April 29, 2011, at 12:15 am

Looks like the Studio Two?

Freedom SoundOut now on seven inch single from Rock A Shacka; Roland Alphonso & The Skatalites – Freedom Sound/Norma Fraser – Every Body. I mentioned this release only the other day but this post is intended to round up and summarise the controversy it has caused and also, now I’ve received a copy, to review the release.

First the easy part. Freedom Sound is Studio One ska of the heighest order, previously only released on LP this first seven inch issue is well over due. Given the quality of the tune it’s difficult to understand why Clement Dodd never got around to putting this out on a single.

Freedom Sound

The Norma Fraser side is fine, nothing spectacular to these ears just a solid 1965 ska tune.

Any Way

As always the presentation of this release is quite superb, the usual Rock A Shacka quality means great mastering and pressing and a beautiful silk screened silver and black reproduction C&N label.

This will cost more than your average seven inch single but you’ll be paying for the very best. In Europe you can buy from Copasetic and possibly Honest Jon’s though it’s not listed on the latters website at the time of writing.


On Tuesday of this week Dubstore records, also based in Japan, put a statement on their blog saying that the release was a copyright infringement and had not been properly licenced.

Tommy from Rock A Shacka responded on his Facebook page saying the release was not a bootleg and had been properly licenced, he accused Dubstore of attempting to sabotage the release. A similar staement was made on the Rock A Shacka website that reiterated that the release is properly licenced and the accusation that it wasn’t was innacurate and appeared to be an attempt to sabotage the release.

Clement Coxsone Dodd’s daughter Carol Dodd also made a comment on Facebook that the release was a bootleg. Rock A Shaka stated that the release was licenced by her half brother Clement Dodd Junior and that he had re-confirmed that everyhthing was above board and legitimate.

Apparently Clement Dodd Junior upset his father when he released the Mojo Rocksteady LP on the Coxson Jr label in 1992 without permission. Coxsone Senior licenced an album of the same name with a very similar tracklist to Heartbeat Records in America in 1994. Both versions of the LP are superb.

Mojo RocksteadyIn May 2010 the Gleaner reported that a court battle between Clement Dodd Junior one one side and Carol and Norma Dodd (her mother and Coxsone Seniors wife) on the other had been resolved in Clement JR’s favour. This court case resulted from Clement Jr claiming that his name was wrongfully removed from his father’s will, this was opposed by Carol and Norma Dodd who insisted this was done intentionally. As Clement JR won the Gleaner reported that he would

“… have a part to play in his famous father’s company, where some of the biggest names in Jamaican popular music got their start. He will earn royalties through Jamrec, which handles Studio One’s publishing, and have a say in how the company’s vast catalogue will be marketed and distributed.”

When Carol Dodd was asked about this on Facebook her response was

“winning a court case giving you shares makes you a shareholder not a director … I am warning you all he is not a director and does not make representation on behalf of Jamaica Recording and Pub Studio”

This appears to contradict the Gleaner article which Carol suggested was factually incorrect.

What is clear is there is a deep division between Carol and Clement Dodd JR. This may account for why there has been little reissue activity from Studio One in the 11 months since the case was reportedly settled. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of each parties position this is a huge pity and hardly helps the legacy of Studio One records which you’d hope they would both be contributing towards.

Dubstore state on their website: “We have been the official Japanese agency for Studio One since September 2006” within that period they have released two singles (recorded in 2004). It’s unclear if they have an exlusive deal or if this could be considered legally binding.

There is no doubt that Rock A Shaka have made a contract in good faith with Clement Dodd JR. Dubstore obviously believe they are in the right but the accusation of sabotage against them will stand unless they can provide some firm evidence to back up their claims. On the basis of what is currently public knowledge both Japanese companies appear to be pawns in the ongoing bitter dispute between the siblings of Clement Dodd. Without sight of the will and a better understanding of the position of both Carol Dodd and Clement JR within Jamrec it’s impossible to determine the rights and wrongs of this sorry affair.

Could another court case be in the offing? Let’s hope not, the Studio One catalogue has been under exploited for far too long… we need more releases like Freedom Sound not more litigation and accusation.

5 comments to Looks like the Studio Two?

  • It should be noted that Rock A Shacka have previously released two CD’s of Studio 1 material which they later withdrew from market. Those titles, Rock A Shacka 6 and 7, were acknowledged to not have been properly licensed.
    Now they appear to have altered the title of their latest 45, Freedom Sound for “Freedom Sounds” and the credit, Roland Alphonso & The Skatalites for “Tommy McCook”, likely in order to avoid paying the song’s publisher, trombonist Calvin Cameron’s Cameron Music.
    So I don’t know that we need more releases like Freedom Sound, but a return to high quality, properly done Clement Dodd reissues is certainly overdue.

  • Alias

    Sad to read about the fussing and fighting. I just love Studio One music and would like to see more releases. I have a few releases from Rock A Shacka. Like them as much as the excellent Pirate’s(!) Choice. Didn’t know that vol 6 and 7 were suspicious. Dubstore is a fine label too. I hope Dodds and the japanese companies find some solution to this.

  • Al

    It’s difficult to tell from an MP3 but to me this sounds like it was mastered from a clean copy of the vinyl, not from master tape. If it appeared on a Coxsone LP the tape should be around, so I’m not so sure about your comment on the quality? Yes the label looks nice but that is the easy part. Is Coxsone Jr a full or half-brother to the other siblings? If he was Downbeat’s “jacket” as they say in Jamaica, that might explain some of the animosity. At any rate I’m on Junior’s side as he seems like the one most interested in actually getting the music out there, the rest of the Dodd family hasn’t done much since Coxsone Snr’s death.

  • I have been reading about the “Bootlegging” of Studio One music with great interest. The Artists/Singers compensations or lack of are not even mentioned. Carol Dodd, who is now managing “Studio One’s” massive catalogues and re-issues have never paid the Artists for their work. She is a thief who steals our music, re-issues them, claims publishing rights unlawfully…she is now calling others “Bootleggers?.”
    Regarding Tommy of Rockashaka, he needs to cultivate some professional integrity and stop stealing our music and start paying us for our work that he releases.
    He just released “Skatalites Freedom Sound” backed by my tune, “Everybody Loves a Lover” (Norma Fraser)..I have not been paid for that Tune and I want to be paid.
    Tommy of Rockashaka Label let me hear from you real soon or I will take legal action against you.

  • Tim P

    Many thanks for the comment Norma, it’s great to hear from you.

    If you don’t mind me asking what was your arrangement back in the 60’s with Studio One? We’re you paid a flat fee per tune or did you have a contract that promised royalties?


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