Tue | Oct 22, 2019

Stories by Roy Black

Published:Sunday | October 20, 2019 | 1:34 AMRoy Black

The 1972 release of I’ll Take You There remains one of the most popular recordings ever to emerge from the American Recording Industry. Performed by the soul-gospel family band, The Staple Singers for Stax Records, and done in the R...

Published:Sunday | October 13, 2019 | 5:29 AMRoy Black

The formation of the Jamaica recording industry marked the beginning of the road that led to the success of reggae music internationally. It came right on the heels of a noticeable downturn in mento music, Jamaica’s first commercially recorded...

Published:Sunday | October 6, 2019 | 12:24 AMRoy Black

Jamaica’s earliest music pioneers on the international circuit were Owen Gray, Laurel Aitken, Wilfred ‘Jackie’ Edwards, Millie Small, and the calypsonian, Lord Flea. The name ‘Millie Small’ may perhaps be the best known owing to the immense...

Published:Sunday | September 29, 2019 | 12:16 AMRoy Black

Blindness has oftentimes been linked to the success of recording artistes in popular music. Many music aficionados subscribe to the theory that when one sense is impaired, the others develop at a faster rate, and this may be a contributing factor....

Published:Sunday | September 22, 2019 | 12:31 AMRoy Black

Excelsior High School, situated along Mountain View Avenue in St Andrew, stands tall as the alma mater of iconic Jamaican folklorist, actress and author, the Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverley. It was at that institution, in 1939, that Louise...

Published:Sunday | September 15, 2019 | 12:15 AMRoy Black

Nine-eleven is a popular term used to describe the September 11, 2001, attacks by militant terrorist extremists,against United States (US) targets, which left some 3,000 persons dead, the vast majority of whom were innocent citizens. In Jamaica...

Published:Sunday | September 8, 2019 | 12:16 AMRoy Black

The eighty-first birth anniversary of the late iconic Jamaican singer Alton Ellis, which occurred last Sunday, revives memories of a man whose contribution to Jamaica’s popular music remains unmatched. One of the memories that has often been...

Published:Sunday | September 1, 2019 | 12:24 AMRoy Black

Although not being considered a legitimate Jamaican music genre and having just an ephemeral lifespan, Latin rhythms occupied a very important space in Jamaican popular music during its formative years. Providing stiff competition to the other...

Published:Sunday | August 25, 2019 | 12:21 AMRoy Black

Bob Marley and The Wailers came to real international prominence in the early 1970s through the release of eight albums – Catch a Fire, Burning, Natty Dread, Rastaman Vibration, Exodus, Kaya, Survival, and Uprising – produced by music mogul Chris...

Published:Sunday | August 18, 2019 | 12:13 AMRoy Black

In the years following 1962, while Jamaica was still basking in the euphoria of Independence celebrations, The Beatles were kicking up a storm on the other side of the Atlantic. With 20 No.1 hits to their credit, they became the biggest sensation...

Published:Sunday | August 11, 2019 | 12:29 AMRoy Black

Kingston High School, situated at 172 King Street in Kingston, was once a fertile breeding ground for a myriad outstanding Jamaican vocalists in popular music, many of whom went on to achieve international acclaim. The hitherto unexplained...

Published:Sunday | August 4, 2019 | 12:12 AMRoy Black

Derrick Morgan’s call for unity in his ska recording, Forward March, done in late 1962, was a most important directive in song that ought to have been embraced by the nation, which a couple months earlier had decided to determine its own destiny by...

Published:Sunday | July 28, 2019 | 12:12 AMRoy Black

The month of July is littered with the birthdates of outstanding Jamaican entertainers who have made invaluable contributions to the development of early Jamaican popular music. One such is Roy Shirley, who was born in Kingston on July 18, 1944....

Published:Sunday | July 21, 2019 | 12:13 AMRoy Black

Last Monday, July 15, marked the 69th anniversary of the birth of the late, legendary, Jamaican singer Gregory Isaacs. Dubbed ‘The Cool Ruler”, nine years after his passing, he is living up to his moniker as his hits still rule, causing Isaacs to...

Published:Sunday | July 14, 2019 | 12:09 AMRoy Black

Dennis Brown was just 12, going on 13, when he emerged on the entertainment scene in a most unusual way. He grew up with his father, Arthur, a scriptwriter and actor who took young Dennis along with him to many of his performances. The influence of...

Published:Sunday | July 7, 2019 | 12:19 AMRoy Black

History will record that Jamaica, too, had its brand of calypso. It became known as mento. The genre has been given scant respect by musicologists and music aficionados, perhaps because it emerged at a time when the Jamaican music industry was not...

Published:Sunday | June 23, 2019 | 12:11 AMRoy Black

Between 1960 and 1967, Prince Buster tread a musical path that many may find difficult to follow. He announced his intention to dominate the recording and sound system businesses in Jamaica from as early as 1961, when he warned in the recording...

Published:Sunday | June 9, 2019 | 12:17 AMRoy Black

Group singing became a very dominant feature of early Jamaican popular music during the ’60s. The most popular was the three-part harmony type demonstrated by the groups The Wailers, The Paragons, The Techniques, The Melodians, The Jamaicans, The...

Published:Sunday | June 2, 2019 | 12:22 AMRoy Black

Edward Seaga had a multifaceted career that traversed anthropological endeavours, politics, music, and sports. But contrary to what many may think, his greatest ambition as a youngster was to become a nuclear physicist. He explained this when I...

Published:Sunday | May 26, 2019 | 12:19 AMRoy Black

The contribution to Jamaica made by entertainers whose origins lie outside of our shores is not well documented in Jamaica’s music history. Jamaica’s rich musical heritage, however, owes a lot to these aliens. Two of the earliest to have made...

Published:Sunday | May 19, 2019 | 12:13 AMRoy Black

Electric Boogie is one of several recordings that inspired a dance move. Earlier, there was ‘ The Stroll’ by The Diamonds in ’57, Three years later, Chubby Checker rocked the world with The Twist, which also inspired a dance move of the same name...

Published:Sunday | May 12, 2019 | 12:22 AMRoy Black

Jamaica has a rich legacy of songwriting talents in popular music. To many, Bob Marley may be the first to come to mind. But whereas Marley wrote mainly in prose, there were others who delved deep into rhythmic poetry to express their innermost...

Published:Sunday | May 5, 2019 | 12:09 AMRoy Black

Alerth Bedasse, one of the main exponents of mento music, and his sidekick Everard Williams, a mento songwriting genius, have a lot to say about the resistance meted out by the government of the day and other stakeholders to the lyrics of their...

Published:Sunday | April 28, 2019 | 12:17 AMRoy Black

Jamaica has given the world six major genres of music: mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub, and dancehall. That is nothing short of amazing when one considers the island’s geographical size and population. Most countries of comparable size in the...

Published:Sunday | March 31, 2019 | 2:27 AMRoy Black

The practice in Jamaica of political parties using popular recordings as campaign songs to bolster their campaigns has become widespread over the years. Perhaps the earliest instance was in 1960 when Clancy Eccles (one of the earliest Studio One...

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