Celebrating Ja 50 with Tads

By Howard Campbell Observer senior writer

Friday, July 06, 2012

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With Jamaica's 50th anniversary as an independent country less than three weeks away, Tads Records plans to release its Jamaica 50th: Then and Now album on July 24.

The set contains songs produced or licensed by Tads founder Tad Dawkins since the mid-1970s including Dennis Brown's Love and Hate (Here I Come), Buddy Bye by Johnny Osbourne and My Native Land which is done by Larry and the Mento Boys.

Many of the songs have a nationalistic theme and covers different genres of Jamaican culture, such as ska, rock steady, reggae, gospel and mento.

"We had to put songs on it that reflect the times, hence then and now. We wanted to make sure the final list of songs match the significance of the occasion," Dawkins told the Jamaica Observer.

An interesting inclusion is a 23-song medley by the Blues Busters, the Rhythm and Blues-influenced duo which had their heyday during the 1960s. The medley, which includes standards like Sammy Dead, Israelites, Guava Jelly and Soon You'll Be Gone, was produced and recorded by Dawkins in 1980 at Harry J studio in Kingston.

Mento is represented by Larry and the Mento Boys from Ocho Rios on four songs, the others being Take Her to Jamaica, Ma and Pa and Jamaica Farewell. Then and Now contains a handful of gospel tracks including George Nooks' God Is Standing By and I Am Blessed by Vegas, both of which made local charts.

Most of the songs, however, are dancehall/reggae hits from the early 1980s to the present. Heading the list is Dawkins' version of Here I Come which became a staple at Brown's live shows. Other familiar songs include Dawkins' production of Sugar Minott's Mr DC, Junior Byles' Fade Away (done by Patrick Badoo) and People's Choice, a hit for Ray Darwin four years ago.

Songs licensed by Tads Records for distribution such as Gregory Isaacs' classic Night Nurse, Just As I Am by LUST and Vybz Kartel's You Can't Say also made the Then and Now cut.

he Kingston-born Dawkins returned to Jamaica in 2000, after living in the United States for 30 years, playing in bands and working in music distribution.

He went into music production in the mid-1970s, producing the Blues Busters' Top Of The Pops album. It was his update of Here I Come — a song originally produced by Brown for his DEB label — that helped establish Dawkins in the Jamaican market.

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