On this lovely Sunday, I’d like to share two songs from ska and reggae singer, Phyllis Dillon, who made her first recording, Don’t Stay Away, for producer, Duke Reid, in 1967. She was at 19. Dillon did a lot of covers of popular songs from the U.S.
Dillon, who was born in St. Catherine in 1948, moved to New York in 1967 and, for a while, would travel back to Jamaica to record. She ended her recording career in 1971 but resumed it twenty years later, touring Japan, Germany and the UK. In 1998, she returned to the studio with former Duke Reid session guitarist, Lynn Taitt, who had discovered her. She continued to perform until she became ill. Dillon died in New York in 2004. She was 56 years old.
For most people, reggae is Jamaican music. But before there was reggae, there were other types of music, most notablyska. Guitarist Ernest (Ernie) Ranglin is one of the musicians credited with creating ska.
In addition to his involvement with ska, Ranglin created the soundtrack for the Bond film, Dr. No, which was
filmed in Jamaica. Born in Jamaica 79 years ago, Ranglin started playing at an early age after listening to his musician uncles play the ukelele and guitar and practicing with their instruments. His style is a fusion of jazz and reggae. Ranglin’s worked with several musicians and recorded more than thirty albums.
A few years ago, I saw Ranglin perform at Aaron Davis Hall in Harlem. For most of the show, I felt absolutely giddy with excitement, a huge smile plastered on my face. Take s listen to one of my favorites, Below the Baseline.