing to sneak over the border and onto the set. Thirty-one bands in all, together providing a perfect primer for the vast variety of sounds to be found around the scene. And although the majority of the groups are 2 Tone-based (this is a Moon release after all), there’s plenty of spatters of skacore and trad to give a fair shake to the entire third wave scene. For some groups this was just the beginning, with a good number going on to then release stellar albums off the back of their performances here. For others, notably Agent 99, it was to prove to be their swan songs. Not a complete overview of ska circa 1994, but a thrilling ride through what was on offer, nonetheless, and remains a must-have set for every pork-pie-hatted fan. by Jo-Ann Greene