I contribute what modest tit bits I can to this website but not from a very learned point of view. I don't spend much time reading up on things, keeping up with new stuff or, well.......y'know studying. So a couple of observations that have occurred to me today might put me in the complete old duffer category, but I'll risk it.
So, today, 1) For the first time I knowingly heard the multi award winning Adele. Now, I've already forgotten the name of the track...."Rolling on the Sea?" or something like that. There's a bit of Gimmie Shelter going on in there isn't there? Probably been said before. What?
2)Winston Grennan? I had never heard of this great man before looking him up today. I wanted to know who was the supreme being working that drum kit on Toots' Funky Kingston. I guess he must be highly celebrated somewhere but, as I say, I don't read everything. What d'ya know about Winston?
Well, writing as somebody who contributes even less, reads even less and is doubtless considerably less learned than you Will, I am delighted - possibly 'chuffed', if people still say that - to offer a modest tit bit of my own:
Winston Grennan, according to my half-read copy of David Katz's "Solid Foundation", was a legendary innovative drummer. Some credit him with originating the 'one drop' and being one of the foremost rocksteady drummers. He plays on loads of stuff, including a favourite of mine, 'Watch This Sound'. He grew up playing drums for 'Junkanoo' dancers (a ceremonial dance derived from West African rhythms), was a boxer for a while, then played keyboards with The Caribbeats before switching back to drums when their drummer didn't turn up for a show. The rest is history.
He died of cancer in 2000, aged 56.
I'm sure plenty of the better read, more learned, fact-retentive folk here will have more to add. But listening to 'Watch This Sound' is enough for me.
Winston Grennan also did a stint as the drummer and one of the founding members of Kid Creole and the Coconuts after he had moved to New York in the 1970's. According to his biography he also toured or recorded with just about everybody from Marvin Gaye to Dizzy Gillespie to Garland Jeffreys during that period.
He also acted in "The Harder They Come" and played on the title tune. And he was indeed the quintessential rocksteady drummer, much in the same way as Lloyd Knibbs had been the key ska druimmer. You can also hear his playing in Paul Simon's "Mother And Child Reunion" (recorded in Kingston with an all Jamaican band).
And according to himself (he was also a teller of tall tales) he also came up with the piano hook on "My Conversation" by the Uniques:
Teller of tall tales he may well have been but I can confirm the piano playing bit. I once interviewed Bunny Lee and asked him about that track as I've always found those piano triplets so haunting, especially so when they go awry as they so regularly do. Bunny said Winston couldn't really play the piano and was effectively hamfisting his way through the track. One of the happiest accidents in Reggae history.