You must have wondered how it all began with the Jamaican beat music called Ska. Let’s set the records straight, it was “Duke” Reid from Western Kingston who developed this beat based on the indigenous music of Jamaica. It was way back in 1952 and then “Duke” called it ‘Rhythm ‘n Blues’. Exciting, hypnotic, a mixture of Jamaican folk music and rock ‘n roll. Duke Reid, lover of music and the deep rolling rhythms of his Jamaican people heard the beat develop from watching his people dance.

He got himself an amplified “Sound system” and while hiring it out for dances, he listened and he watched, on … More

Born OTD in 1940, Jamaican musical artist popular in the 1960s and 1970s, Derrick Morgan. In 1959, Morgan entered the recording studio for the first time. Duke Reid, the sound system boss, was looking for talent to record for his Treasure Isle record label. Morgan cut two popular shuffle-boogie sides “Lover Boy”, a.k.a. “S-Corner Rock”, and “Oh My”. Soon after, Morgan cut the bolero-tinged boogie “Fat Man”, which also became a hit. He also found time to record for Coxsone Dodd. In 1960 Morgan became the only artist ever to fill the places from one to seven on the Jamaican pop chart simultaneously.

Secret records are releasing a compilation of early tracks from the only artist ever to fill the places from one … More

Jamaican love songs always came across as heartfelt poetry whether they conveyed a broken heart, unrequited love or even the message, “it’s all over don’t bother to come back” anecdotes. But whatever the mood the singers of these songs were so good and versatile that putting such subject matter over in a few verses was always so moving and believable. Jamaican love songs were a constant in the ever-evolving sounds and journey that reggae music took its listeners on, from ska to rocksteady to the early reggae sounds of the late 1960s early 1970s.

Kingston Sounds have complied a great selection of songs that all deal with that timeless subject matter. New vinyl LP … More

Born OTD in 1932, Jamaican ska trombonist, composer & founding member of The Skatalites, Don Drummond. This is a comprehensive biography of a brilliant musician & his lover who forever shaped the course of ska, reggae, & popular music worldwide despite poverty, class separation, mental illness, racial politics, exploitation, & sexism that resulted in murder. Through the words of Drummond’s childhood friends, classmates, musicians, medical staff, legal counsel, & 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 & others, & the nights in the Rasta camps where musicians burned the midnight oil & more.

They roam the halls of the primitive and haunting mental hospitals; remember the gyrations of his lover, Margarita, the Rumba … More

Orange Street has a mystical place in Reggae’s history. Set in the heart of downtown Kingston, Jamaica. Even to this day it stands somehow locked in time and space. The beat of the music ever changing and evolving. As politics, religion even the weather effect its course one thing remains a constant, Orange Street is central to the islands musical story. The Ska era of Jamaica’s sound time has told us can be dated from around 1962 to late 1966.

The instigators being the big three producers of this period, Clement Coxonne Dodd, Prince Buster and Duke Reid. Prince Busters … More

Born OTD in 1936, Lester “Ska” Sterling, AKA, Mr. Versatile. Like many Jamaican musicians of his generation, Sterling attended the Alpha Boys School. Sterling is a founding member of The Skatalites (playing alto saxophone), one of only two (the other is Doreen Shaffer) still alive. After The Skatalites originally disbanded in 1965, Sterling played with Byron Lee & the Dragonaires and recorded several solo singles for the London-based producer “Sir” Clancy Collins. His debut solo album, Bangarang, was released on Pama Records in 1969.

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

Some extremely good goodies to be found here in this 7” box-set by Treasure Isle, in which the catalogue is raided for amazing recordings that, for one reason or another have never been released before despite featuring some of the finest artists in the game. Ten 7’s, housed in a lovely box with an intriguing essay to provide context.

Ten 7″ discs comprising previously unreleased cuts and rare alternate versions of 20 killer ska tracks, direct from the vaults … More

Born on the 12 January 1931, Jamaican tenor saxophonist, and one of the founding members of The Skatalites, Roland Alphonso. In 1948 he left school to join Eric Deans’ orchestra and soon passed through other bands in the hotel circuit and first recorded as a member of Stanley Motta’s group in 1952, going on to record frequently as a session musician. In 1956 he first recorded for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, although these early recordings were lost before they were mastered.

When the Skatalites disbanded by August 1965, Alphonso formed the Soul Brothers (with Johnny “Dizzy” Moore, and Jackie Mittoo) to … More

Trinidad born legendary guitarist, Lynn Taitt, who brought the first wave of Rocksteady to the Island, and Gladdy Anderson who is well known as a Skatalites’ pianist, got together to record this Rocksteady instrumental album ‘Glad Sounds’ at Federal Studio in 1968. Released from the Merritone label, which was managed under Federal, the album depicts the heyday and best sound of Rocksteady as well as the label itself. This album is for the first time reissued by Dub Store Records.

The album tracks consist mainly of cover versions of popular tracks, which were produced by Coxsone Dodd, Bunny Lee and … More