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Sir Coxsone Dodd (1932 - 2004)

Related: reggae - Studio One

Unidentified photograph of Coxsone Dodd

Sir Coxsone Dodd's Muzik City opens in East Queen Street, Kingston at the end of 1959, and began distributing C.S Dodd productions on such labels as All Stars, C&N, D.Darling, Downbeat, Muzik City, N.D Records, Supreme, Worldisc, Coxsone and Studio One.

Soul Jazz Presents Studio One Funk (2004) - Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Clement Seymour "Sir Coxsone" Dodd (January 26, 1932 - May 5, 2004) was a Jamaican record producer who was influential in the development of reggae and other forms of Jamaican music in the 1950s, 60s and later.

Dodd was born in Kingston, and started in the music business in the '50's, operating the very popular Downbeat Sound System. His Studio One recording studio on Brentford Rd, Kingston, opened in 1963, was the first black-owned recording studio in Jamaica. During the late 60's and early 70's, the Studio One sound was virtually synonymous with the sound of rocksteady, and he attracted some of the best of Jamaican talent to his stable over this time. He is credited with launching the career of Bob Marley and the Wailers, producing and promoting their work during the period '63 - '68. He has also worked with many other reggae legends, including Lee "Scratch" Perry (who was Dodd's right hand man for much of his early career), Winston "Burning Spear" Rodney, Horace Andy and Sugar Minott.

He continued to be active in the music business until his death of a heart attack in 2004.

He was given the nickname "Coxsone" at school, due to his talent at cricket - the famous Yorkshire cricket team of the '40's had a star batsman named Coxsone. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coxsone_Dodd, May 2004


By Chris Morris

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Producer and label operator Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, one of the great architects of reggae music, died of a heart attack Tuesday at his studio in Kingston, Jamaica. He was 72.

A jazz fan, Dodd originally was a DJ who operated one of Kingston's first popular sound systems, Coxsone Downbeat. He began recording R&B-styled material by homegrown talent in 1959, and worked with virtually every significant Jamaican performer of the '60s and '70s.

Working with producer Lee Perry, Dodd began documenting the pre-reggae ska sound on his Studio One label in 1963. In the early '60s, the Skatalites, ska's most important instrumental group, was his house band. Singers Delroy Wilson, Ken Boothe and Owen Gray and keyboardist Jackie Mittoo were the most influential performers in Dodd's stable.

Dodd's major early discovery was the Wailers. The trio of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston recorded such early "rude boy" ska hits as "Simmer Down" at the producer's Brentford Road studio.

As ska evolved into rocksteady, Dodd recorded major dance hits by Alton Ellis, Slim Smith, Marcia Griffiths and vocal trio the Heptones. As the roots reggae sound developed in the late '60s and early '70s, these artists were joined at Studio One by Horace Andy, Dennis Brown, Burning Spear, John Holt and the Wailing Souls.

During the '70s and '80s, Dodd released his studio's spare rhythm tracks in a series of instrumental albums that helped define Jamaican dub. He also cut early dancehall reggae hits by Willie Williams, the Lone Ranger and Michigan & Smiley.

In the mid-'80s, Dodd moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., where he ran a record store, Coxsone's Music City. His classic Studio One recordings were extensively reissued by Rounder's reggae imprint Heartbeat Records. --By Chris Morris Reuters/Billboard, Wed May 5, 2004 03:55 PM ET


  1. Studio One Rockers: Best of Studio One - Various Artist [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Real Rock - Sound Dimension 2. Feel Like Jumping - Marcia Griffiths 3. Bobby Babylon - Freddie McGregor 4. Skylarking - Horace Andy 5. Village Soul - Lennie Hibbert 6. Greedy G - Brentford All Stars 7. Truth and Rights - Johnny Osbourne 8. Surfin' - Ernest Ranglin 9. Eye of Danger - Michigan & Smiley 10. No, No, No - Dawn Penn 11. Phoenix City - The Skatalites 12. Crabwalking - Prince Jazzbo 13. Hot Milk - Jackie Mittoo 14. Badder Dan Dem - Lone Ranger 15. Ethiopia - Cedric Brooks

    Bringing together the original cuts of classic tracks such as "Skylarking" and Dawn Penn's instantly recognizable "No, No, No," Studio One Rockers showcases not only the talents of influential artists that were to become synonymous with reggae but also the styles, sounds, and, above all, rhythms that were to dominate Kingston studios into the 1970s and beyond. There are a number of rock-steady classics (hence the name), with tracks like Hammond-Organ maestro Jackie Mittoo's "Hot Milk" and the legendary Marcia Griffiths's "Feel Like Jumping" highlighting the then-dramatic change in style away from the faster beats of ska towards heavy, bass-led tracks with a much slower tempo. But Studio One Rockers is not restricted to this. The semi-instrumental track "Phoenix City" pounds along at a breakneck pace with trumpets belting and, along with "Greedy G," shows the importance a faster beat, a funky take, or a big-band sound also had within the Studio One fold. There are tracks from DJs like Lone Ranger with his "Badder Dan Dem" vocal rhythms and dancehall sounds. Roots artists include one of its biggest stars, Horace Andy, whose then unique falsetto was later emulated by many looking for a similar pop success. Then a preteen, reggae star Freddy McGregor also appears on "Bobby Babylon." Freddy, like many of the artists here, was to produce some of his best work under the watchful eye of Studio One's equally famous producer--Clement "Coxsone" Dodd. In many ways a tribute to Coxsone's production skills and rhythms that continue to be rediscovered and recut, Studio One Rockers is essential listening for anyone with even a passing interest in Jamaican music. --Caroline Butler, Amazon.com

  2. Studio One Soul [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Express yourself - Sibbles, Leroy 2. Respect - Frazer, Norma 3. Groove me - Sibbles, Leroy 4. Soulful strut - Sound Dimension 5. Queen of the minstrels - Eternals (5) 6. Message from a blackman - Heptones 7. I'll be around - Gayle, Otis 8. Still water - Jones, Jerry 9. Time is tight - Sound Dimension 10. Can't get enough - Ace, Richard 11. Don't break your promise - Chosen Few (1) 12. First cut is the deepest - Frazer, Norma 13. How strong - Parker, Ken 14. Set me free - Booth, Ken 15. Is it because I'm black - Senior Soul 16. Deeper and deeper - Mittoo, Jackie 17. I don't want to be right - Ellis, Alton 18. No one can stop us - Williams, Willie
    Studio One Soul, another sensational compilation that this time spotlights the inescapable link between Jamaican reggae and US soul. Since the late 1950s, which saw ska born out of American R&B, the Jamaican reggae fraternity has always had a strong affiliation towards US soul, and later on, funk. --Chris King, amazon.co.uk

  3. Nice Up the Dance-Studio One Discomixes - Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Always a hit factory, the label came close to completely dominating the Jamaican dance floor with the emergence of the long-playing 12-inch “discomix” in the 1970s. Studio One capitalized on the extended discomix format, successfully recycling some of its best material from the 1960s. Older hits were updated simply by mixing in lengthy instrumental endings. The popularity of the discomix allowed the label to prolong its reign, even after its most creative period had passed. Because a discomix filled up an entire side of a [12"] record, a hit song had the power to keep competing records off the DJ’s turntable for a good long time. Nice Up The Dance complies the very best of these highly sought-after 12-inch classics, including tracks from such legendary artists as Delroy Wilson, Alton Ellis, and Tommy McCook. The album opens with Cornell Campbell & the Eternal’s obscure classic, “Queen Of The Minstrels,” which unfolds in a deliciously slow groove that suspends both time and worry. The discomix of Alton Ellis’s eternal reggae classic, “Can I Change My Mind,” clocks in at an astounding 11-minutes. This endless version gives us plenty of time to experience the full magnitude of Ellis’s mighty soul caressing voice. The lengthy instrumental sections that fill Nice Up The Dance not only give added depth to older hits, but also showcase the impressive talents of the Studio One house musicians, masters of the hypnotic reggae groove. For almost three decades, Studio One has provided Jamaicans with the soulful soundtrack of their lives. -- John Ballon

    Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, is the founder and publisher of MustHear.com, a music review and photography website dedicated to celebrating the brilliant and the obscure. He is an avid reader, writer, photographer, dog-walker, thrift-shopper, percussionist, and record collector. While his musical tastes are as varied as his hobbies, jazz has long been a major passion. He prefers to photograph jazz in black and white, but has recently been dabbling in color. Visit John's photo Must Hear recommendations site at http://www.musthear.com

  4. Studio One Showcase, Vol. 1 [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    During the seventies in Jamaica the 12" mix of popular songs became the vogue. The vocals and dubs were mated for a musical extravaganza. As a result of the popularity of these 12" singles Coxsone Dodd compiled and released some "Showcase" albums. Now the Cambridge, Massachusetts U.S.A. based Heartbeat Records has issued "Nice Up The Dance", which is a decent follow up to the previous releases 'Showcase Volume 1 & 2". Many of the songs on the album were originally released in the late sixties and re-released in their extended version ten years later. The album opens with classic late sixties lovers tune Queen Of the Minstrels from Cornell Campbell and The Eternals. He recorded many sides for Coxsone, starting in the late fifties, before teaming up with producer Bunny Lee. In the seventies his output was prolific and he still is recording quality sides for a variety of producers, such as the New York based Don One. Ken Parker comes next with his rendition of William Bells' My Whole World Is Falling Down. Ken's version topped the Jamaican charts in 1969. One of Jamaica's most underrated vocalists is the late Freddie McKay. Love Is Treasure remains his best remembered tune, the Studio One album 'Picture On The Wall' is a classic set. An often versioned riddim is Horace Andy's Mr. Bassie. It's a dancehall staple, and any producer looking for a dancehall hit will consider versioning it. Great names like Beres Hammond, Garnet Silk, Frankie Paul, Dean Fraser and Robert Ffrench have scored hits riding this riddim. The late great Delroy Wilson is one of Studio One's legends. He started out at the age of twelve, voicing popular ska sides for Coxsone Dodd. His tune Give Love A Try is one of the highlights found here. The Sound Dimension's 'Real Rock' riddim probably is reggae's most versioned riddim. Although Willie Williams' version 'Armagideon Time' is a very popular cut of the riddim, Michigan and Smiley offering Nice Up the Dance is a noteworthy track. This tune is followed by the killer tune of the album, Alton Ellis' Can I Change My Mind. This brilliant retelling of Tyrone Davis' 1968 hit tune proved Alton's most popular tune. He has recorded a few tunes over the years and his outings still remain popular with the reggae massive. The album closes with a previously unreleased tune by The Viceroys. For this release the original vocal cut Slogan On The Wall was mixed together with Tommy McCook's instrumental cut 'Tenor On The Call'. -- jo moenen for amazon.com

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