DUKE REID (b. 1915 - † 1974-5)
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1962 - Trojan - studio - discs:1
Arthur "Duke" Reid was born in 1915 in Port Antonio (Portland Parish). He worked in the Police force but one day around mid '50s he opened a liquor store called Treasure Isle Liquor Store with his wife, kept his firearms by his belt, and things changed forever. The famous liquor store was initially based in Pink Lane, Kingston and later moved to 33 Bond street. In the years 1956 - 58 he was crowned "King Of Sounds And Blues" at the Success Club in Kingston's Wildman Street. His Sound System was protected by bad men, former connections of Reid during his Police days. Those "enforcers" used to sabotage the rivals Sounds and some gunplay also occurred. In the beginning the music played was basecally 78 rpm American Rhythm & Blues but as the decade endedr Jamaicans operators started to produce and cut their own rhythms. These recordings were acetates only but due to their success they were soon released on vinyl. During the same period he also sponsored "Treasure Isle Time", a radio show advertising his liquor store. Between 1959 and 1960 Duke's activity is reduced to nothing but in 1960 he was back with the hit "Rough And Tough", credited to Wilbur "Stranger" Cole and allegedly written by one Lee Perry! In the early days of Ska "Stranger" Cole was one of his greatest hitmakers ("Rough And Tough" was maybe the hit of the hits). Along with his rival Clement Dodd, Reid was seminal in pushing the Skatalites to success. The Duke ran three labels: Treasure Isle, Dutchess and Trojan (after the trucks he used to carry his equipment around). In 1964 Reid opened his own recording studio on top of the liquor store in Bond street, called Treasure Isle Recording Studio. For the following ten years some incredible music was cut there with Byron "Baron Smithy" Smith as the resident engineer. The majority of the Ska recordings were done by The Skatalites and when the super group split in 1965, Tommy McCook and The Supersonics became the house band. The rest of the former Skatalites went to Sir Coxsone Dodd as the Soul Brothers. In 1966 Reid moved to the new Rocksteady sounds producing some beautiful material. The great Rocksteady groups all cut in the wood made, warm sounds, Tresure Isle studio based in Bond St: the Tecniques, the Jamaicans, the Three Tops, the Sensations, the Silvertones, Justin Hinds & The Dominoes, the Melodians, the Conquerors and the Paragons. In 1968 the sounds started to change again and a new generation of producers, including Bunny Lee and Lee Perry came on the scene. In 1968 King Tubby was at Duke's studio, mistakenly the voice was not mixed in and things changed forever in the history of Jamaican music. The "version" phenomenon exploded. Slowly DJs took the stage. Perry worked for Duke for a single called "Lock Jaw", released in 1969 and credited to the Upsetter, the song featured Dave Barker. In 1970 U-Roy and the Duke deliverd three seminal hits: "Wake The Town", "Wear You To The Ball" and "Rule The Nation". The following "Version Galore" album was a huge success. As Early Reggae took the stage, Reid continued to produce strong material but he did not reach the success of the 60's. In 1974 he died. This twentysix tracks collection present some strong material cut in 1962. Most of them are rehearsals or second takes, but there lies their pureness. All the tracks were cut at Federal Studio, a few years before the Duke opened his own Tresure Isle. It seems that Baba Brooks arranged the compositions. Enjoy some early Ska at full effect.