Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I'm nuts about labels that have their own sound. Labels like Sun, Chess, Stax and Motown, just to name a few. They don't necessarily define a genre, but they do define themselves as labels with distinct, consistent sounds of their own, particularly when they have their own studios. That's why I dig Coxsone Dodd, and practically everything he touched, so much. Dodd was the owner of Studio One, the most prolific reggae studio in the sixties and seventies. He had his own studio, his own house band, and his own, often copied, rhythms. He was so good at producing reggae hits, that he had over ten different record labels so Jamaican radio stations wouldn't shy away from the records fearing charges of favoritism. He gave a lot of reggae artists their first breaks, and while many would record elsewhere, most owe their musical identities to Dodd.

His chief competitor in the early years of rock steady and reggae was Duke Reid, who ran Treasure Isle records. But Dodd got consistently better results from the artists that the studios shared. Many attribute that to the differences in demeanor. Duke Reid was an ex-cop, who often wore a side arm in the studio, and was known to shoot into the studio ceiling when something pissed him off; and, being an ex-cop, he prohibited the smoking of weed by the musicians. Dodd, on the other hand, was more open minded, and chose to look the other way when the weed came out, which led to an entirely different creative process. Most reggae rhythms at the time were written in the studio, the results of in-studio jams; in the case of Studio One, loose jams.

Coxsone Dodd's adult life was all about music. It all started with a trip to the U.S. to work in the fields. He came back with R&B records, and began playing them at sound systems,. He then opened a recording studio, and a record store, and created multiple record labels. He discovered dozens of artists, and created rhythms still recycled today. He was there, from the beginning of ska, through rock steady and on into reggae, a key proponent of all. Even after he started to slow down in his later years, he moved to the U.S. and opened another record store. He is one of the most significant figures in history of reggae. In these parts, Coxsone Dodd is the man.

Here's a whole bunch of stuff from Dodd's Coxsone and Studio One labels. There's over 1400 cuts below, spanning decades, and that's just a small sampling. His discography is so vast that he didn't even have a complete list.

Soul Vendors - Swing Easy mp3 at Sous les Paves, la Plage
The Heptones - Pretty Loo mp3 at Mr. Brown I
Alton Ellis - I'm Still In Love mp3 at Undomondo
John Holt - A Love I Can Feel mp3 at Slang Editorial
Cornell Campbell - Ten to One mp3 at Daniel Johnson Writes
Bob Marley & the Wailers - Simmer Down mp3 at BobMarley.es
Salute to Studio One - City Cat Radio, 51 song mix mp3, or streaming podcast, at City Cat Radio/All Day Play FM
Studio One - Solid Gold Reggae Classics, 28 song mix (via Mediafire) at Vampyreverbi's
Studio One - 24 Studio One compilations, compiled by Soul Jazz at Skatagena Rude Klub. Download link locations posted (via MegaUpload). Each is 15-20 songs, about 400 cuts in all.
Coxsone mixes - 7 Mixes from Dodd's Coxsone label (via RapidShare), and a nice bio at The Pharoah's Den. NOTE: To download, click on "here" links, and then click "Continue to Rapidshare". Each mix is 20+ songs, about 150 in all.
Studio One Singles: Massive collection (roughly 850) at Studio One Singles: 7", 10" and 12" singles in 49 downloads, total 4.6 GB (via MediaFire) at Studio One Singles NOTE: Click on "SHOT!!!" at bottom of post for download access.
Studio One And Coxsone Dodd: The Cradle Of Reggae at YouTube
Downbeat Special - Extensive discography, with label & LP images
Lengthy bio, from the Village Voice 2001, reposted at Nice Up
Obituary at the Jamaican Gleaner

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

True, Tom! Clement Seymour "Sir Coxsone" Dodd, CD (Kingston, Jamaica, January 26, 1932 – May 5, 2004) STUUUUUUDIIIOOO OOONE!!!