Part 1 - - Part 2 - - Part 3




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


C: Monty Alexander grew up in Jamaica?

Monty Alexander 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, yunno.


#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?

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.

Note: Rico left Jamaica 6 months before the independance.


don drummond & rico in studio session (hb bonanza ska 86/87)


#23: Dez. 61 leaving Jamaica


C: 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 England


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.

#32: ff

It is too smooth. Yunno. It's not my thing. Jamaican people love ruff n ready. A way of life.

#33: ff

The meditational music came from the Rastaman. The Rastaman keep playing the drums and from the bible - saint songs.

#34: ff

"Blessed is the man that walking at the council of the ungodliness sinners and the voice ...and the element ...and sometime ...moonrise -'s quiet - ...and listen to this drums and voices'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

#35: ff

and in the days - 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 - angel singing... So the meditation... Some of the final points in music is getting from there.


#36: Classic


C: What about classical music?

Classical music 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.


#38: School


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 Jamaica 61-76


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.


Alain: "Between 1961 and 1976 you didn't go back to Jamaica? All your recording were done in England?"

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.


#41: Famine


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


C: 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 world

Ethiopians came 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.

#47: popularity

And since then I've been very popular all over Europe, since that time.


C: You know Bob from Jamaica?

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 time.


#48: 1974

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 that tour.

#49: Berlin

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 it is

roots connection thanks to all connected people - I & I is the strenght - merci Neuchâtel...Ska...Ska...Rasta.