WITH RICO MARCH 25TH 2000
/ NEUCHATEL / RICO+ALAIN SALVI+RAS CLAUDE
by Ras C - 30-december-2000
(in the beginning there was the one - welcome two thousand one! C)
respect to the greatest
musician...keep on blowing...RICO...2001 a come
#18: Cluette Johnson
Ras C: Tell me more
about Clue J
He used to play
the military band. He is like a musical scientist. He was one of the greatest
bass players. He founded the band around us, so we played for him, yunno. He
was like the leader, sometime he had Roland Alphonso in his band. Roland Alphonso
was the player. And he had Blues on bass, Papa Son on drums, the first recording
that was done in Jamaica, that was with Blues, Papa Son, Theophelius Beckford,
they were the first musicians and myself.
Note: I don't know
Blues, Papa San, so I'm not sure of right spelling
Alain: "You were
a regular member of this band?"
Yes, then after
a while, the musicians from Montego Bay, like Roland Alphonso and they start
coming into the studio, yunno. Monty Alexander. But before that we were - Sterling
& myself - were the first musicians in the studio and Johnnie Moore.
Note: Johnnie Dizzy
Moore, Lester Sterling, Roland Alphonso became former members of THE SKATALITES.
Monty Alexander is a Jazz superstar.
#19: Monty Alexander
Monty Alexander grew up in Jamaica?
was young. He was going to college. But when we used to recording for Coxsone
we went to school to get him with us. He was playing with us like Roland Alphonso,
Aubrey Adams the next great piano player. He was young. He knows me very well.
C: There is no project?...
Well I think Island
Records wanted to do, but I was part of Jazz Jamaica, so I get not involved.
But I think Jazz Jamaica and Ernest Ranglin and Monty Alexander got a deal with
Palm Records. I was out of Jazz Jamaica that time, so nothing didn't work out,
#20: Jazz Jamaica
Jazz Jamaica wanted
to do a deal for me. But I didn't want them to do a deal for me. I wanted to
do my own deal with Island. So I left Jazz Jamaica. So they did that thing with
Island and I was out. So that project for me didn't work out. (Lighter,
spliffically, thanks Alain)
#21: Carlos Malcolm
C: What about another
great trombone player: Carlos Malcolm?
Oh god man. Carlos Malcolm was the bridge. He was the writer. Only thing that
I remember. Clue J & Carlos Malcolm they were the two great musicians. Specially
Carlos, Carlos used to have his own band. His band went to Cuba. And when I
was in England I realised them going to Cuba, for the celebration, yunno. I
missed out again, yunno. If I didn't leave Jamaica in December 1961. I would
have been in Jamaica in 1962, when the band was going to Cuba, I would have
gone to Cuba. But I was already in England, and going there in England for the
first few weeks, and months, it wasn't easy.
Rico left Jamaica 6 months before the independance.
don drummond &
rico in studio session (hb bonanza ska 86/87)
#23: Dez. 61 leaving
Why leaving Jamaica then?
Well, Jamaica is
a rough place. You haffe fight sometime. I was fighting too much. And I didn't
like it anymore. Fighting is not natures answer to mankind. Living in a society
like that it was making one vicious. And when I discover I wasn't getting in
that state of life. I didn't want to have more of it. It's a kill society. I
man a red. My colour is different from his, and whatever. You have to fight
for that yunno. You become granny after - you fight - they don't care. People
respect you after. But to live like that, I wouldn't take no more of that.
Note: not every
word I know - so I write what I hear, yunno
#24: red skin
C: Rico skin red?
Yes, Red, and someone
become angry. He's your friend, but he become angry. So you start about your
pigmentation of your skin. I didn't like that.
#25: Father & Mother
My father is Cuban.
My mother is Jamaican. We are not black. My mother is from St. Ans Bay, tier
completion woman yunno. And when you're young and you got my colour you got
vicious. Because you have been numbered. Black people is the majority. You got
to be tuff. I didn't want no more of that fighting and badness. I was glad to
come out that.
Note: what kind
of woman is Rico's mother? Must be tuff and warm...
#26: Vision for
C: What was the
vision for coming to England?
My vision coming
to England was when my friends - who used to be sailors, they used to go to
the ships - when they go to England and they come back to Jamaica and they tell
me about the music is doing well in England, everybody's loving music. Here
in Jamaica you're having nothing. And the sound system dance in England. So
you can courage leaving Jamaica for England.
It wasn't as that,
because the rock & roll music was influenced like Rolling Stones. All the pop
groups in England were big, yunno. It was hard for us to break that barrier,
yunno. We just play among ourselves. We go to the Jamaican show. But now, it's
mixing better now. People giving you a job, because you're good playing. You
get regular work. First time it was hard to get work, but now it work. As long
as you have ability you get good jobs. Bammy and me playing now in Jools Holland
band so it's good yunno.
#28: Laurel Aitken
- Prince Buster - Georgie Fame
C: Laurel Aitken
left Jamaica 1960 - Rico met Laurel in the beginning?
Laurel Aitken Yeah,
when I come to England I was looking for Laurel Aitken, he had a label called
Blue Beat Label. When I saw Laurel, so Laurel gave me all the sessions, yunno.
I was getting work for Laurel. My first 3 or 4 years in England was quite OK
because I was getting sessions and than after 4 years I was getting work for
Prince Buster, when he came to England, cause he was working on the Blue Beat
Label as well. Those were the two things that kept me going yunno. As well as
Georgie Fame, a keyboard player from Liverpool he had a band in Carnegie street.
In the west end I used to go there in the nights I used to play. So the manager
of the club he gave me money cause he liked how I play. I used to play Don Drummond
music and Skatalites music, and it was new to them. So me and Georgie Fame become
very good friends yunno. When you come to England you not steady. I was like
a wanderer. So after I left Georgie Fame Band I play with many other bands.
Note: I know Georgie
Fame from his soundtrack for the Sam Peckinpah movie "Bonnie & Clyde"
(Faye Dunaway & Warren Beatty)- the original 7'' 45 release have the typical
wheel scratching sound effect just like "Al Capone" (C. Campbell)
in the beginning.
C: "Do you remember
"Bonnie & Clyde"?
Yeah, and Babadebab
baba dididi dab (1'12'') we used to play that. So I met him. I was with Jools
Holland Band in the country and we went to the same Hotel when we met Hug "Liberatie".
He was glad to see. Georgie Fame I haven't seen for maybe 30 years.
Note: the tune Rico
sings is famous, sorry, I don't know. Hug Liberatie I don't know.
#29: Georgie Fame
C: he's still playing?
Yeah, because when
I left him in 60s, it's the first time I have seen him for 30 years. When he
came to London. Prince Buster used to get him to play the keyboards. We did
"WashWash" with him
Him doin' a lot
a recording with Prince Buster.
#31: Soul of Africa
C: One of my favourite
Rico compositions is "Soul of Africa". Is it a vision?
Yes, it's a meditation
amongst RastafarI and the element becomes so great sometimes, the sounds you
can get in, yunno. And that tune came up at that time. So I had that song long
before I left Jamaica. "Soul of Africa".
C: That song is
different from Ska music
That's right, we
had melodies. And because the people doing recordings they wanted rhythm music,
yunno. So if you wanted to do something different they didn't like it. Jamaican
people love the riddim. If the music haven't heavy bass to jerk the belly -
they don't feel good.
It is too smooth.
Yunno. It's not my thing. Jamaican people love ruff n ready. A way of life.
music came from the Rastaman. The Rastaman keep playing the drums and from the
bible - saint songs.
"Blessed is the
man that walking at the council of the ungodliness sinners and the voice ...and
the element ...and sometime ...moonrise - ...it's quiet - ...and listen to this
drums and voices ...it's beautiful ...and the talk is beautiful ...and when
them sing is beautiful...
Note: less knowledge
of holy piby brings this gap for the real writing of words
and in the days
- ...like on a Sunday ...when all the children come around ...and you could
hear the children singing ...and people are singing ...all the people singing
- ...beautiful - ...like angel singing... So the meditation... Some of the final
points in music is getting from there.
C: What about classical
have it's bound. But in Mystic Revelation it was as much as you can. Uplift.
And mixing with musicians like Don Drummond, Ernest Ranglin, Clue Johnson, it
was inspiring. So those are the people that inspired us. So those where the
musicians that inspired us: Don Drummond, Ernest Ranglin, Clue J., Joe Harriott,
Bragenaire, Raymond Harper, Dizzy Reece,
#37: Sunny Gray
The one that I forget
a while was Sunny Gray, he's big in France, man, he died recently but he was
one of the best trumpeters of the world. He lived in France. Sunny Gray. All
the great jazz musicians that came to France know about him. He write a lot
of music books. He was like a professor. Sunny Gray is a professor of music,
he writes books. And those were the ones before us. So we admired them.
C: It's important
to have more people around - connected people
That's right. Yeah,
and in school it's hard because you have 3 trombone players and you have 2 trombone
or maybe 1 trombone. So you get an instrument if you show developement, if you're
not so developed you not gonna get it. Cause you have more musicians than instruments.
So one have to be very good to get that instrument.
C: It's like a battle
for the instrument
Yeah, like a battle
as you say. To get the start, to get the position you have to be very good.
The bandmaster used to give the instrument to the best in the crowed. So growing
up was competitive. And everybody want to play the best horn. So like a contest.
#39: no return to
C: When you were
in England, you went back to Jamaica when?
I didn't go for
the first 17 years. The first time I go back was 1976. On the "Man from Wareika"-Album.
1961 and 1976 you didn't go back to Jamaica? All your recording were done in
Yeah. And me friend
come to me and said. You should go to Jamaica man, your mother live there your
friends, check out now. Island records invited me to go to Jamaica. After that
me go all the time yunno. But I haven't been there now for 10 years.
C: Working for Toots
& The Maytals "Funky Kingston"?
That's right. Every
time Toots gave me a lyrics he changed. If you listen to the final product it
go nice. In Island studio all night until 10 o'clock for the next one. It was
terrific yunno. Hard work.
Note: in part III
funky kingston is not with RICO, but Famine! correction a come
#42: Man from Wareika
The meaning of "Man from Warika"?
Levity, the way
of life. How you live in the hills, you not living the city life. You away from
all of it. Badness & violence. If the bad man comes to us for protection he
gets protection, but we away from it all thou. The music it's more functional.
If you're in Kingston it's badness. The head work too hard. But in the hills
you could relax.
#43: Bob Marley
C: After "Man from
Warrika" you had the chance to relax?
When I made "Man
from Warrika" it was so good, that when Bob Marley Band came to England. The
formites of Island used to session with Steel Pulse & Aswad & Third World to
back Bob Marley.
#44: on tour
But since I did
the "Man from Warrika" album Bob Marley was in England for tour they asked me
to do. I couldn't believe that they wanted my band to do, because I had no singers.
#46: around the
to England one time & ask me to play with them. And Toots as well, away from
them Bob Marley was the first one who took me abroad, which was a honour. He's
known as the king of Reggae. To have called me to do that session with my band,
it was great.
And since then
I've been very popular all over Europe, since that time.
C: You know Bob
Yes, just vaguely.
Bob Marley used to come to the studios. The Wailers sometime the record producer
used to tell them. Go practice a little more I don't like that sound yet. Come
back 6 weeks time. In Jamaica you have so much artists. They want to reach the
producer. Sometime the producer don't want you and tell you to come back next
In 1974 my friend
in England was playing some Bob Marley music and said Rico listen man, this
music take over. What he said was so true. After 74 Bob Marley came back with
a band, touring with Third World. It was big. Bob is really my inspirator. He
was the first one who gave me that break to come out of England. I'm been to
Berlin I'm popular in Berlin, I'm popular in Germany, in Holland just because
We went into the
Eastern section as well. We played. It was like a riot for the people. Couldn't
get to come into the audience only certain people was able to come in. Those
who couldn't come in they are trouble. The dogs won't let go - serious. Bob
didn't like it. Bob wanted all the people to come in. But business. But the
people were massive to come in. At the Berlin wall plenty people. He used to
travel by aeroplane. He used to fly. We used to go on the road. So we felt it
more than him.
#50: Police - Specials
Travelling on the
coach - Amsterdam we play, Rotterdam stadium - big. [The biggest crowd ) I've
ever played for is like Bob Marley & The Police - I played with The Police for
80'000 people in Canada, in a big park - and the Specials. Bob thing before
was enlightening. Some of the people around the world have been listening to
your music long-time - but to see them is good feeling.
part III is coming soon...here
roots connection thanks to all connected
people - I & I is the strenght - merci Neuchâtel...Ska...Ska...Rasta.