Archive for the ‘Prince Buster’ Category

Dave & Ansil Collins

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Listen: Double Barrel / Dave & Ansil Collins

Once Desmond Dekker & The Aces’ ‘Israelites’ became a US hit in ’68, occasional ska tracks began getting domestic releases, usually on small indies. Occasionally, as with Johnny Nash or Prince Buster, a major might take a chance, but not often.

Such was the case with Dave & Ansil Collins ‘Double Barrel’. Future Atlantic subsidiary Big Tree, then funded by Apmex Tape, took a shot, so to speak and ended up with a #22 US hit. And believe me, it cleansed the ear palate when it hit the airwaves back then, the song sounded fantastic.

By this time, I was blagging risqué RnB, soul and English rock singles every Friday evening from the local easy listening station, WMCR, who had absolutely no use for them, and certainly no use for ska. Half the fun of the impending weekend for me was tearing out of school right after last period and biking it to the station, rain, sleet or snow. Nothing stood between me and those 45′s. My pile was always waiting, and the anticipation was a buzz in itself. Size did matter here, the bigger the stack, the better.

Other than the evening DJ, and station owner Mrs. Warner, the place was deserted. She’d encourage me to sit in their production studio, complete with two turntables, full broadcast board, headphones, microphone, the works and just play the pile to my heart’s content. Clearly she got a charge out my hysteria for the records, and told me such many times through the years. Honestly, I don’t think records have ever again sounded as good as they did in that fluorescently lit, climate controlled, new equipment, newly pressed vinyl scented studio so many years ago.

Like when this would come on the air of the local Top 40′s after charting nationally, that first listen in the WMCR studio just wiped clean my ears. Ska, blue beat and reggae were in short supply then.

Listen: Double Barrel (Instrumental) / Dave & Ansil Collins

My first knee jerk about the infamous instrumental B sides were that we were getting burned. I recall the flip to Napoleon XIV’s ‘They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Haa!’ being the A side backwards. If ever there was an act I wanted to hear another song by, it was him, so it seemed cheating. Same with all those Philles B sides. No Ronettes or Crystals on the flips, instead dreadful instrumentals that took me years to appreciate. And so with this, on first look, I was annoyed.

Turns out the much anticipated dub B side was just ahead, and this instrumental ended up getting played almost as much as the A side that night, and at home. In fact, I probably choose it on the jukebox 2 to 1 over the A.

Prince & Princess Buster

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

PrincessBuster, Prince & Princess Buster, RCA, Prince Buster

Listen: Ten Commandments From Woman To Man / Prince & Princess Buster

The Sonny & Cher of Ska, or is it the other way around. Novelty call and response records were in grand abundance back in 60′s Jamaica. And the mere thought of a street tough wise ass boyfriend cowering when his lady, the true boss in the house, starts whomping on him was too great to resist, on record and most definitely in real life.


Monday, May 25th, 2009

Ain't That Saying A Lot / Prince Buster

Listen: Ain't That Saying A Lot / Prince Buster AintThatSaying.mp3

There is more to say about Cecil Bustamente Campbell, aka Prince Buster, than there is time to write about him. His influence on the history of Jamaican pop music is undeniable. He was the first to bring a Nyabinghi Rasta drum troop (Count Ossie & The Wariekas) down from the hills & into the studio to provide African percussion on his debut single production, ‘Oh Carolina’ / ‘Chubby’ for the Folkes Brothers in 1960. He went on to be at the forefront of the music scene when Jamaica gained her independence in 1962, and the country took as its musical signature, a shuffle rhythm & blues beat heard on the radio from New Orleans. They sped it up & created ska. His biggest hit was ‘Ten Commandments From Man To Woman’ in ’67, which was even a minor hit here in the USA. He continued making & releasing music into the ’70s, and still plays the odd one off gig today. (‘tho he stiffed the sold-out NYC crowd I was part of in the late ’90s, by coming into town but then not showing up at the club).

While I think I recall hearing the ‘Ten Commandments’ on Top 40 radio in the 60′s, and heard him memorialized by The Specials & Madness in the late ’70s ska revival days, I didn’t really get turned on to Prince Buster until the early ’90s. I was junk shopping on Canal St in NYC. An old Jamaican junk dealer had a little cassette player on his table & was playing a home made tape of his fave Prince Buster songs. My ear kept getting drawn to the tape player as I poked around his stuff, & so I asked him who it was. Minutes later, I’d talked him into selling me the tape. No song credits, nothing written on it but “Prince Buster Mix” in ballpoint blue. One song stood out for its smooth vocals, fantastic drum sound, and the uncommon addition of a violin. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a violin in reggae since. I went on a mission to find out what that song was. Only about half of it was on the tape.

Some years later I was on a video shoot in Tennessee, where a hurricane had turned our location into a rainy swamp. As a result we had the day off, so we went into the little town to poke around. I found a mint copy of Prince Buster’s TEN COMMANDMENTS LP for $6.00 in a little thrift store. When I got back to Brooklyn & played it, there was my unnamed song – ‘Aint That Saying a Lot’. A few years later I was in a garage sale with Kevin when I found a white label 7″ of his followup single, ‘Ten Commandments From Woman To Man’. Flipping it over I was delighted to find that my fave track had made it to a B side.