Skatalites immortalise villanSunday, November 17, 2013
ON Friday, it will be 50 years since the assassination of United States president John F Kennedy. He was killed in Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald.
The troubled Oswald was a drifter with Communist beliefs who had lived in Russia for some time. After he killed Kennedy, he gained global notoriety.
In Jamaica, a rising band called The Skatalites immortalised the villain in song.
Their instrumental, Lee Harvey Oswald, was inspired by American saxophonist Pat Patrick's Bayou Roots. The Skatalites version was produced by Clement 'Coxson' Dodd.
In an interview last year with the Jamaica Observer, Lester Sterling, one of the band's famed triple saxophone order, described Lee Harvey Oswald as his favourite Skatalites song.
He vividly recalled a gig in Montego Bay, when the band struck up the song, how patrons flocked the dance floor.
"That always happens when we play this tune. It has that effect on people," said Sterling.
The initial version of The Skatalites lasted less than two years, but Lee Harvey Oswald was a consistent part of their live act.
Oswald was killed two days after the Kennedy assassination by Jack Ruby, a Dallas strip club owner with alleged mob ties.
Of course, Jamaicans never miss the chance to pick up on a catchy name. Jack Ruby became the moniker for a sound system operator from Greenwich Farm named Lawrence Lindo.
As Jack Ruby, Lindo produced Burning Spear's Marcus Garvey and Man in The Hills, rated two of reggae's great albums.