Reflections From Ruddy Home T
In the last 25 - 30 years, 80 percent of music has been reduced to a beat with words on top of it; the productions start with a beat and then come to the lyrics. This began with the advent of hip hop; early hip hop sampled the funky drummer, James Brown etc., and because of the grit of the funk, the creativity was there; hence great songs were made.
Over time that vibration changed, and hip-hop was now a commercial business. Foundation music 50/60/70 started with a sweet melody that inspired, as the great Jimmy Cliff said in an interview, the genius musicians to create backing tracks with soul, feel and groove.
Record labels in Jamaica and overseas had an audition day conducted by a musician who was well-versed in music, so only the best talent was recorded; over time, that also changed.
The foundation era in Jamaica was remarkable; the major studios/label Studio One, Treasure Isles, Dynamics and Federal all had auditions on a Sunday. Aspiring artists had to pass the audition to record if they failed; they were told to return in a month.
This practice, too, has changed. Technology has changed the music space over the last 25-30 years; everybody is a producer with zero musical knowledge. Many years ago, B B Seaton told me that the standard of Jamaican music started to decline in 1972 when independent producers invaded the business.
The musician and engineers produced the foundation recordings that put Jamaica on the world stage. Coxsone and Duke Reid were executive producers with some insight and the ability to recognize a good product based on their sound system experience. Foundation reggae music with those melodic bass lines evoked dancing, skanking, jumping and prancing, wiggling and whining. Nowadays, reggae evokes bopping one's head and moving from side to side. It lacks soul, feel and groove. A it dat! heardat!