Monday, October 21, 2013

Slim Smith

Smith first came to prominence as a member of the Victors Youth Band, who were highly praised at the 1964 Jamaican Festival. He subsequently became a founding member and lead vocalist of The Techniques, who recorded primarily with Duke Reid for his Treasure Isle label. In 1964 they recorded several songs for Byron Lee, two of which, "Don't Do It" and "No One", were included on the "The Real Jamaica Ska" LP released by Epic Records and co-produced by Curtis Mayfield. After the Techniques disbanded in 1965, he formed The Uniques, who released a handful of singles.
In 1969 Slim Smith commenced recording for Prince Buster and Coxsone Dodd's Studio One label, the main rival to Duke Reid. His Studio One recordings brilliantly highlight his passionate, soulful voice, which had an almost manic edge, and confirm him as one of Jamaica's greatest singers. His hits from this period include "The New Boss", "Hip Hug" and "Rougher Yet", many of which were later compiled for the album Born To Love. In 1967 he formed a new version of The Uniques, and commenced his association with producer Bunny Lee. They topped the Jamaican hit parade with "Let Me Go Girl", but after recording one album, Absolutely The Uniques, Smith left the group, staying with Lee to concentrate on a solo career.
He had a hit almost immediately with "Everybody Needs Love". An album of the same name quickly followed, as did many further hits. By 1972 personal problems led to him being detained at Bellevue sanatorium.
Smith died in 1973. Unable to gain entry to his parents' house, he broke a window, badly lacerating his arm. He bled to death before he could receive treatment. His death stunned Jamaica. Still widely regarded as one of Jamaica's great vocalists, his enduring popularity has resulted in the reissue of the bulk of his work.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Byron Lee and the Dragonaires (known as Byron Lee's Dragonaires since Lee's death) are a Jamaican ska, calypso and soca band. The band played a crucial pioneering role in bringing Caribbean music to the world. Byron Lee died on 4 November 2008, after a long battle with cancer.

The band was originally formed around 1950 by Byron Lee and his friend Carl Brady, taking its name from the St. George's College football team that they played for. The band originally played mento, and performed their first shows in the college common room to celebrate the team's victories. After a few years of playing at parties, birthdays and weddings, Lee decided to turn professional. By 1956, the Dragonaires had become a fixture on Jamaica's hotel circuit, playing under their own name and also providing backing to visiting American stars including Harry Belafonte, Chuck Berry, The Drifters, Sam Cooke, and Fats Domino. The Dragonaires prided themselves on being able to play any style of music, their repertoire including covers of American pop and R&B hits, and they soon adapted to include ska when that became popular.

The band recorded their debut single, "Dumplin's", in 1959 at the WIRL studios owned by future Prime Minister Edward Seaga, who would also become the band's manager. The single was released on the Dragonaire's own Dragon's Breath label in Jamaica, and was the second release on the Blue Beat label in the United Kingdom, and was unusual for a Jamaican single as it featured an electric organ and a Fender bass which Lee had purchased during a visit to the United States - the first such instruments ever seen on the island. Lee and Seaga both realised that ska was the music to provide Jamaica with a musical identity that could break the domination of American R&B, and the Dragonaires became one of the major ska bands of the early 1960s, releasing singles such as "Fireflies", "Mash! Mr Lee", "Joy Ride", and a ska version of "Over the Rainbow", both under their own name, and as The Ska Kings. In 1961, the band received a huge break when they were cast as the hotel band in the first James Bond film, Dr. No. The band performed several songs in the film, although the recordings were actually made by guitarist Ernest Ranglin.

The band received another major boost when they were selected by Seaga, then the island's head of Social Welfare and Economic Development, in 1964 to travel to the New York World's Fair and perform as a backing band for a showcase of Jamaican talent, including Jimmy Cliff, Prince Buster, and Millie Small. The trip was not a great success, with the Dragonaires' "uptown" musicians not fitting in with the other "downtown" artists. Realising that their appeal to ska crowds was diminishing, Lee took the band in a new direction, incorporating calypso and touring Trinidad & Tobago in 1963 and 1964. Lee's relationship with Atlantic Records (he acted as head of distribution for the US company in Jamaica) led to the label releasing Dragonaires records in the US, including two albums timed to capitalise on interest generated from the World's Fair performances, Jump Up and Jamaican Ska (on which the Dragonaires backed the likes of The Blues Busters, The Charmers, The Maytals, Stranger Cole, Ken Boothe, and Patsy Todd). The band also targeted the international rocksteady market with albums of mainly cover versions such as Rock Steady Beat and Rock Steady '67. Further, Atlantic Records tried to push the album Jamaican Ska by using house producer and sound engineer Tom Dowd, who produced all of Aretha Franklin's greatest singles, to produce the album. In addition, the Dragonaires were renamed as "The Ska Kings" on the album. Unfortunately, despite Atlantic's best efforts, Jamaican Skafailed to take off in the United States, although the record "Jamaica Ska" became a Top 30 single in Canada.

Lee bought the WIRL studios from Seaga and turned into Dynamic Sounds Recording Co., where the Dragonaires naturally recorded, using the superior facilities to record a string of well-produced albums during the late 1960s and early 1970s, often containing cover versions aimed at tourists, and they went on to record a series of "Reggay"-titled albums in the early 1970s.

The WIRL name had remained with its division in Barbados and had remained the ever-popular brand of Bajan music until 1995, when it changed its name to E.A. Best Music Ltd, and eventually to its current name, Caribbean Records - still the major record company and distributor of Barbados. Back in Jamaica, Dynamic had become a bigger force than ever before, investing in presenting more of Jamaica's talent to vinyl, including Toots & the Maytals, Eric Donaldson, John Holt, Barry Biggs, Freddie McKay, Tommy McCook, and Max Romeo, issued on imprints such as Jaguar, Panther, Afrik, and Dragon.

In 1974, the band played at Trinidad & Tobago's carnival for the first of many times, and the same year they released the Carnival in Trinidad album. They would release both reggae and carnival-oriented albums throughout the 1970s, and in 1975 took in another genre with the Disco Reggae album, released on Mercury Records in the US.

The band played at the Reggae Sunsplash festival in both 1978 and 1979, and were one one of the main backing bands in 1982. They would also appear in 1984 and 1990.
From 1979, the Dragonaires output was heavily concentrated on calypso, soca, and mas, regularly performing at Trinidad & Tobago's carnival, and also touring the Caribbean and North America.Throughout the 1990s they were also regulars at Jamaica's carnival, and their "Dance Hall Soca" hit (recorded with Admiral Bailey) was credited with starting the ragga-soca craze of the late 1990s.
The band continue to tour, recently performing with Kevin Lyttle at the Cricket World Cup 2007 opening ceremony.
Byron Lee died on 4 November 2008, aged 73, from cancer.
The band has continued since Lee's death, with the name slightly altered to Byron Lee's Dragonaires.


Born and raised by Jamaican parents in London (UK), Alpheus developed a passion for singing after seeing Sam Cooke perform on television and performing on local sound systems in London as a youth.

Alpheus met Tony Brevett of the famed vocal rocksteady group The Melodians whilst he was living in Florida, USA. Mr. Brevett took Alpheus to the legendary Clement Dodd and his great STUDIO ONE Label where he recorded his debut album Quality Time, in 1998. On some of those classic Studio One rhythms.

He went on to sing a second very good more contemporary reggae album Everything for a reason, a few years ago with Special delivery label - France.

In 2011, Alpheus embarks with the release of his NEW album on January 18th 2011 entitled From Creation on A-Lone Label (Lone Ark Production). This is a great album which consists of stunning re-creations as well as original compositions of authentically made ska and roots rocksteady.

Produced by the talented Roberto Sanchez of A-Lone Label, a label and band that has built a good reputation for producing quality 70’s style reggae music and now this great ska and rocksteady work.

Track List

Nothing Can Stop You
Let's Take The Vows
Quality Time
Mother & Father
Jealous People
Love Games
Secret Admirer
Aqual Rights
Mrs. Rights
Running From My Love
We Shouldn't Have To See This
I See You Through My Window
Bad Bwoy
It's You Alone

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Horace Swaby (June 21, 1954 – May 18, 1999), known as Augustus Pablo, was a Jamaican roots reggae and dub record producer, melodica player and keyboardist, active from the 1970s onwards.

He popularized the use of the melodica (an instrument at that time primarily used in Jamaica to teach music to schoolchildren) in reggae music. His album King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown (1976) is often regarded as one of the most important examples of dub.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


01 Delroy Wilson - I shall not remove
02 Gregory Isaacs -Native Woman
03 Jacob Miller - I Shall Be Released
04 the gaylads - joy in the morning
05 john_holt-in_the_springtime
06 Ken Parker -  My Whole World Is Falling Down
07 Alton Ellis -  i am still in love
08 Derrick Harriot - The Loser
09 Jackie Mittoo -  Ram Jam
10 - Boris Gardiner -  News Flash
11 - Sounds Unlimited - Road Runner
12  Jackie Opel - Till the end of time
13 The Jamaicans -  Ba Ba Boom
14 Joe Gibbs -  The Reggae Train


01. Barrington Spence - i'm a stranger
02 - Pioneers - Miss Eve
03 -  Freddie Notes & The rudies - Melting Pot
04- Delroy Wilson - Cant you see
05. Dennis Brown - no man is an island
06 - Alton Ellis - play it cool
07- Freddie McKay -  I'm A Free Man
08- Gregory Isaacs - Let,s Dance
09 - Creations - Mix Up Girl
10 - Earth & Stone - Dance Crasher
11-  alton ellis and the flames - shake it
12-  slim smith - the new boss
13-  soul vendors - swing easy
14- Delano Steward - That's Life



1. skoidats - skinhead revolt
2. hepcats - dance wid me
3. rueben anderson - ambition of men
4. the aggrolites - free time
5. derrick morgan - no raise no praise
6. baba brooks band - watermelon man
7. byron lee & the dragoinare - sammy dead
8. laurel aitken - bad minded woman
9. freddy loco and the satelites - skabobodibop
10. the techniques - run come celebrate
11. byron lee & the dragoinares - oil in my lamp
12. the dendrites - breeze of west
13. kevin batchelor - blues
14. pressure - stir it up
15. Freetown - skinhead girl
16. the aggrolites - reggae hit l.a
17. bull de rayebia
18. byron lee & the dragoinares - frankenstein
19. skaravan

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ska and Jamaican Beat Compilation Vol 2

1 Laurel Aitken - Roll Jordan Roll
2 The Upsetters - So Bad
3. Hepcat -shalala
4 The Aggrolites - free time
5 The Regulators - Sugar Sugar
6 Westbound Train -  Please forgive me mr
7 TSPO - pride of lions
8 The Selecter - On My Radio
9 Mule Train - Bazra Ahead
10 Count Owen - Coolie Gal
11 Derrick Morgan - Don't Call Me Daddy
12 Broadway Jungle
13  The Melodians I'll Get Along Without You
14 Westbound train - I Feel Fine
15  Two Tone Club - King of Dancehall
16 Mr. Review - Everyday, Another Day
17 Hepcat - Earth Quake & Fire
18. Alpha Boy School - highnoon_ska