Ska was the name given to the music that came out of Jamaica between 1961 and ’66, based on the American R&B and doo-wop records that the sound systems in Kingston used to play. But the American records’ style started to mellow out while the Jamaicans preferred a more upbeat sound. So the sound system bosses became record producers to cater to this demand. Sir Coxsone Dodd and Duke Reid led the way, putting the top musicians on the island in the studio to make music, with the emphasis on the offbeat making the music unmistakably Jamaican.

WIRL (West Indies Records Limited) was set up by the Jamaican politician Edward Seaga in the late 1950s. He had … More

Whilst DJing, I was playing some of The Skatalites records and someone came up and said to me, “Can’t you play any ska?” I replied I am, they’re called The Skatalites… Yet another Don D. Special album with complete saxaphone and trombone harmony. Drummond, McCook and Alfonso at their very best.

Faithful reproduction of the original 1969 Treasure Isle collection featuring 12 prime slices of The Skatalites at their finest , … More

Back in stock after a long abscence, Heather Augustyn’s fabulous biography of Don Drummond. This is a comprehensive biography of a brilliant musician and his lover who forever shaped the course of ska, reggae, and popular music worldwide despite poverty, class separation, mental illness, racial politics, exploitation, and sexism that resulted in murder. Through the words of Don Drummond’s childhood friends, classmates, musicians, medical staff, legal counsel, and teachers, comes a first-hand story of his “unusual mind.”

They recall the early days in the recording studio, playing the instrumental backup for Bob Marley and others, and the … More

Born OTD in 1932, founding member of The Skatalites, Don Drummond. “Drummond entered Alpha Boy’s School when he was 9 years old… He demonstrated incredible proficiency on the trombone, a difficult instrument to master, and even at his young age during his school years, Drummond began to compose his own music”.

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass … More