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 Laurel Aitken the Godfarther of SKA.

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PostSubject: Laurel Aitken the Godfarther of SKA.   Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:20 pm

Laurel Aitken the Godfarther of SKA.




Laurel Aitken

was born in 1927 in Cuba and moved to West Kingston, Jamaica in
1938 with his family when he was eleven. He began his music career
in the 40's, singing songs in the Nat King Cole/Louis Jordan style
of that time. - and then cut his teeth on the sounds of R & B,
soul, calypso, mento - as well as his personal love: boogie. Singing
at the Glass Bucket Club and attending the roving sound systems
provided stomping grounds where Laurel began to develop and hone
his great talent for singing, dancing and generally attracting
an audience. Laurel cut several singles in the 50's, including
in 1957, the R&Bish "Roll, Jordan Roll." Laurel's big break came
in a year later with the release of the "Little Sheila"/"Boogie
in my Bones" double A sided single -- the first single ever released
on a new upstart label called Island Records, which was founded
by Englishman Chris Blackwell. "Little Sheila" spent 11 weeks
at #1 on the Jamaican charts, cementing his popularity with Jamaican
music fans.



Island soon grew to become the the seminal force that introduced
and promoted Jamaican music in the UK -- and today retains its
status as on eof the biggest supporters of Jamaican music. It
is Blackwell's influence in generating English interest in the
Jamaican sound that left a mark on ska's history in general and
Aitken's history specifically. Laurel Aitken immigrated to England
in 1960 and changed the face of ska music forever. Throughout
the 50's, wave after wave of Jamaican citizens left Jamaica to
settle in post-W.W.II England, where job opportunities were there
for those who wanted them. With Jamaican immigrants came a demand
for Jamaican tastes in the UK and Laurel heard that he could make
it big overseas. Despite gray skies and miserable weather, Aitken
found the Jamaican community in the London neighborhood of Brixton
welcoming. A label in Britain had been releasing bootlegs of unavailable
Jamaican recordings to meet the new demands -- and when Laurel
arrived, he had a stern word with the responsible parties. From
that meeting, Melodic started a new label - Blue Beat - to cater
to the Jamaican market. After several years with Melodic, Laurel
moved on and recorded for EMI, Ska Beat, Nu Beat, Direct Records
and Doctor Bird Records, among many others. During this period,
he cut such classic tracks as "Fire in Mi Wire," "Bartender,"
"Jesse James," "Landlord and Tenants," "It's Too Late" and "Pussy
Price." Laurel was the only Jamaican star who regularly toured
the UK and was very successful in doing so. Laurel Aitken has
had a long and fruitful recording career that continues to this
day. He has performed all styles of Jamaican music, including
rock steady and reggae.
Throughout the
60's and 70's, " Laurel waved the Blue Beat banner. When Jerry
Dammer and company went about forging a British new wave ska festival
at the end of the 70's, it was the power of Laurel Aitken and
Prince Buster that became Laurel continued to perform and record
throughout the 80's and 90's (with such diverse ska stars as Japan's
Ska Flames, Germany's Busters and America's Toasters) - and to
this day remains a dynamic live performer who always wows an audience.
Laurel Aitken has been deeply involved with ska music since its
birth -- and through every 'wave' of ska music. He has performed
all over the world and despite being 72 years young, Laurel is
ready to remind the new US ska crowd that he really is the "Godfather
of Ska.During the 2-Tone era, Laurel played with The English Beat
and toured with the mod band Secret Affair (and was backed by
the punk/reggae band the Ruts!) -- and his career was rejuvenated
with the new found popularity of ska in the UK. The classic "Rudi
Got Married" was released during this period on I-Spy/Arista Records.
After the demise of 2-Tone, Laurel kept his faith in ska music
and recorded several albums and single with the brilliant British
ska band, Potato 5 and even appeared in the mod film "Absolute
Beginners" with David Bowie.

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