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.


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