Sunday, November 04, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Stranger Cole

Artist:Stranger Cole
Song:Rough & Tough
Album:The History Of Ska

Wilburn "Stranger" Cole is a pioneer of the Jamaican music known as ska. Ska is a mix of calypso, jazz and R & B. It became popular with The Mods in England in the mid-60s and has continued with cyclical revivals over the years, especially with the British groups The Specials and The English Beat in the late 70s. Cole was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1945 and was given the nickname Stranger as a child because he didn't resemble any of his family members. After he wrote the hit song In and Out the Window for Eric "Monty" Morris, Treasure Isle recording studio owner Duke Reid allowed Cole to record one of his own songs. Rough & Tough was a big hit in Jamaica in 1962 and today is considered to be a ska classic. Cole says he wrote the song when his girlfriend left him. The backup band on the record is The Skatellites and Baba Brooks plays the trumpet solo. Though Cole recorded solo, apparently he preferred recording duets. He was shy about performing solo. His most frequent duet partner was Patsy Todd and as Stranger & Patsy they had a hit in 1963 with When You Call My Name. Cole also recorded duets with Ken Boothe, Gladstone Anderson and Hortense Ellis. You can get Rough & Tough on this various artists budget comp from the Trojan label Receiver Records. Of course Trojan is the premiere label for Jamaican music. It's a great intro for beginners. Stranger Cole moved to England in 1971 and after touring there, he moved to Toronto in 1973. For years he worked as a machinist at the Tonka Toy factory. And he also opened a Caribbean record shop. He has recorded occasionally on his own label, most recently in 2006. He is also featured in the 2009 documentary Rock Steady: The Roots Of Reggae which I have seen and highly recommend. Cole's son Squiddly Cole has been a drummer for Ziggy Marley and others. Here's Stranger Cole performing Rough & Tough 1964.

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