Back when I was working as a record buyer in a Greenwich Village store, I thought I had a pretty good handle on the steady influx of cool reggae/dub/ska reissues thanks to Blood and Fire, Heartbeat, Trojan, etc. who released classic reissues at a regular rate, even in the days when Soul Jazz hadn't started pumping out its monumental slab of cool redux packages. Then, Coxsone Dodd, the legendary proprietor of the Studio One empire (and who lived and continued to sell records here in NYC until his death some years ago), would pull up in his van and invite us to scrounge around at the boxes of vinyl he brought to sell to the store, and you just realized that the surface hadn't even been scratched in terms of the massive amount of Jamaican music that hadn't even reached public mass consciousness. Thankfully, all these reissue labels mentioned and more continue to stream great sounds out, and recently our own Mr. Friday Morn, Doug Schulkind was sent a huge amount of obscure/rare tracks on MP3 from Norwegian listener Hugo for our library. Doug reports that this muthaload itself is going to take ages to get through in terms of listening, but he kindly offers up five great tracks he's unearthed so far to share with us. Click below and soak 'em up! Thanks, Doug, Hugo!
Solomon Jones "Wake Up In the Sunshine" (MP3) Released in 1970 on Bullet, a subsidiary of British reggae label Pama. Produced by Derrick Morgan. Can't find any other info on this one.
Roy and the Invaders "Fat Dog" (MP3) Released in 1972 on Coxsone Dodd's Studio One side label Iron Side. This is the instrumental version of Roy and the Invaders' "Maga Dog" which was a cover of Peter Tosh's tune of the same name (produced by Joe Gibbs). "Maga" Is patois for skinny or mangy. The boice heard is that of Larry Marshall.
Lascelles and Dimples "Love Or Be Loved" (MP3) Lascelles Perkins and Shirley "Dimples" Smith were one of a number of moderately successful firl duo acts produced by Coxsone Dodd. This track features the lush and lovely saxophone of Skatalites sideman Roland Alphonso. Not sure when this was released, but another Lascelles and Dimples track "Mighty Organ" featuring trombone legend Don Drummond came out in 1961.
Claris Brown "Where the Healing Water Flows" (MP3) Released in 1966 on Coxsone Dodd's gospel label Tabernacle. The flip side of this 7" single was "Why Me Lord" by artists credited as Brother Freddie and Brother Ernest. I don't know anything about Brown, but Google reveals that Alexander and Claris Brown are pastors at the Church of God of Prophecy in S. Catherine Parish, Jamaica. Same Claris Brown?
Enid Cumberland "Town and Country Cafe" (MP3) Released in 1971 on Sight N Sound. This track sounds to me like an old Tom T. Hall-styled country/pop ditty. A screen shot of the 7" vinyl shows the composer listed as "J. Drummond". Cumberland released a few other singles as a duet with Keith Stewart under the name of Enid and Keith (their sentimental number "Worried Over You" is reportedly one of the top-selling Jamaican singles ever).