He started as a calypso singer in Trinidad under the stage name Lord Creator & recorded his first hits, “The Cockhead” & “Evening News”, in Trinidad in 1958 & 1959 respectively with Fitz Vaughan Bryan’s big band. Due to the success of his hit “Evening News” which was released in Trinidad on the Cook label and also in the UK on the Melodisc label, he moved to Jamaica in the late 1959 to perform & record & decided to settle there. In 1962, he recorded “Independent Jamaica” with producer Vincent “Randy” Chin, which became the official song marking Jamaica’s independence from the British Empire on 6 August 1962. That song was also the first record on Chris Blackwell’s newly founded Island Records label in the UK. In 1963, “Don’t Stay Out Late”, produced by Chin, became a hit in Jamaica.

Vinyl LP available in store & online.

Born OTD in 1934, Gladstone ‘Gladdy’ Anderson. “Gladdy”, was a Jamaican pianist, keyboard player, and singer, who played a major part in the island’s musical history, playing a key role in defining the ska sound and the rocksteady beat, and playing on hundreds of recordings as a session musician, a solo artist, and as leader of Gladdy’s All Stars.

“..And I hear Gladdy Anderson who was on piano say, ‘this one rock steady, you know. This one a rock … More

Follow up to the Reggae Girl compilation Germany’s Grover Supreme issued a year or so back, covering similar vintage “boss reggae” vocals and instumentals from the late sixties produced by A. G. Murphy. A definite scorcher from The Tennors – a set that’s overflowing with soulful harmonies from the rocksteady trio – and which also includes a few cuts by choice contemporaries as well!

The rhythms here are in the best late 60s Kingston modes – plenty of pre-reggae soulful sounds from Jamaica, with … More

Fantastic gems in the shuffle, blues and ballad style from the early years of Studio One and Jamaican music. An amazing double LP package of titles, both well known and obscure, produced by Coxsone Dodd between 1960 and 1962. Includes such classics as Theo Beckford’s Easy Snapping, Alton (Ellis) and Eddie (Perkins) Muriel, Owen Gray’s On The Beach, Don Drummond’s This Man Is Back and many, many more from the foundation artists at Studio One.

The late 50’s and early 60’s witnessed the rise of the Jamaican record producer, of whom none were more popular … More

Another classic album release from Sunspot. This one originally appeared on Trojan’s High Note subsidiary set up to license the productions of Sonia Pottinger. The Hippy Boys were a studio band comprising of the Barrett Brothers, later of The Upsetters and The Wailers celebrated bass & Drum axis, supplemented by keyboardist Glen Adams and guitarist Reggae Alva Lewis. This instrumental album showcases the typical reggae sound of the day and includes perhaps the groups most celebrated single track as The Hippy Boys; Reggae Pressure, retitled inexplicably on this album as Spicy.

New vinyl LP available in store and online.

Born OTD in 1947, Neville O’Riley Livingston, AKA Bunny Wailer. Jamaican singer songwriter, percussionist and was an original member of The Wailing Wailers. “The sufferation singles of that time threw up some true classics: Horace Andy’s ‘Skylarking’ was about the perils of a hardcore, unemployed sub-working-class; The Maytals’ ‘Time Tough’, subtly juxtaposed slavery with current hardships; Bunny Wailer’s ‘Arab Oil Weapon’ pulled few punches…”

The first major account of the history of reggae, black music journalist Lloyd Bradley describes its origins and development in … More

In a music world that was rougher than rough, where men took monikers of royalty & machismo like Duke & King & Lord; where boastful ringleaders fired guns into the air after descending a throne carried by their legions of followers, bandoliers crisscrossing their chests, ermine on their shoulders; where violent gangs stormed dances to “mash up,” breaking sound system equipment & smashing bottles of beer on brick walls, how was a little girl with a sweet song in her soul to have a chance? Some Jamaican women found a way. They endured harassment & received little or no pay to perform as backup or alongside or in front of the male musicians.

They sacrificed family & home for a life in the spotlight, or they brought their babies with them on the … 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