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Related: reggae - Jamaican music - Caribbean music - Theo Beckford - Ernest Ranglin - offbeat - riddims - 1960s - Studio One

Working with producer Lee Perry, Clement 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.

There is an 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

Influential to: mods - new wave - punk

Ska Authentic (1967) - The Skatalites


Ska is a form of Jamaican music which began in the early 1960s. Combining elements of traditional mento and calypso with an American rhythm and blues sound, it was a precursor in Jamaica to rocksteady, and later, reggae.

The sound of the ska was created at Studio One in Kingston, Jamaica.

The music of ska is known for the placement of the accented guitar and piano rhythms on the upbeats. The word ska may have a onomatopoeia origins in a tradition of poetic or possibly even musical rhythms.

Guitarist Ernest Ranglin, said that "the offbeat guitar scratching that he and other musicians played was referred to as 'skat! skat! skat!'"

Onomatopoeia-based music uses the mouth and vocal cords (that is, voice) as the primary musical instrument. A common music tool in European and American cultures uses the voice instrumental tool that is technically called a solfege. A solfege is a vocalized musical scale that is commonly known as Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti. A solfege may be sung, spoken or used in a combination. A variety of similar tools are found in scat singing of jazz, Delta blues and also rock and roll and the ska of reggae (the last which is also called Two Tone).

It should be noted that historically, some forms of onomatopoeia served as a mnemonic and a mimetic tool for musicians around the world. See mouth music.

Ska's popularity has waxed and waned since its original inception, and has had revivals of note in England in the 1980s (known as Two-Tone), and another wave of popularity in the 1990s (referred to as Third Wave Ska).

The Two-Tone era was named after the similarly titled record label, formed by Jerry Dammers, keyboardist of The Specials. Other artists on this label included The Selecter and the commercially successful Madness.

The biggest selling American bands of Third Wave Ska were The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and No Doubt, both of whom fused ska with rock and punk music to the point of losing almost all Jamaican elements in their musics. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ska [2004]

Ska Authentic (1967) - Skatalites

The Skatalites are a music group from Jamaica that played a major part in popularising ska. Consisting of some of the best musicians in Jamaica, they played together initially between 1963 and 1965 but recorded many of their best known songs in the period including "Guns of Navarone" as well as playing on records by Prince Buster and many other Jamaican artists who recorded during the period. They reformed in 1986 and have played together ever since.

In 1964 members of the group were Tommy McCook, Rolando Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb, Lester Sterling, Don Drummond, Jah Jerry Haynes, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore, Jackie Opel and Doreen Shaffer. In 2003 the group consisted of Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb, Doreen Shaffer, Lester Sterling, Cedric 'Im Brooks, Vin Gordon, Devon James, Ken Stewart and Kevin Batchelor. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Skatalites [Sept 2005]

See also: authentic - reggae - music - 1967 - ska


  1. Lucky Seven - Skatalites [Amazon US]
    Disc: 1 1. Latin Goes Ska - The Skatalites 2. Yard Broom 3. Street Corner - The Skatalites 4. You Can Depend on Me 5. River Bank, Pts 1 and 2 6. Musical Store Room - The Skatalites 7. Musical Communion 8. Feeling Fine 9. Twelve Minutes to Go - The Skatalites 10. Magic - The Skatalites 11. Strolling In - The Skatalites 12. Dan-De-Lion - The Skatalites 13. Apango - The Skatalites 14. Eastern Standard Time - The Skatalites 15. Twilight Zone 16. Blackberry Brandy 17. Sandy Gully 18. Country Town (In Mood) Disc: 2 1. Lucky Seven - The Skatalites 2. Clock 3. Silver Dollar - Don Drummond 4. Let George Do It - Don Drummond 5. James Bond 6. Knock Out Punch - Don Drummond 7. Dr. Decker - Don Drummond 8. Occupation - Don Drummond 9. Inez - Lester Sterling 10. Garden of Love - Don Drummond 11. Green Island - The Skatalites 12. Cool Smoke - Don Drummond 13. Real Cool 14. Burning Torch - Don Drummond 15. Stampede - Don Drummond 16. Corner Stone 17. Independence Anniversary Ska - The Skatalites

    Import exclusive budget-price compilation. The complete Duke Reid recordings by this legendary group featuring Tommy McCook, Don Drummond & Roland Alfonso. Featuring the best quality mastering, high quality packaging, slipcase & a 16-page full color booklet (including discography, biographical notes & photos). Over two hours of music. 2002. --amazon.com

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