It took years for ska music to become an overnight success. When tunes like ‘My Boy Lollipop’ hit the airwaves in Britain in the sixties, most listeners assumed that the odd and addictive back-to-front beat was something dreamed up in the studio the month before. Some realised that the music had connections with Jamaica, but few people knew that the genre had been gestating for some years. The music owed some debt to Jamaica’s indigenous folk music, mento, but the strongest, most obvious ingredient of ska was American r&b. By the close of the 1950s the advent of record pressing facilities on the island had enabled records to be manufactured, without sending tapes to Britain and waiting for records to be shipped back. A number of enterprising Jamaicans began to supervise recording session and released the results on their own labels.
Compiled by specialist black music writer Mike Atherton (Record Collector, Echoes), Youths Boogie portrays the popular music of Jamaica in the period 1959 to 1962, before it became formally known as ska, but by which time most of the characteristics of ska were present and correct, alongside the influences of American r&b. Disc One showcases the productions of Chris Blackwell, a white Jamaican who ran the local R&B and Island labels, before moving his operation to Britain, and Duke Reid, who ran the Trojan sound system, and issued many of his productions on the Duke Reid’s label, before founding the famous Treasure Isle label in the sixties. Disc Two looks at the productions of other individuals like Simeon Smith, Charlie Moo, Dada Tewari, Byron Lee, Roy Robinson, Vincent Chin and the London-based Sonny Roberts, who were all vying to make names for themselves.
Taking its name from a Rico instrumental, Youths Boogie features the work of male solo artists like Laurel Aitken, Owen Gray, Derrick Morgan, Wilfred “Jackie” Edwards, groups such as Derrick Harriott’s Jiving Juniors and the Blues Busters, male/female duos Derrick & Patsy, Roy & Millie, and Keith & End, as well as a rare (for this era) solo female outing by Hortense Ellis. Tracks by Charlie Babcock, Al T Joe and Lloyd Williams are making their debut on CD. As well as Mike’s notes, the 20pp booklet features a wealth of Jamaican and British label shots.
(added: 2013-06-20 14:50:58 )