A look at the latest craze to take the record industry by storm.
IT’S THE BLUE-BEAT CRAZE
Norman Jopling – Record Mirror February 15, 1964
The record industry thrives on new crazes and sounds. And at the moment three record companies are thriving on the Blue Beat craze which is just being taken up by the industry in general as a potential money spinner for all concerned
Just for the record, and for those who probably haven’t heard it yet, just what is blue beat?
Well, it’s a strictly Jamaican sound with a pulsating on-beat played on stop chords throbbing mercilessly through the disc. Most of the songs are down-to-earth items that don’t usually deal with love, and the tunes are strictly secondary to the beat.
The craze has been “in” with the Mods since last summer because of the marvellous dance beat and of course has been bought by the West Indians in
But it was only when the larger record companies heard of fantastic sales for such blue beat discs as “Madness”, “
Anyway, let’s take a look at the small blue beat companies – after all on of the attractions the music had to the Mods was that the music was exclusive to the smaller and virtually unknown labels.
Firstly there’s the Blue Beat label itself. Owned by Melodisc records run by Siggy Jackson this label was formed some two years back. It boasts many of the biggest blue beat artistes including Prince Buster, Derrick Morgan and The Folks Brothers.
“The blue beat rhythm itself was started by Prince Buster” says Siggy. “He had been singing in
Although Buster invented the blue beat rhythm, I invented the name for our label.”
Island records is run by Chris Blackwell, an enterprising young white Jamaican who was fascinated by blue beat and started his own company here well over a year ago. His best seller is “Blazing Fire”, while another good one is “Housewives Choice”. Most of his numbers are recorded in
“So far all of our discs have sold well and we haven’t had one flop” Chris told me. “My aim is to see a blue beat disc in the charts – even if it was only at n°
Chris also owns two more labels. One is Sue, the great US R&B label which Chris bought when he was last in the States. Some of
The other record company is R & B, the smallest of the three. Like
There are smaller companies, the ones who pioneered blue beat. How about the larger ones?
First of all, Decca has put out a disc called “The Blue Beat” by the Beazers. All of the small companies unanimously say “This isn’t blue beat, and if people think it is – it will do us harm”. The record itself is sung by Chris Farlow and backed by Cyril Stapleton. And no one anywhere seems to think it is blue beat. Decca are also reported to be leasing some tracks from Melodisc for release and next week will be recording some genuine blue beat groups to be put out on Decca.
EMI are issuing two discs in February by Ezz Reco and the Launchers with Boysie Grant and Beverley as vocalists. This is a genuine blue beat group and if the discs are fairly successful EMI will be issuing more. But it is certainly an unprecedented step for a big record company to issue two discs by the same artiste within two weeks!
And so far no word from any other companies. So it looks as if the Blue Beat craze is destined to catch on in a big way with the two biggest record companies giving it top priority.
But once it starts breaking big nationally it looks as if the mods are going to have to find something more exclusive.
Keep your eyes open record companies…