The legendary Okeh Records needs little introduction to soul music fans around the world. It has been relentlessly plundered and treasured for its slue of Northern Soul classics produced by A&R manager Carl Davis and his songwriter Curtis Mayfield during the “soul years” 1963-70. However, the imprint was originally launched 100 years ago in 1918 by Otto K. E. Heinemann who had already established a recording studio and pressing plant in New York City. The label name was derived from Heinemann’s initials O.K.E.H. From the very early years, Okeh issued records for minority audiences, such as its foreign language music, field recordings and Dixieland jazz.

But perhaps the most significant recording was “That Thing Called Love” by Mamie Smith in 1920, the first ever by … More

The Rude Boy moniker has its roots firmly set in the downtown districts of Kingston, Jamaica. Alongside the regular Ska/ Rocksteady sounds coming out of the sound systems, there was an undercurrent theme to some songs that spoke of the struggles of the youth, of their confrontation, arrests and run-ins with the establishment. Some of these songs praised the Rude Boys for their stance and style while other songs were more in contempt with the rude boy’s attitudes, comings, goings and violent behaviour. Some of the runnings that did not help their standing with their elders’ was that not only did they get employed by sound system operators to help keep their dance safe but also to disrupt competitors dances, a job that also gave them the name dancehall crasher. Where music leads fashion is never far behind and the rude boys were no exception. The look favoured, sharp suits, thin ties, pork pie or Trilby hats and stylish shoes.

The British not only took on the music, but also the look of the rude boy as the styles moved … More