A Special Tribute to the Godfather of Authentic Reggae Music
An individual who makes any form of impact in his country and by extension, the world will command the respect of his or her contemporaries; the people who appreciate the work of such a person. The influence of this person may be such that it helps to change the way we do things, in this case, we refer to music and in particular, Jamaica’s Reggae music which is renowned globally through the efforts of the late great record producer extraordinaire, ‘Sir Coxsone’.
The contributions of Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd (OD) to Jamaican music is phenomenal; his production skills nothing less than remarkable; a man who has a natural ear for hit songs. His famed Studio One label dominated the Jamaican music scene for 50 years. Whether the genre was Ska, Rocksteady or present day Reggae, the name Studio One is cemented in the history books. ‘Sir Coxsone’ passed away on Tuesday 4 May, 2004 at the age of 72 having suffered a heart attack at his Studio One complex and pronounced dead on arrival at the Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston. Incidentally, on Friday 30 April 2004, he was honoured by the City of Kingston when ‘Brentford Road’ was renamed ‘Studio One Boulevard’; a well attended Civic ceremony where the Mayor of Kingston, His Worship Desmond McKenzie and Finance Minister, Dr. Omar Davies MP, presided.
‘Sir Coxsone Downbeat’ Sound System used to rule the Dance halls of the ‘50s and as such pioneered the development and establishment of authentic Jamaican music. He played Be-bop and Jazz at his parents’ liquor store in Kingston but being a young man who wanted to make it on his own; he registered as a farmer worker and went to the United States. As a lover of all music, he was influenced by the American Rhythm & Blues; he brought back home scores of 45 rpm vinyl and his Sound System became the centrepiece of his musical arsenal whilst ‘Clashing’ with other Sounds. The year was 1963 when he opened his studios at13 Brentford Road in Kingston, Jamaica. The music from Studio One gained worldwide recognition as Sir Coxsone worked with the best of Jamaica’s musicians and recording artists including Soul Vendor, Don Drummond, Roland Alphanso, Jackie Mitto, Ernest Ranglin, Tommy McCook, The Skatalites, Joe Higgs, John Holt & The Paragon, Keith ‘Slim’ Smith, Bob Andy, Wailing Souls, Toots & The Maytals, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Delroy Wilson, Alton Ellis, Pat Kelly, Ronnie Davis, Ken Boothe, Millie Small, a young Dennis Brown, Freddie McGregor, Marcia Griffiths and the list goes on.
To date, Sir Coxsone’s famous ‘one drop’ riddims have been reproduced more often by present day producers than any other in the history of Jamaican music. The Studio One era is, without a shadow of doubt, the most inspirational and memorable time; a time when the originality and creative minds of musicians and artists alike thrived and so constructed meaningful, timeless music. ‘Studio One’ is a name that will live on for generations to come embracing and enhancing all music genres: long lives the legacy of the ‘Studio First’….