“One good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain.”

Bob Marley (1945 – 1981)

Music has always played an important role in all our lives, especially Reggae, the music genre first developed in Jamaica, strongly influenced by traditional African, American jazz and old-time rhythm and blues.  Reggae owes its direct origins to the progressive development of Ska and Rocksteady in 1960s Jamaica.   Each month, THE MUSICAL COA-COA BASKET will salute the legendary artists and recording studios from out of Jamaica that have placed reggae on the musical global map.



Women have taken integral roles throughout the Studio One empire, starting with Doris Darlington, mother of Clement Dodd.

Sir Coxson’s Downbeat Sound System which ruled the dance halls of Kingston Jamaica throughout the 1950s and 60s, started off as the musical entertainment for customers of Mrs Darlington’s Nannys Bar; and Coxsone sometimes referred to his mother as ‘Jamaica’s first female DJ’, as she would play records at the bar whenever he was on trips to the US, hunting down R ‘n’ B records.  As the Downbeat Sound System grew larger, Mrs Darlington would often work a food stall on the night.  When Brentford Road studios opened in the early 60s, Mrs Darlington continued to run a food stall for workers, artists and musicians in the yard and she also ran a canteen at the back of the studio.

Studio One in Kingston Jamaica was like Tamla Motown in Detroit USA.  Its chief record producer Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd, (who died of a heart attack in 2004 aged 72), nurtured the careers of nearly every internationally renowned reggae artist, songwriter and players of instruments, for example: Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, Jennifer Lara, Dawn Penn; not forgetting Bob Marley and the original Wailers (Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh), John Holt, Dennis Brown and Bob Andy to name a few.  Clement Dodd was one of the first to record local talent, and an integral force in the development of Ska.  He was also, (by way of his sound system Coxson Downbeat), the first to introduce the DJ or ‘Toaster’ to the dance hall.  The first being Count Machuki, followed by King StittTHE MUSICAL COA-COA BASKET will do a special about the ‘Toasters’ in the forth-coming  months.

The haunting rhythm tracks created from the Brentford Road Studios A.K.A Studio One, or as some say: ‘Studio First’, still sound good today as they did back then…

So in the words of the legendary Coxson Downbeat ‘Toaster’ King Stitt who always chanted these words through the microphone

“No matter what the people say, these sounds lead the way.

It’s the order of the day, from your boss DeeJay!”



Angela Prince – No Bother With No Fuss, Angela Prince – You A Fool Boy, Ben Bow – Mama Lulu, Cecile Campbell – Whisper To Me, Claudette Mclean – Give Love Another Try, Dawn Penn – No No No, Denise Darlington – War No Right, Hortense Ellis – I’m Just A Girl, Jay Tees – Come To Me, Jennifer Lara – Consider me, Jerry Jones  – There’s A Chance For Me, Marcia Griffiths – Feel Like Jumping, Marcia Griffiths – Let Me Hold You Tight, Marcia Griffiths – Let Me Be Yours, Myrna Hague – What About Me, Rita Marley and The Soulettes – You’re My Desire, The Tonettes – I’ll Give It To You.

‘Til next month – Everyting Bless’

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