Bio: Clement Seymour Dodd aka “Sir Coxsone”, along with Duke Reid are both accredited for the growth, development, and worldwide social acceptance of Reggae music. You name the artist, young or old, there’s a good chance that they’ve voiced themselves over one of his rhythm tracks at some point of their recording careers: Bob Marley & The Wailers, Burning Spear, Dennis Brown, Johnny Osbourne, Leroy Sibbles, Jackie Mittoo, Sugar Minott, Freddie McGregor, Toots & The Maytals, Cornell Campbell, Derrick Morgan, The Skatalites, Delroy Wilson, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe…..the list really does goes on and on….One cannot have any form of discussion on Reggae music without mentioning Mr. Dodd, who got his moniker from a Yorkshire English cricket player.
At 22, and being a mobile and studio Sound System operator, Coxsone was heavily influenced by the music he heard when he traveled frequently to the United States to buy popular music like Jazz, Big Band music, Soul/Rhythm & Blues. In America he often visited places like New York and Chicago. He frequently visited record stores in Chicago, Harlem, and Brooklyn searching for the latest sounds of bee-bop, boogie-woogie, jazz, soul, merengue, and even Afro-Cuban music. These musical genres inspired him to expand traditional Jamaican music like mento and island folk into a modern Jamaican sound.
During the late 50’s, obtaining popular R & B records was difficult. By owning and operating his own mobile sound system called “Sir Coxsone, The Down Beat”, Dodd was able to construct a “new” Jamaican sound initially made available on dup-plate (1 song with accompanying music recorded exclusively for a producer) and play it to the communities at many functions. This new sound amplified to higher sound levels enabled his listening audience to “feel” the music instead of just listening to it. Dodd’s Sir Coxsone frequently competed in live mobile sound clashes with Duke Reid “The Trojan” playing the more popular hits of the day.
His first label was called Worldisc, and the first records he produced were “Destiny” – Lascelles Perkins, “My Baby” – Jackie Estick, “Lumumba”– Bunny & Skitter, “Time To Pray” – Basil Gabbidon & The Mellow Sharks, “Marjie” – Aubrey Adams & The Dewdroppers, “Easy Snappin” – Theophilius Beckford and “Shufflin’ Jug” – Clue J & His Blues Blasters, in 1955. Coxsone used the experience of band leader Cluet Johnson (who is credited with coining the term “Ska”), Roland Alphonso - Saxaphone, Herman Sands – Piano, Ken Williams – Drums, and famous Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander (another inductee in the Caribbean Hall of Fame). This was the birth of Ska.
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