Tuesday, May 26, 2009
IS IT BECAUSE I'M BLACK
American Soul and Funk music has always been an important influence on Jamaican Reggae. The beginning of the Jamaican recording industry at the end of the 1950s started with Clement "Coxsone" Dodd (owner of Studio One) and a group of select in-house musicians (originally The Skatalites) recording their own version of American R&B. Playing on the off-beat, this music became Ska. As American R&B progressed through Funk, Soul and Disco, Jamaican music was going through its own musical changes, from Rocksteady to Reggae and Roots music. The house-band at Studio One recorded on a daily basis behind all Studio One vocalists as well as recording instrumentally in their own right.
At the end of the 1960s, as Black and Socially Conscious music became an important part of American Soul music, many Jamaican artists were starting to look to their roots, and indeed, many artists would eventually become involved in Rastafarianism. Senior Soul's version of Syl Johnson's "Is It Because I'm Black" (from 1969's A Scorcha From Studio One) is a prime example of the evolution of both Studio One and Jamaican racial consciousness.