When talking about Ska Music one group of musicians whose name always comes
to the forefront of the conversation are The Skatalites. Formed around 1965 and named
originally after the Soviet space satellite which was big news at the time and with a little
help from band member Tommy McCook, making a play on the characteristic ‘Ska’ sound
made by the guitar when following the ‘after beat’ of the music. The band would have a
name to go with its distinctive musical style.

The group had honed their skills by playing under various guises around Jamaica in
numerous ‘Hotel Bands’. When the big Sound System operators of the day, Sir Coxsanne
Dodd, Duke Reid and King Edwards needed new material to play out with they turned to
this group of musicians to provide it. Their usual source for the material was beginning to
dry up, namely the American R&B records of the day due to tastes in the USA changing.

They began by getting the group to record their own set of tunes in this still popular sound
in Jamaica and also cut some tracks with the popular singers of the day, Delroy Wilson,
Alton Ellis and Lord Creator to name but a few. Their knowledge of the old mento tunes
and an understanding of Jazz and the R&B sound under the tutorledge of their official band
leader and main musical director Don Drummond made this possible and created a sound
that was to dominate the Island from the early 60’s to around 1966 when the music would
slow down to become Rocksteady.

The time span of the Skatilites career considering their output of hundreds of tunes was a
relatively short one of around two years. The line up consisted of Don Drummond (Trombone),
Roland Alphonso (Tenor Saxophone), Tommy McCook (Tenor Saxophone), Johnny ‘Dizzy Moore
(Trumpet), Lester Sterling (Alto Saxophone), Jerome ‘Jah Jerry’ Hines (Guitar), Jackie Mittoo (Piano),
Lloyd Brevett (Bass),and Lloyd Knibbs (Drums). We have caught a great set of tunes that the band
cut at the legendary Treasure Isle Studio’s, built out of wood and positioned above Duke Reids
liquour store it somehow worked in getting a great sound out of the band or maybe it was in
intimidating sight of Duke Reid and his ever present loaded gun that he carried at all times that
provided some inspiration!!.

Whatever the reasons, the band cut some mighty fine tunes of which we have cherry picked a
selection for your musicical pleasure ...Hope you enjoy the set.

CD Track Listing

1 Alley Cat
2 Cool Smoke
3 Street Corner
4 Mesopotamia
5 Magnificent Ska
6 Storm Warning
7 Nuclear Weapon
8 Stampede
9 Ali Pang
10 Burning Torch
11 Musical Communion
12 Cool Shade
13 Thoroughfare
14 Green Island
15 Corner Stone*
16 Stepping Stone*
•CD Bonus Track

Vinly Track Listing

Side 1
1 Alley Cat
2 Cool Smoke
3 Street Corner
4 Mesopotamia
5 Magnificent Ska
6 Storm Warning
7 Nuclear Weapon

Side 2

1 Stampede
2 Ali Pang
3 Burning Torch
4 Musical Communion
5 Cool Shade
6 Thoroughfare
7 Green Island

Musicians Include:
Don Drummond: Trombone
Roland Alphonso: Tenor Saxophone
Tommy McCook: Tenor Saxophone
Johnny ’Dizzy’ Moore: Trumpet
Lester Sterling: Alto Saxophone
Jerome ’Jah Jerry’ Hines: Guitar
Jackie Mittoo: Piano
Lloyd Brevett: Bass
Lloyd Knibbs: Drums

Recorded at: Treasure Isle Studios, Federal, Wirl Studios.
Produced by: Duke Reid
Design by: Gary @ Voodoo London
Photography: Courtesy of Bunny Lee/Jah Floyd Archive
Manufactured under Licence from E. Lee/Adley Ross
Made in the UK.
All tracks copyright control