Tuesday, July 10, 2007


No sé cómo me olvidé de ellos durante tanto tiempo.

In Jamaica in the mid-50's, a fledgling recording industry saw the birth of what became known as Ska. Created by fusing Boogie-Woogie Blues, R+B, Jazz, Mento, Calypso and African rythyms, Ska became the first truly Jamaican music and by the 60's all the vocalist were swarming to the studios to record their songs to this infectious new beat. Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Toots and the Maytals, Jimmy Cliff, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe are just a few of the names who came to record this new music, which coincided with the whole island's excitement about Jamaica's independence in 1962. The core musicians playing on most of these sessions saw the opportunity to play this music live to the public.Tommy McCook, Rolando Alphonso, Johnny Moore, Lester Sterling, Don Drummond, Lloyd Knibb, Lloyd Brevett, Jerry Haynes, and Jackie Mittoo began working together in 1963 and formed The Ska-talites in May 1964.

Spring 1964 The Skatalites record their first LP at Studio One in Kingston, Ska Authentic, and tour the island as the creators of Ska. Their recordings for various producers rule the airwaves, stations JBC and RJR, that is. Foremost among their producers were; Clement 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd, Arthur 'Duke' Reid, Cecil 'Prince Buster' Campbell, Vincent 'King' Edwards, Justin 'Phillip' Yap, Leslie Kong, Lindon Pottinger,Sonya Pottinger and Vincent 'Randy' Chin. The Skatalites led sessions with all the top artists and helped to break young talents such as Delroy Wilson, Desmond Dekker, The Wailers, Lee Perry, etc.

Fall 1964 Don Drummond's composition, "Man In The Street", enters the Top 10 in the UK. Trombonist Drummond is not only the Skatalites busiest composer, but the most prolific in all of Ska, with at least 200 tunes to his name by 1965.

January 1st 1965 Don Drummond is jailed for the murder of his girlfriend, Anita 'Marguerita' Mahfood. He is later convicted and remanded to the Bellevue Asylum.

August, 1965 The Skatalites play their last show. The break-up results in the formation of two supergroups, Rolando Alphonso and the Soul Vendors and Tommy McCook and the Supersonics.

Early 1967 Don Drummond's Ska-adaption of the theme to the film "The Guns Of Navarone" enters the UK Top 10.

May 6, 1969 Don Drummond dies at age 37 in the Bellevue Asylum.

June 1983 The Skatalites reform for a reunion performance at the Sunsplash festival in Montego Bay in July. Their show was a smashing success and the band played more concerts in Jamaica while weighing offers to tour abroad.

Los Skatalites siguen vivos y coleando.

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