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Coxsone Dodd of Studio One dies

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by slam, May 7, 2004.

  1. slam

    slam Guest

    Mar 22, 2000
    Coxsone Dodd was the force behind Studio One in Jamaica. The major force in Jamaican music for many years. Here is the obituary from the New York Times:

    May 6, 2004

    Coxsone Dodd, 72, Pioneer of the Jamaican Pop Music Scene, Dies

    Coxsone Dodd, the record producer and entrepreneur who helped invent the Jamaican music industry, died on Tuesday night at his studio in Kingston. He was 72.

    The cause was a heart attack, said his daughter Carol Dodd.

    Mr. Dodd was best known as the force behind Studio One, a record label he started in 1963; in the years that followed, Studio One released some of the most influential and enduring Jamaican records of all time. His popular tracks were endlessly recycled and rerecorded, often without his knowledge or permission, in a musical tradition built on borrowing and collaborating.

    Mr. Dodd ran a record shop on Fulton Street in Brooklyn, Coxsone's Music City. But he maintained his studio in Kingston, on a street known until recently as Brentford Road. During a ceremony held last Friday, Brentford Road was renamed Studio One Boulevard.

    Two days before the ceremony, Mr. Dodd told The Jamaica Observer, "It is a wonderful tribute to my contribution to the industry and my years in the business and it shows that my work is highly appreciated."

    Clement Dodd was born in Kingston and he began his career in the mid-1950's when he set up his own sound system. Sir Coxsone's Downbeat, as it was called, was his entry in the competition among other Jamaican sound systems to see who had the loudest speakers, who could get the best records and who could attract the most revelers.

    He was among the first to realize that instead of importing American R & B records, it might be more profitable to produce some Jamaican originals; soon, Jamaican records were outselling American imports.

    At one point, Mr. Dodd was running no fewer than five record labels, including Studio One, and he assembled a remarkable roster of talent that included the Wailers, Bob Marley's first group, who released their hit "Simmer Down" on Studio One in 1963.

    Soon ska, the sweet and up-tempo Jamaican style that dominated the early 1960's, gave way to the styles called rocksteady and then reggae, each slower and tougher than its predecessor.

    Mr. Dodd kept pace, thanks in large part to session musicians like the keyboardist Jackie Mittoo and the bassist Leroy Sibbles.

    In the late 1960's, Studio One created a series of rhythm tracks, or "riddims," that would serve as the foundations of songs for decades to come. A 1967 instrumental track called "Real Rock," for example, quickly came to seem like part of reggae's DNA, as successive generations of singers and producers reworked the track.

    Mr. Dodd's daughter Carol remembers that the ubiquity of Studio One tracks like "Real Rock" was a mixed blessing for her father, who wasn't always compensated, or even acknowledged.

    Even as it made him proud, she said, he was concerned that he wasn't given credit.

    In addition to his daughter, Mr. Dodd is survived by six other children and by his wife, Norma Dodd.

    The reggae historian Rob Kenner, editor at large for Vibe magazine, compared Studio One to pioneering American labels like Stax Records. "The Studio One sound is kind of like Stax," he said. "It never gets exhausted."

    Mr. Dodd never fully embraced dance-hall reggae, the computerized, heavily percussive, sometimes-foul-mouthed style that has ruled reggae since the early 1980's.

    But he kept working, dividing his time between Kingston and Brooklyn while working on the Sisyphean task of figuring out exactly who owned the rights to which records. Just as Mr. Dodd claimed that lots of latter-day producers used his music without permission, some of the musicians who worked for him claimed that they had not been fairly compensated.

    But Chris Wilson of Heartbeat Records, who collaborated with Mr. Dodd on a series of releases and reissues, notes that Mr. Dodd was, above all, pleased to see that his music had stayed so fresh.

    Mr. Wilson said, "He was kind of amused by the fact that some of his songs are 25 or 30 years old and people were still, for the umpteenth time, rerecording them."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
    Eternal Day likes this.
  2. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central

    Thanks for the music!

  3. He passed away while at his studio. I find this fitting as he died doing what he truely loved and in an environment that was comfortable to him. I wish that when my time comes i can be as fortunate. :(