The Studio One Story
February 16, 2014 11:17 PM   Subscribe

The Studio One Story. 2. Described by Chris Blackwell as the Motown of Jamaica, or ‘The University of Reggae’, Studio One is where the careers of literally hundreds of reggae artists began: Bob Marley and the Wailers, Alton Ellis, The Heptones, Ken Boothe, The Skatalites, Burning Spear and Sugar Minott, to name but a few! Studio One is the ‘foundation’ label of Jamaican Reggae and Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd is seen by many as its father.

One and a half years in the making, Studio One Story is a truly unique documentary in which the late Clement Dodd gave unprecedented personal access to tell the previously untold story of how he and the many artists and musicians at Studio One literally shaped the rise of Reggae music from the 1950s onwards through to the late 1970s.

The documentary (including over an hour of extras) was filmed on location in Kingston, Jamaica and features interviews with Horace Andy, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Sugar Minott, Denis Alcapone, The Ethiopians, Sylvan Morris, Johnny Moore, Lone Ranger, King Stitt and many others. The DVD also includes rare footage of The Skatalites, Jackie Mittoo, Count Ossie, Marcia Griffiths and others.

Coxsone recounts the days when the sound system concept [wikipedia] first became popular in the 1950s, in the ghettos of Kingston. DJs would load up a truck with a generator, turntables, and huge speakers and set up street parties. In the beginning, the DJs played American rhythm and blues music, but as time progressed and more local music was created, the sound migrated to a local flavor.[1] The sound systems were big business, and represented one of the few sure ways to make money in the unstable economy of the area.

The popularity of a sound system was mainly contingent on one thing: having new music. In order to circumvent the release cycle of the American record labels, the two sound system superstars turned to record production. Initially, they produced only singles for their own sound systems, known as "Exclusives" or Dubplates - a limited run of one copy per song.[3] What began as an attempt to copy the American R&B sound using local musicians evolved into uniquely Jamaican musical genres: ska, rock steady, dub, and raggae. This shift was due partly to the fact that as American-style R&B was embraced by a largely white, teenage audience and evolved into rock and roll, sound system owners could no longer depend on a steady stream of the singles they preferred: fast-shuffle boogies and ballads. In response to this shift in supply, Jamaican producers introduced to their work some of the original elements of the Jamaican sound: rhythm guitars strumming the offbeat and snare-drum emphasis on the third beat, for example.[2] As this new musical form became more popular, both Dodd and his competitor and mentor Duke Reid began to move more seriously into music production. Coxsone Dodd's production studio became the famous Studio One, while Duke Reid founded Treasure Isle.
posted by Golden Eternity (3 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
Neat, I'm looking forward to watching this.

DJs would load up a truck with a generator, turntables, and huge speakers and set up street parties.

I think the loudest sound I have ever experienced in my life was getting stuck in a traffic jam directly next to Stone Love while they were doing a sound check in preparation for the evening. When you are five feet from those speakers turned all the way up, putting your hands over your ears does nothing. It is louder than God.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:41 AM on February 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Wow, what a documentary, clearly a labour of love. Thanks for posting.
I have also recently enjoyed Roots Rock Reggae - Inside the Jamaican Music Scene (1977)
posted by looeee at 4:12 AM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is good as well Reggae: The Story Of Jamaican Music BBC Documentary. Sister Ignacious is so awesome. This 'Skavangila' documentary has some good parts as well - Cecil the Banjo Man, legendary ska dancer Persion the Cat. Also, I really like this bit of Roland Alphonso soloing in Man On the Street. Another favorite Ska adaptation of mine - Peanut Vendor (Tommy McCook and Frankie Anderson). Well, there are so many I guess....
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:40 AM on February 24, 2014

« Older Hijacked flight lands in Geneva   |   Rocky Flats - From plutonium trigger factory to... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments