Studio One Roots Volume 1

Studio One Roots Volume 1

For those that do not know, Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One was the most important record label in the history of Jamaican music.  They were the Caribbean equivalent of Detroit’s Motown Records.  Initially formed as a sound system in the 1950s to promote his mother’s restaurant, Coxsone began recording his own music in the late 50s to off-set the unappreciated (by Jamaicans) change in music (from jump-blues to rock n roll) imported from the United States.  Under Dodd’s exacting influence (and sad indifference to proper publishing credits and financial transparency) Jamaican music exploded with creativity developing from an idiosyncratic imitation of American music into a unique sound that moved from ska to rocksteady and finally into reggae.  By the time of his death in 2004, the sound of Studio One was the bedrock of Jamaican music, its “riddims” endlessly versioned and universally loved throughout the globe.

While Coxsone Dodd was never a revolutionary nor a political radical or even a spiritual Rastafarian, he understood and respected his musicians and singers and their needs to express themselves both politically and spiritually.  As a businessman, he also understood the zeitgeist of the times and believed that “roots” or “conscious” music had the ability to sell.

A friend of mine, a great chef, has opened two restaurants in Montreal over the last couple years: Otto Yakitori and Bistro Otto.  About a year ago he requested me to make a mix for the restaurants of conscious music from Studio One starting with ska and rocksteady.  It took me awhile to do it, but I did!!!  And in two parts!  So, here is the first one:


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