Rupert Lloyd Edwards was the only child born on 4th July 1945 in Goshen,
in the parish of St. Ann's ("The best parish
in Jamaica" according to Rupie) to Lilian and Charles.
Rupie Edwards has music in his blood: from an early age he can remember
making a guitar out of bamboo or a pumpkin vine saxophone and being
in school bands and choirs.
His foray into the music business began when he was 14 or 15 where
he used to hang out with others future stars (who had yet to make
their mark on the local scene) including John Holt and Pat Kelly.
His first recording was "Guilty Convict"
b/w "Just Because" recorded
for L.S. "Little Wonder" Smith
in 1962, released on Melodisc's famous Blue Beat label in the UK
and was paid £15 for the session. The follow-up was a duo
with future Technique Junior Menz entitled
"Mother's Choice" b/w "Amen"
recorded, he believes for producer Harry J. Harry J, who later became
famous for his productions such The Beltones' "No
More Heartaches", Lloyd Robinson's "Cuss
Cuss" and The Harry J All Stars "Liquidator",
was the manager of a 17 piece touring band call The Virtues (a name
later adopted by a singing group put together by Rupie of ex-members
of the main band). The line-up included singers Lloyd Robinson,
Basil Gabbidon (famous during the Ska days), guitarist/singer Eric
Frater and the loving pauper himself, Dobby Dobson.
Rupie began work as a producer in earnest during mid 1968, where
Rock Steady was just turning into (early) Reggae and his earliest
works such as The Mediators' (aka The Itals) "Look
Who A Bust Style", The Concords' "I
Need Your Loving" as well as many of the songs featured
on this album are ground breaking for the time they were recorded.
He also found time to play on other sessions including back up vocals
and piano, and says that it is he who is playing organ on the bizarre
Lee Perry produced Upsetters instrumental, "Clint
He worked extensively with two main studio engineers; Syd Bucknor
and producer/engineer Linford "Andy Capp"
Anderson both of whom can be heard on many of the featured tracks.
In fact, it was Syd Bucknor who transferred this very compilation
from the original master tapes to DAT. Linford Anderson's contribution
to Jamaican music is enormous, engineering most of the recordings
at Byron Lee's Dynamic Studios during the golden era of 1968-71,
including the majority of Leslie Kong's most famous hits such as
"Israelites". His engineering
and mixing styles are distinctive as they often feature extra delay
and effects that were 3 to 4 years ahead of their time. He can truly
be hailed as one of the inspirators for the dub mixers.
Rupie Edwards' early rhythms were bubbly and upbeat, with a magical
interplay of drum, bass, chopping rhythm guitar and rasp, backed
up by organ and that picky-plucky sound of the dead string lead
guitar. The music is clean and fresh even to this day and, like
many other producers of the time, has a familiar feel yet a sound
of it's own. Many of the songs on this album don't have solos, just
a space for the rhythm to 'breathe'. Rupie wasn't conscious of this
when asked, but just acknowledged that it sounded good at the time
and went with it. This technique, a hang over from the Rock
Steady days, is sighted by some as the paving of the way for the
advent of Dub music.
In 1966 he met Harry Palmer (of Pama Records) in Jamaica and in
a separate meeting, another Graeme Goodall, who was setting up the
Dr. Bird/Pyramid label group as an outlet for Jamaican music in
Britain, who was at the time, the back-up engineer at Studio One,
when Coxsone's cousin Sylvan Morris wasn't available. Both encounters
led to his music being released in the UK, with the Pama label issuing
his productions on their dedicated label, Success. The logo for
this label was designed by Paul Khouri, the son of Ken Khouri, the
owner of the Federal Studios, which he later sold to Bob Marley
(who re-christened it Tuff Gong). When asked why none his work appeared
on the early "Tighten Up"
series volumes, he explained that his working relationship with
Trojan didn't start until late 1969 / early 1970, thereby missing
|RUPIE EDWARDS ALL STARS OF 1968-69:
The original line of the Rupie Edwards All Stars, formed in late
1968, featured a magical line-up of post-Skatalites house hold names,
all of which were omnipresent on recordings at the time and who
would go on to play pivotal roles in Jamaican music. The band play
it fast and raucous and have a rounder, smoother sound than their
main rivals, The Hippy Boys. Rupie's productions such as "Look
Who A Bust Style", "Buttoo", "Love Is A Wonderful
Wicked Thing" are typical of their style - the interplay
of Gladdy Anderson's piano, Winston Wright's pumping organ on rhythm
(or wailing during a riff), the upbeat drums, the broken bass lines,
the loose guitar chops all come together to start Rupie off in the
right direction. What follows is a brief summary of each of the
main players :
GLADSTONE "GLADDY" ANDERSON (PIANO) was,
with Jackie Mittoo, the first choice pianist for such sessions.
He came to prominence as a vocalist working predominantly for producers
Joe Gibbs including the massive hit "Just
Like River" (a duet with Stranger Cole) and for Alvin
"GG" Ranglin (usually as part of a duo or trio with the
members of The Maytones, such as "Little
Boy Blue", with Vernon Buckley) and with his band the
Gladdy All Stars, as an early incarnation of Lee Perry's Upsetters
(recording the organ parts on "Eight For
Eight", "Return Of Django"
and "Dollar In The Teeth")
. He later went on to record enough tracks for two albums worth
of his material for Spanish Town producer Harry Mudie over some
older Mudie's rhythms.
WINSTON WRIGHT (ORGAN) was another premier session man who specialised
in the Hammond Organ. He worked extensively during the Rock Steady/early
Reggae period of 1967-71 recording for a variety of producers. He
came to prominence with Duke Reid's Supersonics band, but worked
with virtually every producer of note (save Studio One). However,
his best known work "Liquidator"
(for Harry J) doesn't even credit him (just as The Harry J All Stars).
He went on to record on literally thousands of sides, sometimes
playing most of the instruments on the session himself !) through
the seventies and eighties until his untimely death in the mid 1990s.
HUGH MALCOLM (DRUMS) was a drummer during the Ska days - he was
the one who would play the manic drum riffs as if bullets were flying
off of his sticks. Singer, Producer and organ/piano player Lloyd
Charmers once recounted that Hugh was the only man in Jamaica who
could smoke ganja legally for medical reasons, and was once seen
asking a policeman for a light for his spliff !! His style is rock
solid and fast, and differed from one of the other great Jamaican
drummers of the time, Carlton 'Carlie' Barrett, whose own style
was more jazzy and who incorporated more fills and rolls in his
CLIFTON 'JACKIE' JACKSON (BASS). Another musician who came to prominence
from his work in Duke Reid's Supersonics band. A Jamaican musical
giant (literally too, as he is over 6' 4") who played on countless
sessions of the time for producers Derrick Harriott, Clancy Eccles,
Leslie Kong and "GG" Ranglin to name but a few. His picture
adorns the front cover of the "Greater
Jamaica - Moon Walk - Reggay" album showing him playing
his Fender Jazz Bass. He, along with Winston Wright and others,
eventually became part of Toots and The Maytals touring band in
RANFOLD "RANNY BOP" WILLIAMS (LEAD GUITAR). Lead Guitarist
and Producer, Ranny "Bop" played with The Hippy Boys as
well as producing numerous songs in Jamaica and the UK during the
late sixties and early seventies period, and was noted for his clean
style of guitar playing. He currently plays lead guitar with the
world touring Wailers Band.
BONGO HERMAN & LES DAVIES (HAND DRUMS / PERCUSSION) were brothers
and overt Rastafarians and sessioned for many producers of the era
including Derrick Harriott (for their tunes "We
Are Praying" and "Know Far
I"), Clive "Azul" Hunt ("Thunderstorm"),
Harry J ("African Breakfast"),
Harry Mudie, as well as with Lloyd 'The Matador' Daley, Jah Lloyd,
Joe Gibbs, Niney and Rupie himself ("Dew
Of Herman" on the "My Conversation"
rhythm). They are pictured on the back of The Crystalites'
1970 "Undertaker" album jacket
and sowed the seeds for the Roots & Culture era, in the 1970s,
that was to come.
KARL "CANNONBALL" BRYAN (ALTO. SAX) A legend in his own
right, playing in the dance bands of the 40s and 50s Jamaica. He
recorded during the Ska era with the ultra rare vocal side, "Ska
Is Here To Stay", but really came to be noticed on tracks
like "Fireball" (Bunny Lee),
"I'm So Proud" with guitarist
Lynn Tait (for Charles Ross), "Black Up",
"Everyday Skank" and "Bad
Treatment" (C.S. Dodd), "Red
Ash" (Duke Reid), "Wha-pen"
and "Soul Scorcher" (Harry
J), "Waking The Dead" and
"Run For Your Life" (Harry
Mudie), "Thunderstorm" (Linford
'Andy Capp'Anderson). His squeaky style lends itself to the ears
and is prevalent on many of the tracks on this compilation.
LYNFORD "HUX" BROWN (RHYTHM & LEAD GUITAR). Yet again,
a session man of note playing as part of The Dynamites, The Crystalites
and is responsible for that twangy dead string sound which, along
with Ansell Collins organ playing, made Leslie Kong's 1969-71 material