Speakerplans.com Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > Other Chat > Roots n Culture Forum
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - REGGAE SOUND SYSTEM LIST (BACK IN THE REAL DAYS..)
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

REGGAE SOUND SYSTEM LIST (BACK IN THE REAL DAYS..)

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <12345 9>
Author
Message
Stepping Razor View Drop Down
Registered User
Registered User


Joined: 13 August 2009
Location: UK
Status: Offline
Points: 1405
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Stepping Razor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2010 at 11:05am

BLACK MUSIC JULY 1974: Vol. 1 / Issue 8

THE REGGAE UNDERGROUND: -
Ignored By The Mass Media, Often Beset By Hassles, The Music Scene Of London`s Black Community Is Nevertheless Alive And Grooving. A Six-Page Special Report
By Carl Gayle: -

Fenton gets up every day at around midday except Wednesday and weekends. He struggles out of bed, into his clothes, and down to the local cafe or Wimpy bar in Brixton Rd where he buys an Evening Standard and turns immediately to the horse racing page. From 2pm to 6pm he`s in and out of the bookies and the record shops in Brixton Market.

On Wednesday he strolls down to the Labour Exchange in Coldharbour Lane and receives about £10 which takes care of his food, rent, spliff, betting, and entertainment expenditure for a whole week. Fenton rarely spends on anything else. He can`t afford luxuries. Fenton`s been in and out of work for the last six years, two years after leaving school and home at age sixteen. Those two years were spent learning to be a Chef in a west end hotel. Sometimes it gets him down, not having a steady job, a good income, or a real sense of purpose. But like many others, most of his friends included, he usually makes it from day to day without thinking about it too much. Perhaps life would be much more depressing if there was no entertainment, no music. Fenton`s kind of music.

Fenton lives for the weekends. When he`s out of work and broke, he sleeps a lot during the daytime and goes out at night to a local sound system club in Stockwell or Clapham. When there`s nothing else to do he goes to see a spar (buddy) and plays cards, dominoes, and shares some spliff.

"I want to work for myself, I`m fed up of working for other people," he says defiantly. "Boy, I must have had about a hundred jobs since I left school but the people man, some people just want to tell you what to do all the f----- time, The best job I ever had was my first job as a chef. I used to come home with about £30 a week sometimes but they gave me the sack `cause I used to take too much time off".

Fenton rarely leaves the Brixton area except when he`s clubgoing, and tonight, Friday night, he`s sitting with a smartly dressed and attractive big-breasted chick drinking barley wine here in Mr Bees--South London`s most popular club along with the Georgian in Croydon.

"This is only the second time I`ve been here. I just decided to give Four Aces a rest tonight. This deejay Freddie is alright, he plays some good sounds."

Fenton`s a Coxson follower, an old timer on the scene, a real roots reggae lover. He doesn`t go for funk, never did, even when, in his earliest days of clubgoing, `soul` was the thing.

"The best times was when we used to go to places like Tiles and the Flamingo, then the Ram Jam. Soul is alright but I don`t dig too much of it, that`s why I go for clubs like the Crypt and Four Aces nowadays. All these kids now," he said with the air of someone who`d been through it all before, "they`ve just come up man. Me and you we`ve passed through all that jump up stuff. Most of these youths go for funky soul more than even reggae but that`s because a lot of them grew up in this country. A lot of them can`t even remember Jamaica!"

The kids on the dance floor were mostly between seventeen and twenty and had missed out on the birth of the black music scene in Britain. They`d never known ska or rock steady music, or what the house parties had been like then. They`d never been to the Ram Jam and seen the best Stateside and Jamaican artists of the mid `sixties. They`d never felt the thrill of going to the Flamingo, the Q, or the Tiles, and mixing freely with the introverted white chicks for the first time. It had been much more fun then: going to the Tiles for the first time, getting tired and sweaty, and high on Cherry B and spliff--there was always spliff. And then coming out of the club at around 5am on a Saturday morning and falling asleep on the tube.

"I fell asleep on a train once," said Fenton. "When I woke I was in Kent. They caught me and phoned the police `cause I didn`t have no ticket, and my old man had to come and get me out of the police station. I never used to get in no trouble really except when the babylon (police) just used to stop you on the street. The only other time I`ve been in a police station was when there was a big fight at the Ska Bar in Woolwich when the police raided the club."
Carl Gayle:
Part 1

BLACK MUSIC JULY 1974

Stepping Razor:
Back to Top
Stepping Razor View Drop Down
Registered User
Registered User


Joined: 13 August 2009
Location: UK
Status: Offline
Points: 1405
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Stepping Razor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2010 at 11:06am

BLACK MUSIC JULY 1974: Vol. 1 / Issue 8

THE REGGAE UNDERGROUND: - PT. 2
Ignored By The Mass Media, Often Beset By Hassles, The Music Scene Of London`s Black Community Is Nevertheless Alive And Grooving. A Six-Page Special Report
By Carl Gayle: -

VIOLENCE has always been a characteristic of the black music scene. The Tiles, the Flamingo, the Ram Jam, the Go Go, the 007, the Twenties, the Ska Bar, the Night Angel . . . they all closed because of the continuous outbreaks of violence.

The Ram Jam must have been the most influential clubs for blacks of the mid sixties, except perhaps for the Q Club situated in Brixton Road, Brixton (one of the densest `black` areas in London) opposite the local police station, the Ram Jam attracted black youngsters from all over London. They came in colourful hordes, the guys in terylene and mohair suits, the girls in brightly coloured, low necked silk and satin dresses that glistened in the Sunday afternoon sun. The early Sunday sessions (2-6pm) brought to Brixton the best dancers. Those from North Willesden and Dalston especially came to challenge the boastful Brixton contingent who on their home ground were supremely confident of humiliating all comers on the dance floor. If that failed the fights would start.

Back in 1967 ska was still hot. The most exhilarating ska dance was the shuffle. With tunes like "Broadway Jungle" by the Maytals, "Phoenix City" by Roland Alphonso and the many by the inimitable Skatalites beating in your ears it was a time to display your footmanship. Of all the great shufflers that I`ve seen from London to Birmingham, a guy called Errol who lived in Harlesden was the king. There were all types of shufflers. There were the big guys whose art was in their ability to look clumsy while being perfectly balanced and composed. There were the energetic shufflers who relied on speed, stamina, and daring. And there were the lazily elegant and stylish dancers like Satchmo, and Black Diamond from Brixton. Errol from Harlesden was a combination of all of them, a supreme artist.

The rivalry which developed between the north and south and which was the foundation for much of the characteristic violence of the Ram Jam and other clubs, was perpetuated by the supporters of the sound systems--Coxon and Duke Reid in the South, and Count Shelly in the North especially. This rivalry, which often erupted in violence, was responsible for some of the division in the black music scene as a whole. As the violence increased the clubs lost their respectability. Consequently many black youngsters dropped out of the once peaceful reggae orientated sub culture, opting for the more tranquil soul scene. Soul had been popular with W. Indians anyway and a lot of people just got sick and scared of the hooliganism.

Instead of going to the Ram Jam they went to the Q. Instead of going to the regular house blues (parties), they kept their own private affairs which were restricted to relatives and friends, they kept away from the sound systems. And as soon as the media began to criticise reggae for the associated hooliganism or violence (the Skinheads), and it`s apparent musical limitations, these renegades quickly identified with this prevalent consensus of opinion. This was their justification for copping out of the reggae sub culture and their new found position.

But Fenton remains stolidly a supporter and a product of this sub culture. Although he`s lived in England for ten years, he speaks of Jamaica as though he`d only arrived in England yesterday. His attitudes, mode of speech and dress, his lifestyle, are completely ethnic. He has kept his roots and he just wishes he had enough money to go back home.
Carl Gayle:
Part 2

BLACK MUSIC JULY 1974

Stepping Razor:
Back to Top
Stepping Razor View Drop Down
Registered User
Registered User


Joined: 13 August 2009
Location: UK
Status: Offline
Points: 1405
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Stepping Razor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2010 at 11:07am

BLACK MUSIC JULY 1974: Vol. 1 / Issue 8

THE REGGAE UNDERGROUND: - PT. 3
Ignored By The Mass Media, Often Beset By Hassles, The Music Scene Of London`s Black Community Is Nevertheless Alive And Grooving. A Six-Page Special Report
By Carl Gayle: -

SITTING here at Mr. Bees, observing the thick crowd on the dance floor, Fenton seems weary and out of place even though, like the vast majority of people here tonight, he`s black and from the W. Indies. Bees isn`t really a soul club, but nor is it ethnic enough to be Fenton`s cup of tea. Someone like Fenton only comes to life at a good Town Hall sound system contest or amidst the ruggedly beautiful black crowds that specialize in going on seaside outings at Bank Holidays.

Bank Holiday outings are family affairs. They have a unique air of festivity about them which is the real reason most people are willing to pay from £3 upwards for a ticket to hear a sound system play in somewhere like Southsea.

Outings are an essentially Jamaican pre-occupation. We tend to attach as much importance to them as the English do to their annual holidays.

Like coach outings Town Hall shows are the only events that bring middle-aged W. Indians and the regular sound system crowd into contact with each other. This was particularly evident at a recent show put on by 38 year old part-time promotor Paul Harrison at Tottenham Town Hall. The show was meant to bring together two of the leading London sound systems--Count Shelly and Sir Coxson, but the latter didn`t turn up.

"A lot of promoters advertise shows knowing full well that the artists aren`t even in the country and of course people feel cheated. But there`s nothing you can do when a sound system just doesn`t show up. We want to put on a lot more shows but things like these make it difficult. People don`t want to go to places like the Hornsey Town Hall any more because it`s used for a lot of shows and many times the acts don`t show up," says Mr. Harrison.

"It was difficult enough just to get this place hired, we`d been trying for over a year. They didn`t want to rent it because this hall is where all these football clubs and these big people hold their dos y`see."

Tottenham Town Hall is rather squalid inside but outside on the balcony where the tired, middle-aged women sit in their Saturday night best, it`s a little more elegant. The women wear an air od indifference. Some sit fanning them selves in their tight dresses which reveal the characteristically large midriff bulges that all black women seem to suffer from once past thirty-five or forty. The prettier, younger, slimmer fashion conscious females wera Oxford bags or tight skirts with striped blouses. They wear make up and hair do`s out of Ebony, and stand around trying to look like the models in Vogue. The older men are always the most talkative. They desert their wives and stand around drinking whisky, and swapping jokes with their friends and, their friends` wives.

Inside the dance hall it`s packed but not too densely as we saunter around taking photographs. Some dancers pose for the camera while others wonder what the hell we`re doing. The middle-aged rub shoulders with the kids who wonder how come there are so many older folks here tonight. It`s a peaceful relaxed atmosphere, not much to get excited about except a young six piece band called Black Slate. It would have been much more interesting if Coxson and his Brixton marauders had shown up, but Paul Harrison was satisfied.

"Roughly a show like this costs over £400. We haven`t finalised our books and things yet but we`re hoping to make about £600. We all want money but it`s not even for the money`s sake. I sometimes find myself looking hopelessly for somewhere to go and sit back, meet my own people, have a good laugh and exchange thoughts. Somebody`s got to come forward sooner or later and put on a show but they`re not always successful. If people can trust you they`ll turn up though. But what we really want to do is to get a youth centre, a building to accommodate a lot of black kids socially."
Carl Gayle:
Part 3

BLACK MUSIC JULY 1974

Stepping Razor:
Back to Top
Stepping Razor View Drop Down
Registered User
Registered User


Joined: 13 August 2009
Location: UK
Status: Offline
Points: 1405
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Stepping Razor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2010 at 11:09am

BLACK MUSIC JULY 1974: Vol. 1 / Issue 8

THE REGGAE UNDERGROUND: - PT. 4
Ignored By The Mass Media, Often Beset By Hassles, The Music Scene Of London`s Black Community Is Nevertheless Alive And Grooving. A Six-Page Special Report
By Carl Gayle: -

JAMAICAN music was bound to gain a foothold in Britain once the first wave of immigrants had settled here. It all started back in 1953 at a shop in Stamford Hill, North London. The shop was opened by Mr Benny King and his wife Rita, in June 1953. By September, many Jamaicans were visiting the shop and asking for `blues` records.

"We didn`t know what they meant," said Benny, "but we soon found out it was Jamaican music. Then one customer said we should get the records from Jamaica and he gave us Coxon`s (the Jamaican label owner / promoter / producer / sound system man) address in Jamaica. We wrote to him sending the money and finally we got the first shipment."

About six months later Benny and Rita approached two English jazz labels--Esquire and Melodisc to see if they would import the records and release them in Britain. Esquire released the first such record, "Boogie In My Bones"/"Little Sheila" by Laurel Aitken on their Starlite label in 1954.

It was Melodisc Records that really pioneered Jamaican music in England, notably through their Blue Beat label. In fact the name `blue beat` was passed on to all early Jamaican music in England, and `R&B`, `ska` and `rock steady` music became known as blue beat, even when they appeared on other labels.

Melodisc Records received records from Sir Coxson, Duke Reid, and Prince Buster (three of the biggest promoters at the time in JA) and released some of the finest ska records, including Laurel Aitken`s "Bartender" and Eric Morris`s "Humpty Dumpty" (1961), Prince Buster`s "Independence Song" (1962) and "Have Mercy Mr Percy"/"She`s Gone To Napoli", two lively R&B sides by the team of Owen Gray and Laurel Aitken (1963). They released two of the Maytal`s finest songs on one record in `64--"He Is Real"/"Domino." In `66 there was Buster`s "Hard Man Fe Dead" and in `67 Buster`s "Judge Dread". And there were many more.

In 1964 Rita and Benny Knig started their own label--R&B--for the release of Jamaican recordings. It was notable for some of the earliest records that appeared on it by Don Drummond and the Skatalites. But it was their Ska Beat label that played the more enterprising role with releases like Derrick Morgan`s "Don`t Call Me Daddy", Lord Tanamo`s "I`m In The Mood For Ska", Baba Brooks` "One Eyed Giant", The Wailers` "Love And Affection" and "Lonesome Feeling", and Dandy Livingstone`s British-made "Rudy A Message To You" the record that made a name for Dandy.

Benny and Rita no longer release records themselves. They started concentrating on importing records from JA in 1969 in response to the demand for records that none of the British-based record companies were releasing. "We got hold of other names in JA through Coxson. We import about a thousand records a week now. We not only supply the sound systems, we supply other shops in Britain like Brian Harris`, Black Wax, and Don Christie, they`re the three biggest reggae import shops in Birmingham."

A white Jamaican, Chris Blackwell, started Island Records in Jamaica in 1960 with artists like Owen Gray, Laurel Aitken, and Jackie Edwards. By 1962, Blackwell and David Betteridge (and Englishman with experience in record distribution) had set up business in Britain.

"I decided to come to England because there was too much competition in Jamaica," said Blackwell. "The Jackie edward records `Tell Me Darling` and `Your Eyes Are Dreaming` were big sellers over here so I made a deal with Coxson, Duke Reid, Leslie Kong and other people to release their records on my label in England."

The first records Island recorded in Britain was an LP of religious songs by Jackie Edwards and his `straight` single "Tears Like Rain". At first the recordings were made at Oriole Studios in Bond Street and then at the Olympic Studios. Islands biggest success with Jamaican music was one of these British recordings: Millicent Small`s "My Boy Lollipop" was a worldwide hit in 1963.

But there were many records, some a lot better, that passed relatively unknown except in the W. Indian communities. Before Millie`s big hit there had been Owen Gray`s "Darling Patricia", Jimmy Cliff`s "Miss Jamaica" and Derrick (Morgan) and Patsy`s "Housewives Choice", all fine ska numbers recorded at Leslie Kong`s Beverlys Studios in JA.

And from 1963 until `67 (when Island finally phased out their JA releases in favour of rock music) the quality of Island`s releases were of consistently high standard.

"Melodisc were our biggest competition then," said Blackwell, "But they were much disliked by all the record stores, and I offered the stores a very good service right from the beginning, so they helped me get started. Dave Betteridge and I used to do the distribution ourselves in a little mini car. Then Lee Gopthal got involved because he was the landlord where Island had its office in 1963, in the Cambridge Road, N. West London. He started to get more and more involved in the business himself and then he formed his own label--Trojan. B&C was formed later on as a joint company between him and myself but we sold out our half a couple of years ago".

Island only re-entered the reggae field two summers ago when they signed up people like the Wailers, Zap Pow, and Owen Gray. But it has been Trojan Records (with competition from Pama Records from 1968 to `73, and Bamboo and Ashanti under Junior Lincoln) that has established reggae music in England.

Thirty two year old Jamaican Webster Shrowder, a confident, hard-working type, has very recently been appointed managing director of Trojan by his boss Lee Gopthal. It is just reward for ten years of hard work and dedication. Webster Shrowder was given a job behind the counter in the first market stall that Gopthal and his partners opened in Shepherds Bush over ten years ago, after Shrowder had been selling records on a door to door basis for Gopthal.

"We had to build a market out of nothing," said Shrowder. "Black and white people used to stare as if they couldn`t believe that it was a black guy behind the counter. But after "My Boy Lollipop" a lot of people caught on to ska including the English. Then Prince Buster came along with `Al Capone` and `Judge Dread` and by then all the West Indians were into Jamaican music. Then there was Desmond Dekker`s `007` and more people caught on".
Carl Gayle:
Part 4

BLACK MUSIC JULY 1974

Stepping Razor:
Back to Top
Stepping Razor View Drop Down
Registered User
Registered User


Joined: 13 August 2009
Location: UK
Status: Offline
Points: 1405
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stepping Razor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2010 at 11:10am

BLACK MUSIC JULY 1974: Vol. 1 / Issue 8

THE REGGAE UNDERGROUND: - PT. 5
Ignored By The Mass Media, Often Beset By Hassles, The Music Scene Of London`s Black Community Is Nevertheless Alive And Grooving. A Six-Page Special Report
By Carl Gayle: -

SHEPHERDS BUSH market, like Stoke Newington and Brixton markets, are the focal points of the black communities in London.

The middle aged women and younger housewives stroll around with a shopping bag or basket in each hand and sometimes with a playful youngster at their side as they purchase next week`s groceries. The teenagers, the black youth of Brixton, Stoke Newington, and the Bush, gather in the record shops which are usually crammed with record enthusiasts from mid-day until closing time on a Saturday.

In the early days it was the men in their mid-twenties and upwards who bought most of the records, not the fifteen to twenty year olds who loiter in the shops all day. today, reggae is really a black teenage music. The youngsters today spend more than they can afford on records, but they want the best and the rarest.

Morpheus Record shop in Melfort Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon, concentrates on satisfying these youngsters by dealing almost entirely in pre-release Jamaican music . . . "We import our records three times a week from Jamaica," said a young guy called Michael, one of the salesmen behind the counter at Morpheus. He spoke determinedly in a hurried Jamaican slang: "Pre-release music to me and to many people like sound system men and their followers, is like underground music. As soon as it`s released it`s commercial music. So you find that to the youth of today, the ghetto youth like myself, pre-released music is like a medicine. They`ll go anywhere to hear it, so we like to deal with pre-releases.

"I can name you some well put together pre-releases that you might never be able to buy. LPs like `Big Youth Phenomenon`, `This Is Augustus Pablo`, some wicked instrumentals, `Hit Factory` by the Now Generation. There`s so much music that tells you what`s going on in Jamaica, just like they used music and changed politics out there. Right now there`s things like curfews and a whole heap of shooting incidents. Things like `Gun Court Law,` `None Shall Escape The Gun Court`, `Judge In Definite Detention`. This kind of music tell you exactly what`s happening.

"They (the record companies) don`t release any real music, they just release `swing along` music but I`m not fighting against that. It`s nice, you have to have some of that. But we sell pre-release music because there`s a million and one shops selling released music. We have to pay a whole lot of money and tax to get these records. But it still pays. All the Sound System men depend on us, we boost their scene. People come here from Birmingham, Leicester, Derby, and all over London.

This music doesn`t get played on the radio so the shop gets full every day. Sometimes I feel like driving the youths out but you can`t. And you find that the older generation don`t want to come into the shop, and they don`t really understand that this music is for the youth of today. We get a few complaints from neighbours but we can`t do anything about that because if a million youths decided to walk down the road you can`t do anything about it. And the only reason they stand here in the shop is because they really love the music. Man, reggae music can make you cry. i`ve seen people just start crying when the music holds them.

"Now your magazine, Black Music, it`s an all right magazine because I checked it out. You run down on a few local artists and I like that because the local artists especially the sufferers, they`re the ones who are producing all the music. So if the music here can get publicity well it could easily turn into a big industry. but it gets fought down y`know. People start saying `Oh it`s all the same`. But if you really listen to the pre-releases we play, every one is a different combination of rhythms".
Carl Gayle:
Part 5

BLACK MUSIC JULY 1974

Stepping Razor:
Back to Top
Stepping Razor View Drop Down
Registered User
Registered User


Joined: 13 August 2009
Location: UK
Status: Offline
Points: 1405
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stepping Razor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2010 at 11:15am

BLACK MUSIC JULY 1974: Vol. 1 / Issue 8

THE REGGAE UNDERGROUND: - PT. 6
Ignord By The Mass Media, Often Beset By Hassles, The Music Scene Of London`s Black Community Is Nevertheless Alive And Grooving. A Six-Page Special Report
By Carl Gayle: -

TROJAN RECORDS grew rapidly as Lee Gopthal bought up several retail outlets for the company`s releases. The chain of record shops known as Muzik City is now owned jointly by Gopthal, Desmond Bryan (the managing director), and Webster Shrowder. The records sold and Trojan expanded. They established deals with the leading labels back in JA: Coxsone, Duke Reid Amalgamated, Blue Cat, High Note, Randys, Upsetter, Doctor Bird, Treasure Isle, and Pyramid. Week after week there were numerous releases on these labels. They later issued records on their own subsidiary labels: Big Shot, Attack, Green Door, Big, Jackpot, Explosion, Grape, Smash, and Horse.

Since the rock steady era the Trojan Empire has monopolized the Jamaican music industry in England. (For examples of some of the best Trojan releases see "Essential Reggae" in the May issue of Black Music.)

"I`d say we controlled about 75% of the reggae market in England," said Webster Shrowder. "The other 25% is shared between labels like Count Shelly, Koos, Ethnic, Magnet, Island, and Rhino. And we do some distribution for Ashanti. I`m fully in charge of all our reggae labels as well as our soul labels, People and Action.

"I`ve made a lot of changes," said Shrowder. "One decision is to redue the number of releases per week. Instead of ten we release four and we still get equivalent sales figures and less aggravation. And I`m only putting out the very best records,

"Our artists based in Britain are as you know, the Pioneers, Dandy Livingstone, Doris Troy, Nicky Thomas, Tito Simon, Winston Groovy, Judge Dread, The Cimarons, the Marvels, Danny Ray, Matumbi, and Buster Pearson. We`ve streamlined the number of producers in Jamaica that we take material from, and we deal with both producers and artists to avoid any problems.

"Producers don`t really look after the artists in Jamaica so it`s up to us to ensure that there`s fair treatment, otherwise it will reflect on us. Y`see there are only two companies in Jamaica--Dynamic and Federal. Most of the others are just little labels, one man things. They hire an artist, produce a record, get it pressed, and take it around on a scooter and flog it to the shops. Too much of it is amateurish and that`s why artists get robbed. So we like to deal with producers who do their business properly. We do everything legally, we don`t issue records unless the particular artist or product is contracted to us. And we only deal in royalties".

Trojan receive nationwide distribution through B and C, but they sell as many records in the Muzik City shops, concentrated in the dense W. Indian areas of London, as they do in the whole of the rest of Britain.

"From our point of view," said Shrowder, "the reggae scene is thriving. But what I`d really like to see is the radio stations playing a lot more reggae because it has a wide scope and there`s a big market for it. `Reggae Time` (a one hour, Sunday afternoon London radio programme) just isn`t enough. And I don`t know what these small labels are doing. I`d like them to be successful but there just isn`t any competition".

Trojan Records began in earnest to make a name for itself when "Return Of Django", "Israelites", "Long Shot Kick The Bucket", and "Liquidator" made the pop charts in 1969. These songs became chart successes chiefly because they were being bought by a whole new group of white English kids who, because of their convict type haircuts (which they had borrowed from W. Indian youths) became known as Skinheads.

White kids had been associating with blacks in clubs like the Ram Jam, since black music first became popular in England. But it wasn`t until 1967 that the whites had begun to really appreciate reggae music, and to mimic the black lifestyle. They fell in love with the first wave of reggae music that Pama Records issued, like the instrumentals--"Spoogy", "Reggae On Broadway", and "1000 Tons Of Megaton" by Lester Sterling. They stomped to the frantic dance records like "Work It" by the Viceroys, and "Children Get Ready" by the Versatiles. They sang along to Pat Kelly`s "How Long Will It Take" and Slim Smith`s "Everybody Needs Love", and laughed at rude items like Max Romeo`s "Wet Dream" or Lloyd Terrell`s "Bang Bang Lulu".

Pretty soon you couldn`t go to a black house party without finding a gang of skinheads. But amazingly, there was little black/white violence and hardly any resentment. Black and white youth have never been as close as they were in the skinhead era, despite the `mixing` in the trendier soul scenes nowadays. The skinheads copied the way we dressed, spoke, walked, the way we danced. They danced with our chicks, smoked our spliff and ate our food, and bought our records.

Today, four years after the birth of the skinhead boom, the white working class kids in bovver boots and hedgehog haircuts have disappeared completely from our clubs. Their current heroes (Slade and Bowie) are no longer identical with ours.

OUR HEROES are the guys that are really into roots reggae like Gregory Isaacs, Augustus Pablo, Delroy Wilson, and Ken Boothe, says Melvin Dockeray who, at weekends, works behind the counter at Junior`s Music Spot, the most popular shop for black music in Finsbury Park, North London and once the premises of Bamboo and Ashanti Records.

"The best current selling records are the Brent Dowe LP `Build Me Up` and the latest Ken Boothe album `Let`s Get It On` and his single, `Everything I Own`. Ken Boothe outsells John Holt. Girls mostly buy John Holt, but everybody buys Ken Boothe.

"Tonight I might go to a party in Hornsey and take in Fat Man`s sounds. Fat Man is just a wee bit ahead of the other sound systems as far as I`m concerned, sometimes his dances go on till 7 and 8 o`clock Sunday mornings. House parties are still popular in North London. It`s something for the younger generation to look forward to. A lot of people don`t even think about doing anything else, they just live from Saturday to Saturday. They do it all through their lives".

Mellos (as he`s called by most people who come into the shop) is a busy and ambitious type. He`s made a few recordings under the name of Soul Rebels backed by Black Slate, and as Doc B as a soloist. And when he isn`t at work at the record shop he`s at home studying accounts. "But it`s tough," admits Mellos, "because Friday and Saturday evenings I don`t get any time to study. Maybe if my music thing turns over a bit better I`ll be able to concentrate on studying because my main interest really is to be an accountant".

But Mellos, like most of the guys who crowd the record shop at weekends, doesn`t let anything get in the way of enjoying himself. "I can only afford the cheap clubs like Loyola Hall or the Cobweb club. The crowd at the Cobweb is the `regular` crowd, y`know the guys who always follow certain sound systems. There`s a much more brotherly thing now. Everybody realises that it`s useless going around fighting your own kind because in the end it`s them who have to come back and help you.

"So I enjoy myself much more at these kind of places than at the expensive places like the Q where everybody`s so sophisticated. When you go to those posh places you find that people are more standoffish. They won`t say hello to you until they`ve seen you a whole heap of times. And the simplest thing, asking a girl for a dance, which I seldom do, if they don`t know your face the answer is `no`. But with the ordinary local crowd everybody`s on the same level. My music is strictly reggae, but you have some soul music which I like such as the Chi-Lites and the Stylistics, the type that reggae artists put into a reggae version".

 

THE present day underground reggae youth culture is still confined mainly to once a week 7-11 dances at pub halls like the Sunday sessions at the Bluesville in Wood Green, and to sleazy house parties and clubs like the Cobweb in Hornsey, the Crypt in Depford, SE London, and the Four Aces in Dalston, N16. But the other real reggae strongholds--the Apollo nightclub, and the All Nations in Hackney, are the most highly-rated.

The All Nations club is owned and run by Jamaican Bob Elliott who already had club managing experience with Burton`s in Cricklewood, the Night Angel in the West End, and the Wicky Wacky in NW London. The All Nations is like two clubs in one. it`s the largest and most comfortable of the black clubs, with two dance halls, two lounge bars, TV room, games room and restaurant.

"It`s not a teenage club really," said Ginger who`s been DJing at the club for the past year. "You get a lot of married couples, nearly everyone`s twenty and upwards. We play a flexible variety of music--reggae, soul, old r&b, even some country and western. You go into the dance hall in the early hours of the morning and you might hear Nina Simone and a bit of Ray Charles. They dig that type of music in the early hours. Their one favourite is Nina Simone`s `My Baby Just Cares For Me`, we play it every Saturday night. On Saturday nights half the population seems to come here".

Indeed Saturday nights bring all sorts to the All Nations. There are the grass roots reggae type, renegades from the nearby Four Aces, here only for the night. There are those that can`t find a party to go to, or are taking a break from the Columbo. And there are those older members, `the adult crowd`, who either seem desperate to make new friends or too tired to talk. The husbands laugh and drink all night and the wives sit and frown until it`s time to go home.

Over on the other side of London, at 375 High Road, Willesden, is situated the Apollo Club. The Club, like Palmer Estate Agency, and Pama Records (which is now defunct) is owened jointly by three brothers from Jamaica, Carl, Geoffrey, and Harry Palmer.

"I run the nightclub," said Geoffrey, "Carl concentrates on the Estate Agency, and Harry used to run Pama Records. The club`s been going strongly for four years. The first year we were very successful. The second year we had to close the club at midnight because the neighbours complained that the music from the club was too loud. The Council sympathised with them and I lost a lot of business. Then I got the place sound proofed and we`ve been back to a normal time of 7pm to 5am since December 1972. We can`t admit under 18s, but generally on Friday nights we get a younger set of people and on Saturday nights, the married couples".

When an artist like Ken Boothe is appearing however, everything changes, literally everybody comes. Tonight, Saturday night, Ken is on stage and the pavement outside overspills with the unlucky reggae heads who despite their money cannot get inside the club.

Off the foyer, a door opens to a small hall where there`s a gathering of people in the business--musicians, promoters, producers, label owners, and girl friends. The bright light cuts through the smoke filled air revealing the stylish outfits of all the women, the extravagant postures of some of the younger chicks, and the rugged but beautiful features of the black dudes.

Those at the noisy domino table include the energetic Nicky Thomas, and the proud boastful Sydney Crooks of the Pioneers. No matter where you go in West Indian circles, there`s always a domino table. The music in the dance floor outside is tonight`s excuse for this game of dominoes. Elsewhere in the hall are scattered the members of the Cimarons who are being congratulated on their new LP (which is due for release in July) by everyone including members of another Trojan band, Matumbi.

Like most nightclubs, the Apollo is the place (in NW. London) where guys go to pick up chicks, have a drink and hear the latest sounds, and do the latest dances. The people here come from all over North London, a few come from South London but most South Londoners who are into reggae and soul rarely cross the river. They are satisfied with the Georgian and Mr. Bees.

"Our members are always saying that this is the best club in London," said Geoffrey Palmer. "The atmosphere here is tremendous, the people feel free. That doesn`t mean they go wild in the club, they`re relaxed and they really enjoy themselves. Our DJ, Smokey Joe, is Trinidadian and he`s really funky. He came here with a soul thing when we got the licence back to open late. He`d been doing American bases before that. In the early days of the club we used to have all the big artists and all the radio DJs like Steve Barnard, Rosko, and Dave Simmonds. Now, the club hardly needs them anymore because Smokey Joe pulls in a big crowd.

"But we still use Steve Barnard, he gets a chance to meet the people who bring requests in on Friday nights. And we offer more than any other club on Sunday nights. We do beauty contests and talent contests. This is the third year we`ll be having the Miss West Indies in Britain beauty contest. Pama Records started because we used to have talent contests at our previous club, Club 31. We discovered Junior English and several others through our talent contests.

"But the black clubs, we don`t fight against each other. There aren`t many clubs and there are so many people to serve that there`s no need for rivalry. We all visit each other and share experience and advice. This must be the only business in London that`s not a cut-throat affair".

THERE is a real division between the `roots` reggae crowd and the reggae/soul crowd. The former, as Mellos pointed out, usually dislike soul type clubs like Ronnie Scotts, the Columbo, or the Q. Their down to earth manner is in sharp contrast to the sophisticated cool of the dudes who wear baggy pants and high heels, regularly buy James Brown, and specialise in dancing like the Americans.

The Q club was started in 1963 by a Jamaican named Wilbert Augustus Campbell (better know as Count Suckle), who stowed away from Kingston in 1952 on a banana boat . . . "I came from a big family," said Suckle. "There were thirteen of us and my parents were poor. Things were rough when I grew up so I decided to split up and come to England, the mother country. I must`ve been about eighteen."

Mr. Campbell became Count Suckle when he started up his sound system in the early sixties. By the time his sound system opened the Roaring Twenties club (Carnaby St.) in 1962, Suckle had built up a large following and a `name` for himself by playing at two roomed basement `blues` dances, private parties, and wedding receptions up and down the country in the predominant West Indian areas.

"I opened the Twenties on the 4th of July, a Wednesday night, American Independence. But the club wasn`t opened for black people, it was owned by Jewish people and it only catered for Jewish kids. I was the only black guy there because I was the leading DJ at the time and they wanted a popular `front` figure to pull in the crowds so I was hired".

After a while Suckle`s young black followers began to seek admittance to the Twenties which resulted in Suckle putting his foot down and threatening to quit if the management did not change its `no admittance` policy towards blacks. When they gave way and W. Indians were allowed into the Twenties, it became a predominantly `black` club.

"I left the Twenties because it was rough," said Suckle, "it was just a dump. It was a drugs scene, dope pushing, young kids smoking dope, people fighting, the police raiding the club, hundreds of young black kids taken to jail y`know! I just couldn`t stand it.

"There weren`t any black owned clubs then. The places in the West End where black kids used to go were white owned. Some of them used black staff as a `front` like the Colombo does now".

Suckle didn`t relish the idea of continuing to play at House parties. The white neighbours were always complaining about the noise, and the police were a continuous hazard.

"I wanted a big place where everybody could come and relax and enjoy themselves, which I achieved with the Q. But it was a hard struggle to get any kind of assistance in the beginning. They just felt that anything black people ran was a dump. After you settle in and people become aware that you`re doing things properly and in the eyes of the law, then they`re willing to help you. I`ve been here eleven years and this club has never been raided, we never have any trouble with the police, we never have any fights, nobody`s ever been cut or shot or anything like that.

"Now I intend to have a bigger and better Q club as soon as I can find the place, the proper spot. I won`t move from here because this club is successful, but the black population is rising so fast that we need more clubs in London. We want more black people to get together and open clubs themselves. I`ve been trying to get a bigger spot for over a year but the Council`s so funny that the minute you mention the word `club` they say no! But when I get the right place I intend to have my own American show. I want to bring James Brown over for a week just to play at the Q. I want to bring people like Isaac Hayes, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklyn week after week".

The Q club is situated in the heart of Paddington at 5a Praed St, W1. just ten yards from the busy Edgware Rd. It is enclosed by a cinema, and a National Assistance Office. In the daytime you could walk right past without seeing it. After 11.30 at night (except Mondays) you`d have no trouble, sometimes the queue extends around the corner onto Edgware Rd.

The Q is a basement club. Beneath a framed photograph of Mohammad Ali, I sit on a comfortable settee facing the entrance and watch as people gradually arrive. Ken Boothe`s records (he`s a guest tonight) dominate the turntable and send warm shivers up my spine via the eighteen inch speakers beating above my head.

The Q starts filling from 11.30. This is the club (reputedly) where you`ll find the best soul dancers, the prettiest, trendiest black chicks, the hippiest black dudes, the Yankee money men, the in crowd.

"We lead the field because we`ve always moved with the times at the Q club. When we opened ska music was the thing, Prince Buster, Don Drummond, Reco, Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Baba Brooks y`know. They all played here when they toured London. We played all the latest things and the new dances caught on quick. There was the twist, the dog, the boogaloo, the rock steady. Now we just had the bump, the American guys from the bases and the American tourists bring the latest dances here. And we use all the top American and Jamaican groups that come to England, we always have.

"The Q club is international so we have to mix the records. A few years ago soul was the thing so we used to play more soul. If you wasn`t on the soul scene you wasn`t on nothing. You used to have six, seven soul acts coming to London every week. You just got to stay with the times. If they wanna hear reggae we`ll play reggae, if they want rock and roll we`ll play it. My personel preference are soul ballads, the softer side. My favourite singer was Billy Stewart, but he died.

"But black people are accustomed to one type of music, the music they feel, and that is reggae and soul. You never get a black population digging white people`s music, the majority don`t dig it. But white kids in general like to be among black people because they get a certain feel in our clubs. And the white kids who just go to a white club they can`t dance much but when they mix with black kids they become very good dancers. So black music will always thrive".

The Q isn`t at all representative of the grass roots reggae crowd; the regular visitors here have much more money in their pockets than regulars at other black clubs like the Apollo, the All Nations, or the Four Aces.

After getting a head full of funk and skank, by 3 am the numbed Q club crowd start drifting home. The night`s music has been dominated by solid disco funk such as "Who Is He", "TSOP", "Jungle Boogie", "Dancing Machine", "Let`s Get Married", "Boogie Down" and "Stoned To The Bone". Very recently the audience`s impatient requests for more reggae music has had its effect. Tonight we`ve heard Judy Mowatt`s "I Shall Sing", Al Brown`s "Here I Am Baby", Gregory Isaac`s "Love Is Overdue" as well as the spate of Ken Boothe LP tracks and recent singles.

But despite the fact that the Q club is attempting to bridge the gap with reggae, the club will never attract the ethnic crowd en masse unless a popular sound system is employed and this is extremely unlikely. The fact is that the gap between reggae club music and soul club music has widened with the division and polarization of the two different groups of supporters and their distinctly contrasting social attitudes.

IN GENERAL, the West Indians who have been in Britain the longest are usually the more affluent, having discarded many of their family ties and cultural traditions. Together with the West Indians of British birth, they generally form this new wave "soul crowd", the black youth of Britain who relate only superficially to African cultural roots. They eat soul food, drive flash cars which they can`t really afford, wear Afros, feign artistic creativity, shop at Bibas, keep "selective soul parties, and attend clubs like the Q and Columbo`s in Carnaby Street.

One of the favourite clubs is Ronnie Scott`s. The only time you hear any reggae at Ronnies is on a Thursday night when the club bursts at the seems with renegades from all the other black clubs you can think of. You even get a sound system crowd.

Scott`s audience is mixed: there are as many whites as blacks. The blacks who go there regularly are those that no longer hold any affection for the reggae scene. They don`t like reggae music and they`d rather not surround themselves with reggae people. They disappear on Thursday nights, they go to the Q.

At three am the lights come on and the music stops. Armed with whistles and boogaloo blues, the baggy pants dudes make it across the block to the Columbo. Situated in Carnaby Street where the infamous Roaring Twenties once was, the Columbo has nevertheless managed to shrug off much of the violent memories of the Twenties. The club has been re-modelled and re-decorated and is now rivalling the Q as the number one soul scene despite the minor consideration the DJ gives to the dudes in the audience with reggae tastes, Those that there are seem satisfied to go along with the concensus of opinion that prefers soul "because it`s more sophisticated".

But this is one argument that has helped to divide the black music scene and polarize it into soul and reggae categories which has led to a breakdown in communication. This breakdown stems fundamentally from the fact that the two groups disagree about the quality and importance of reggae music in comparison to soul music, but there`s little justification for fairness in the lines of comparison.

The lines of communication have been further weakened with the increased momentum of the soul crowd`s aspirations to affluence, and with the reggae crowd`s introversion becoming more grass roots. The young "God Son2 (an affectionate term among the reggae crowd which alludes to belief in rastafarian religious ideals) no longer bothers to knock on the door of the soul crowd`s selective parties. A fter being continuously refused, he`s learnt his lesson. Nowadays he jusy walks right past that funky door on a Saturday night.

The polarization continues. The ethnic reggae crowd have grown out of their tendency towards self destructiveness: the violence has dissipated, The rasts have mellowed with the maturity of their peace and love idealogy and are closer to each other now than they`ve ever been. Bob Marley, Count Ossie, Big Youth, and Gregory Isaacs have shown them who their real enemies are, and these are the artists that have become their heroes regardless of what anyone else thinks.
Carl Gayle:

BLACK MUSIC JULY 1974

Stepping Razor:
Back to Top
fitz View Drop Down
Registered User
Registered User


Joined: 01 February 2007
Status: Offline
Points: 83
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fitz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 October 2010 at 12:54pm
Great article..Thanks!
http://www.myspace.com/gangunguru
Back to Top
Rudeboy prento View Drop Down
Registered User
Registered User


Joined: 15 October 2008
Location: london
Status: Offline
Points: 45
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rudeboy prento Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 October 2010 at 8:44pm
Thank you for thanking me Fitz... just like to say that i've been going raving since 1970 when i was a young lad & have heard Nuff sounds..... Jah Love  
Back to Top
fitz View Drop Down
Registered User
Registered User


Joined: 01 February 2007
Status: Offline
Points: 83
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fitz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 October 2010 at 8:28am
Its always great to have testimonies on our past history, its not all about music, culture is the main part of the whole thing. Some seems to forget that sometimes.

You can find some more of those right here :

http://www.bloodandfire.co.uk/db/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=36837
http://www.myspace.com/gangunguru
Back to Top
Culture E View Drop Down
Registered User
Registered User
Avatar

Joined: 27 September 2010
Location: Male
Status: Offline
Points: 23
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Culture E Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 December 2010 at 10:51pm

You miss one big sound use fi play a Forest gate FBI sound (Forest gate Boys International) Original earthquake/ heavyweight/Lightning and thunder sound playing pure roots and culture.

 
Bless
remember your history , the foundation
Back to Top
TRE4U2NV View Drop Down
Old Croc
Old Croc
Avatar

Joined: 21 May 2005
Location: home
Status: Offline
Points: 2592
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRE4U2NV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 December 2010 at 11:12pm
king original with frankie wazair and flaco was the best peoples sound in east nuff artist grew there
fbi was also good didnt they have a java coach 
IM SO SECRETIVE BUT I CANT TELL YOU WHY
Back to Top
Stepping Razor View Drop Down
Registered User
Registered User


Joined: 13 August 2009
Location: UK
Status: Offline
Points: 1405
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stepping Razor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 March 2011 at 12:59am



Edited by Stepping Razor - 03 March 2011 at 1:02am
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <12345 9>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 12.01
Copyright ©2001-2018 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.078 seconds.