Winston ScotlandText by Harry Hawks
A name that deserves to be up there with the other great deejay originators of the early seventies...
The majority of these Dub Store artist profiles have, so far, concentrated on well known artists and record producers. Well... well known. What does that mean exactly? Some of the artists featured, such as Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths, have achieved international crossover success (as Bob & Marcia) while some have had no crossover success at all but have enjoyed consistently successful careers in the world of reggae. Some never achieved more than fleeting success but have been revered over the years as 'cult artists' on the strength of a handful of releases with lengthy tomes in reggae histories, beautifully annotated compact disc collections containing their hits, near hits, misses and out takes that continue to consolidate their legend making something lasting and permanent to ensure that no-on ever forgets them. However, there are still some artists who, despite massive popularity at one time, are names that not even serious students of reggae music now hear about. One such artist is Winston Scotland.
|Place of Birth
The Jamaican deejay explosion was originated by legendary mic. men such as Count Matchuki and Sir Lord Comic in the late fifties and sixties and the majority of their choicest lyrics, delivered live and direct, were lost forever in the warm Kingston nights. If they ever made it into the recording studio their recorded contributions, to a handful of ska and rock steady records, usually went un-credited. King Stitt was the first deejay to change this trend and, at the start of the seventies, he made a series of records for Clancy Eccles, including 'Herb Man' and 'Fire Corner', which proved to be massively popular. King Stitt opened the gate for U Roy whose recordings for Duke Reid at Treasure Isle "woke the town and told the people" and established the early seventies deejay template for a whole host of imitators and originators including U Roy Junior, Dennis Alcapone, Lizzy, Scotty, I Roy... and Winston Scotland.
Reputedly U Roy's brother in law Winston Scotland was undoubtedly one of the greatest exponents of the early art of the deejay and was, according to U Brown in an interview with reggae historian Steve Barrow, originally a deejay on Phillip Monroe's Sounds Of Music Sound System.
"The first sound I started to deejay is a sound name Silver Bullet from Tower Hill, an avenue name Phillip Avenue, off Tower Avenue in Tower Hill. After I started to deejay that sound, one of my friend (was) keeping a dance and the sound that he was using didn't have a deejay at the time, the deejay who suppose to deejay the sound, him name was Winston Scotland. The sound name Sounds Of Muzik, owned by a guy name Phillip Monroe. My friend ask the owner fi the sound if he could use me, and I gladly accept the job fi the night. I was about 15." U Brown
Winston Scotland recorded two songs for the Sounds Of Muzik label: 'Swing And Sway' and the almighty 'Violin Rock' which was credited to The Fiddlers. He also worked for Joe Gibbs(Joel Gibson) and 'Skanky Dog', his version to Peter Tosh's vengeful 'Maga Dog', was credited to Bunny Flip (apparently Winston Scotland's real name is Bunny Phipps... or possibly Phillips) on the Pressure Beat release although 'Scar Face' was attributed to Winston Scotland on the Joe Gibbs Record Globe label.
He went on to record a series of near faultless records for Prince Tony Robinson that still sound every bit as exciting and innovative as they did at the time. His highly individual tone of voice and totally original approach made him a name to watch out for and a number of his records were released in London through the Trojan and Palmer Brothers set ups. 'Buttercup', a superb version to Prince Tony's cut to 'You Don't Care'/'You'll Want Me Back', proved so popular on Pama's Punch subsidiary that it was licensed to Phillips, a major label, for UK release in 1972 but it inexplicably failed to cross over into the National Charts. His other recordings for Prince Tony: 'Keep On Skanking', 'My Little Filly', 'Power Skank', 'Quick & Slick' and 'On The Track' were released on the High School label and 'Love Is Not A Toy' came out on Pirate Records. Each and every one was a certified classic.
After making two further recordings for the Tafari collective, the awesome 'Zion Fever' and an early version of Little Roy's 'Prophecy' entitled 'Prophecy Rock', Winston Scotland, to all intents and purposes, disappeared. It is pointless to speculate why, where and how but the result is that his groundbreaking work is now nowhere near as revered as that of his contemporaries. Apart from a handful of tracks on retrospective various artist collections his records have never been re-pressed or re-released although a Winston Scotland Showcase broadcast a few years ago on BBC Radio Lancashire's world famous 'On The Wire' programme helped to rekindle a little interest in this intriguing, innovative yet unremembered artist's oeuvre.
This has not been an exercise in wilful obscurity nor the building up of an artist simply for the sake of exclusivity but the music and name of Winston Scotland, and his contribution to the deejay school, deserve to be far better known and appreciated all around the world.
Date Added: Dec 24, 2011 / Date Updated: Dec 26, 2011