Jamaican 78s

The Down Beat illustrations are a Jamaican release of an American R&B tune. This label was owned by Dada Tuari and was used to release home grown productions as well as licencing American product.

Caribou was another Tuari label. The two releases illustrated, by Lord Tanamo and Count Lasha respectively both date from around 1959.

The Mercury label was probably licenced from the US company of the same name. Slow Walk was a big hit for tenor saxophonist Sil Austin in the USA in 1956.

The Kalypso label was owned by Ken Khouri though Night Food by Alert Bedasse is actually a very early Duke Reid production. Khouri established the first recording Studio in Jamaica, Federal, and the first pressing plant known simply as Records Ltd.

Stanley Motta’s MRS label issued the first Jamaican popular recordings as early as 1952. As Jamaica had no record pressing plant at this time the earliest sides were manufactured in the UK and then shipped back to Jamaica. MRS was the most prolific label in Jamaica in the 50’s with up to 100 sides being issued.

Penny Reel and Chambolina by Lord Power & The Calypso Quintet on Trojan circa 1958 (the Penny Reel label shown in two colours). These are supposedly the first productions by Arthur “Duke” Reid, though Night Food/Walk And Talk on Kalypso would also be a contender for this particular honour.

Ivan Chin was another early pioneer of the Jamaican Recording industry with his Chin’s label with many releases from around 1954 onwards. Note on Red Tomato a very early example of an off centre label, this has become something of a cherished tradition within the Jamaican Recording industry.

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