Taitt with his Comets band during their 1965 appearance on JBC-TV.
Nearlin Taitt was born on June 22, 1934 on Coffee Street in San Fernando Trinidad. He died Wednesday, January 20, 2010 of a cardiac arrest. Admitted to the hospital in Montreal on January 19 with pneumonia, Taitt was suffering with kidney cancer for over a year and it had advanced, leaving him debilitated.
He did not die of blood cancer as reported in the Jamaica Observer and in The Guardian.
Nearlin “Lynn” Taitt is famous for his guitar playing and his innovative arrangements of Jamaican recordings of the 1960’s. He was the first choice of Lloyd Knibb, Johnny Moore and Jackie Mittoo to lead The Skatalites band, but Taitt is best known as a creator and the preeminent exponent of the bridge between Ska and Reggae, Rock Steady music.
The Comets Band, 1965 JBC-TV Studio. Left to right; Stanley Notice tenor saxophone, Rupert Dillon, 2nd trumpet, Winston Graham trumpet, Ron Wilson trombone, Nearlin Taitt guitar, Lloyd Knibb drums, Lloyd Spence bass, William Ellis bongos, Glen Miller vocals, Honeyboy Martin vocals, Winston Wright organ. Photographer unknown. [On July 9 2013, Lloyd Spence offered corrections; Stanley Notice for Carlton Samuels, Winston Graham for David Madden and Grenadian William Ellis for Stuart Bennett. Thanks and respect to Mr. Spence!]
Taitt grew up in Trinidad with his three brothers, Cedric, Mervin and Glenville. Older brother to Lyn, Glenville is a Senator in Trinidad. Mervin, youngest of the four, was living in Miami as of 2009.
Their father was a “shipwright” who sang in the church choir. “My father and mother couldn’t get along and they split up after having four kids. I was around seven or eight years old when my father leave.”
A portrait of his father was hanging on the wall in Taitt’s recording studio during my final visit with him, during August 2009. Taitt built his own studio in a garage he converted. He proudly told me how he measured and cut the wood, raised the walls, built the control room and wired up the board and the other equipment. He also explained that the portrait of his father was retrieved from his mother’s place after she passed away in 2004.
While their parents were together, the Taitt family attended a Seventh Day Adventist Church, writer and researcher Jim Dooley learned.
According to Kim Johnson, and later confirmed by Taitt, “In the late 1940s Nearlin and his brother Cedric Taitt and the other boys of the neighborhood hung around Bataan, a nearby steelband, until its leader Herman ‘Teddy’ Clarke gave them a few old pans. But Mrs. Taitt threw the pans in the ravine, because in those days steelband was considered a form of delinquency. The boys recovered the pans and took them to the house of their friends Stephen, Angus and Kenrick Lalsingh. Mr Lalsingh threw them in the ravine, so the gang returned them to the Taitt home. And thus the band, now named Seabees after the John Wayne movie The Fighting Seabees, moved back and forth while fighting for acceptance.
At Christmas time the boys put aside their pans to go paranging—performing the traditional Christmas tunes sung in Spanish. Kenrick, Angus and Cedric had harmonicas, while Nearlin played a cuatro. [small stringed instrument similar to ukulele.]
“This is what I use to play back in Trinidad all the time, as a kid.” Taitt playing his cuatro at home in Montreal on Boxing Day 1998. Copyright Brian Keyo.
Small gigs at school fairs gave Seabees enough respectability for Mrs. Taitt to tolerate them, although she never approved until Nearlin won the 1956 Music Festival prize for ping-pong solo. By then he was a committed musician.
‘My mother couldn’t stop Nearlin, though. She coulda stop me but she woulda have to kill Nearlin,’ says Cedric Taitt. ‘He decided from small that music have to mind [support] him.’ ‘Nearlin was always trying to improve,’ recalls his brother Cedric. ‘If he do one thing today, by tomorrow it’s better. Once he tried to retune a music box; he opened it up and was pulling the wires because he didn’t like the key it played in.’
He was also playing guitar with another group of neighbourhood friends, the Dutchy Brothers—five sons of the Surinamese immigrant Leonard “Dutchy” DeVlugt, three of whom played pan in Seabees.” (Kim Johnson, Secret Hero of Jamaican Music, Caribbean Beat Issue #93, Inflight magazine of Caribbean Airlines, September/October 2008.)
“Yes, that article is correct. My very first group was the Sea Bees Steel Pan group. I was seven or eight years old,” Taitt recalled.
“The first written music that I remember seeing was ‘God Save The Queen.’ That was early on. It was much later that I entered the contest to write Trinidad’s National Anthem in 1962, but lost. That around when I voted for the only time in my life. I vote for the leading party when Trinidad became independent,” he declared with a laugh.
“I’m not sure if you know that Trinidad follow music from Venezuela a lot. We interpret all the Latin rhythms our way. Jamaica follow American music more, like Fats Domino. Trinidad only nine miles from Venezuela,” Taitt explained.
“When I started recording in Trinidad it was before I was with the Dutchy’s. I started recording for RCA.
We used to record in a cinema in Port of Spain as he didn’t have a studio. An Indian fellow. I recorded with a steel band first. Then time go by and I was with the Dutchy’s. That group recorded but only a couple tunes. At first was a 45, then it was on vinyl LP. The 45 was first. The first song we did was ‘Dancey Marie Dancey’ then we did ‘Canadian Sunset.’
Asked how many brothers were in the group, Taitt replied, “The group was comprised of five brothers whose father was from Dutch Guiana. [Suriname] Also my group in Trinidad, The Southern All Stars, recorded one tune for a Mr. Cook, of Cook Records. Years later I find out that he had released it as one 45 and also on LP.”
Image courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways.
“I can remember that Emory Cook brought four bottles of Vat 19 rum and a big reel to reel machine to record the band. That was in 1958.”
Taitt owned a copy of the album, which he was kind enough to show me. He informed me that the cover photo is of the Southern All Stars parading on Cipero Street. Taitt pointed himself out on the cover of the Cook produced LP Steelband Promenade. Catalog # Cook LP 1140. “Jump rhythms from 11 degrees(w/degree symbol) N latitude by the famous Merrymakers, The Brute Force, Highlanders, Southern All Stars, The North Star. Cook Laboratories, 101 Second Street, Stamford CT.”
The cover photo by Ted Merolla shows Taitt with his pan. “I’m in the blue and gray striped shirt at the top of the photo.” His head is cut off, so I had to take his word for it.
“Emory Cook is the first man to record steelband in Trinidad. My brother Cedric is on this LP. [Hands it to me] The Champion Steel Bands of Trinidad.” Taitt pointed out his brother Cedric in the photo on the back of the LP jacket. Cedric is on the right in the white t-shirt.
“We both play for Southern All Stars, that’s our band. Here’s a photo of our reunion from a couple years ago.” [Takes down framed photo from wall] Taitt pointed himself out to me in a photo of approximately 50 gentlemen gathered in a hall or restaurant in San Fernando, Trinidad.
Cook released a record by “Merlin Taitt” in 1960, “Cupid” b/w ”Mambo Rhythm.”
“My mother try to get me all kind of job to get me away from the Steel band. There were many that I didn’t keep for too long. But when I thirteen or fourteen she get me a job at a pharmacy. I worked in the store room. They’d call me for aspirin or what have you and I’d find it and then send it down and then I had to write it down in the books. That’s how storekeeper end up on my passport. The government give me my passport for the trip to Jamaica,” he recalled.
“The Dutchy Brothers had two contracts for the same period. One for Venezuela and one for Jamaica. As I had played with them before as a guitarist for two years they offer me one of the contracts. This was for my band, The Nearlin Taitt Orchestra.”
At this point, Taitt turned and took a photo down off his living room wall. “This photo is of The Nearlin Taitt Orchestra from 1963 in Trinidad. It was taken by The Phillips Agency. We were a seven piece group which came with two managers. That’s Aldon Ison on drums, George Phillip on acoustic bass, Carl Noel play piano, Kahn play alto saxophone, Carl Griffith play tenor saxophone and we’re with Cyril Diaz, who was featured tenor, but he wasn’t a regular member of the Orchestra. Carl Noel is not in the photo. Noel isn’t in the picture because his piano, an upright, was too heavy to carry upstairs to the club where we take the photo. It take six of us to lift it, but they want the photo taken up on top there, so we didn’t carry it up.”
The Nearlin Taitt Orchestra recorded at least two 7” 45’s in 1961 in Trinidad for producer Aubrey Christopher’s Kay label. “Ansiedad-Calypso” was written by Venezuelan Chelique Sarabia who was credited as “J. E. Sarabia” on the 45. Also, “Gray Clouds” b/w “Marlena.” The Kay recordings were mastered and pressed in England.
“Aldon Ison lives in Toronto now. Byron Lee put him in the Celestials band. Phillip is in Alberta [Canada] now. Carl is in England. Byron put him in The Vagabonds. Cyril is in the middle,” Taitt explained. Prior to their arrival in Jamaica in 1963, he can’t recall exactly when, Taitt and his orchestra played in Martinique and other islands.
“Watty Watkins was a drummer who always had his own band. When his Watty Watkins Orchestra wasn’t playing, my group used their instruments. We were loaned our instruments for our tour to Jamaica by Watty.
I left Trinidad in, ah, I think it was 1963 with Calypsonians Lord Melody and Lord Cristo for 13 days of shows in Jamaica. We, the Nearlin Taitt Orchestra, left Trinidad originally on a tour of the Commonwealth Isles. Grenada first, St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua to Jamaica and it was supposed to end in the Bahamas. I can’t recall the exact date that we arrived in Jamaica, but it was during August 1963. Then we get stranded, there were 26 or 27. Most went home,” he explained, shaking his head. [It’s been reported that one of the Calypsonians was Lord Blakie. Taitt told me specifically he was not on the trip, although he told Jim Dooley he was. According to the bill below, he wasn’t.]
It was indeed August, 1963 that Taitt arrived in Jamaica. But it doesn’t appear that he did so as leader of his Nearlin Taitt Orchestra. No ads or bills have turned up and in fact researcher Roberto Moore discovered an advertisement for Cyril Diaz “& His 7 Piece Orchestra” performing with two of the Calypsonians Taitt cited as on the tour. The ad was for a concert on August 9, at the Sheraton Kingston, “by the poolside.” Somehow between Trinidad and Jamaica, Featured tenor Cyril Diaz gained top billing. Perhaps promoter Byron Lee took that angle, but it was the same seven piece Nearlin Taitt Orchestra identified above.
“The Jamaica tour was for two weeks. But there was no gig on the last day, Sunday, when we were to relax. By Monday, the managers had vanished and Byron came with two Volkswagen buses to take the group to the airport. But without pay, we didn’t want to return to Trinidad. So no one went back. We were staying at a hotel right across from the Palace Theater. After we got no pay for the Jamaica gigs, Byron Lee put the drummer in Llans Thelwell and the Celestials band in Mobay, the tenor and keyboard player went to the Vagabonds at Silver Slipper in Kingston and I went to The Shieks.
The Shieks band logo from a May 29, 1964 advertisement for a show at the Victoria Pier.
I was in that group for about 10 months. From September or October till the next summer. That must’ve been 1963 or ’64. There were two brothers who financed the Shieks. One who played drums and one who drove the van. They had a department store.”
According to vocalist Norma Fraser, and confirmed by Lloyd Spence, “Ian Jones was the owner of the Shieks.”
The caption to the photo above reads, “If you’re thinking that the musicians here look like members of the Shieks orchestra, then you’re right. The line-up is the same, but the band name is different. For various reasons, the group is now known as the Cavaliers and may well be the only co-operative dance orchestra operating locally. Each member has a share in the band and the profits are divided. Manager is Bill Gentles. The line-up, (left to right) Jackie Mittoo, Lloyd Spence, Nearlin Taitt, Lloyd Knibb, Roy Sterling, Johnny Moore, Headley Bennett, Bobby Gaynair. In front are the vocalists – Lloyd Wilks, Norma Fraser and Honey Boy Martin.”
Taitt continued, “Once Lloyd Spence found out that I could arrange, that was the end of the Shieks. Spence knew two people from Negril and they financed the start of the Cavaliers. That band was around for a year or so. Spence’s father was the bandleader Trenton Spence. You must have heard of him? It was Cavaliers for about one and half years.” [I have an August 1965 ad for Cavaliers.] So Taitt’s tenure in the Shieks was brief, not about ten months as he suggested but less than ten weeks.
The Cavaliers band at the Sombrero Club, 52b Molynes Road Kingston. Left to right, Honeyboy Martin, Lloyd Wilks, Cedric Brooks, Headley Bennett, Roy Sterling, Jackie Willacey, Carl McLeod, Nearlin Taitt, Roy Green and Lloyd Spence.
The Cavaliers band did at least one recording session at Federal. From that perhaps only a single two sider was released. But what a record! It features the band’s trumpet battery, Roy Sterling and Jackie Willacey, performing their own compositions. Sterling’s “I Man” and Willacey’s “Blue Ska.” Two takes of each were done. Often mistaken for Skatalites tracks due to their matrix numbers, which do not include letters that would reveal the producer or the studio, there was another reason why these two were so hard to identify. The members of the Cavaliers band apparently forgot about their session! On multiple occasions I questioned Roy Sterling, Lloyd Knibb and Lyn Taitt about Cavaliers recordings and all three musicians were unable to recall any. I played “I Man” and “Blue Ska” for them and memories were not jogged. Taitt was emphatic, “Cavaliers band never record. You keep asking me and I keep telling you. That was a show band and we didn’t make records. That band didn’t cut for any producers.”
When I produced photographic evidence of the Cavaliers tape box, Taitt finally acquiesced. He speculated that the session might have come shortly before he departed Cavaliers to start up his own group, The Comets. Taitt confirmed that he wrote his name on this tape box.
After that I start my own band, the Comets, and they lasted about two years.” [I don’t know if the band could’ve been around quite that long, unless the Jets started up before the demise of the Comets. The Jets began recording in 1966.]
The Comets formed in June 1965, or soon after. When asked about the members of the Comets, Taitt elaborated. “At first the Comets band was Ron Wilson on trombone, Gladdy on piano, Lloyd Spence, bass, Drumbago on drums, we had no sax at first, sometimes I used Winston Graham on trumpet. After the band got some work, I start to use Rupert Dillon and David Madden on trumpets, Carlton Samuels on tenor saxophone and keep Ron Wilson on trombone. It was also Lloyd Spence on bass. I had Winston Wright on organ, Lloyd Knibb on drums and Glen Miller and Honeyboy Martin were the vocalists.”
The Maytals and Lynn Taitt & The Comets at the Glass Bucket Club in Kingston, 1965.
Taitt did some producing with the Comets, in addition to all his arranging and playing. “The Comets band do a couple recordings and I was in charge of those musically. I had to recruit Ron Wilson and David Madden from the Military band for the Comets. The Skatalites had the best musicians and it was hard for me to find good musicians for my band. So I had to get them from Jamaica government bands,” Taitt recounted, laughing.
Among recordings Taitt produced under the aegis of Comet Productions Limited were “Cool Night/Ma & Pa” by the Jamaicans and “A Good Man,” “Mini Skirt & Go Go Boots,” “Pretending Again” and “What You Gonna Do Now” by Lloyd Robinson & Glen Brown.
“The financer of the Comets was a wealthy guy who had a car mart on East Parade. Keith Earl Roberts was his name. He also owned a couple of race horses. He was a laid back Jamaica white man. But the Comets weren’t making that much. So Mr. Roberts ten percent was small and eventually it got so bad that he sue me for $1400 pounds, which was the cost of the group’s instruments. You see, Mr. Roberts had paid for them. [big laugh] I think that end the Comets,” Taitt declared.
“My first recording was ‘Shank I Sheck’ for King Edwards. Or at least that was the hit from my first session. There were two tenors on that, Tommy McCook and Dennis ‘Ska’ Campbell. Also Gladdy, Baba Brooks, Brevett and I can’t remember the drummer. Oh, yeah, it was Knibb. He’s the one that picked me up and drove me to the session and then introduced me to the other guys.”
So your first session was for King Edwards and not for Duke Reid? [Baba Brooks led sessions for both men.] You were quoted saying of that session, “Khouri had a little room, downstairs, and there we recorded ‘Shenk I Sheck.’ Is that right, it was downstairs, like a basement level? “No, it was a small room with about four stairs down to it. It was before Khouri built up his big studio.”
Former Federal pressman and Merritone label arranger and co-producer Keith Scott says the first session you did in Jamaica was for Duke Reid and you cut “Yeah Yeah Baby” [matrix # FDR 3001] with Stranger Cole and Patsy Todd. [Other early recordings Taitt played on for Reid were “When You Call My Name” (DR 03) and it’s follow up hit, “We Two Happy People.” (FDR 3002)]
Keith Scott, left, discusses music with Taitt in the lobby of the Ramada Hotel Toronto Canada, July 14, 2002. Copyright Brian Keyo.
When asked about Duke Reid, Taitt replied, “Duke Reid treated me very well I think, he used to send a guy on a bicycle to tell me about sessions. The first ones for Duke were always with Baba Brooks. He’d usually have his sessions at Federal on Sundays, from about 1 until about 7 or 8:00 p. m. in the evening, sometimes later. The sessions would usually be 5 or 6 or so tunes and no rehearsals, we never rehearse, we’d just run it down once and then red light! [laughing]
Whoever would have a tune would get the credit and more money. Usually Baba Brooks led the session, so a tune would be by his group unless if it was my tune, like ‘Magnificent,’ if it’s Drumbago’s All Stars, that means it was Drumbago’s tune and so forth. So yes, ‘Magnificent Ska’ is my tune done with Baba Brooks, Drumbago, Lloyd Spence, Sammy Ismay and Gladdy. I would say that ‘Storm Warning’ should be by Lyn Taitt and The Comets. That’s Ron Wilson on trombone, and there’s no sax.
Like I said, Duke always treat me well and he used myself and most of the Skatalites, but not Mittoo. Duke used Gladdy all the time, and Baba Brooks. He also used Lloyd Spence, who lives in Ottawa [Jim Dooley thinks that may be Oshawa] Canada now. Lloyd Spence was the first Jamaican bassist to have an electric bass after Byron Lee. Spence played on a lot of Ska. When I played for Dodd he also always used Spence or Brevett. Treasure Isle was a nice studio with a great sound. Everyone thought it was from the wood. Duke’s liquor store was on the first floor, and I remember when they finished building the studio on top of the liquor store.
Lloyd Knibb had a little red convertible and through we were in the Shieks he used to carry me to Duke for sessions. I can remember that car,” Taitt reminisced.
“What help me a lot in Jamaica was that I have perfect pitch. Did you know that Mittoo, McCook and Rolando had perfect pitch? Quincy Jones have it but I don’t hear any more West Indians with perfect pitch.”
Posing with his favorite guitar, a Hofner.
“It was I who come with the first flat body guitar in Jamaica. Well, for recording. As Ernest and Jerry both had wide body Jazz guitars that they played and recorded with. When I come to Jamaica, Ernest wasn’t there. He was in England. I was always trying new things with my guitar. Is my experience from playing Calypso on guitar that I use to help shape sounds in Jamaica,” Taitt declared. [Dennis Sindrey has kindly noted that he recorded in Jamaica for several years prior to Taitt’s arrival using his 1958 Fender Stratocaster, a flat body guitar.]
Like the ‘bubbling of notes’ style that echoes the inflections of steel pan?
“Yes, that’s a part of it,” Taitt replied. “It’s playing the bass line and other things too.”
Part of the Skatalites Orchestra rhythm section rehearsing for the Legends of Ska concerts on July 11, 2002. Left to right, Phil Chen, Derrick Harriott (behind the glass), Dennis Sindrey and Lynn Taitt. Copyright Brian Keyo.
A rare credit to Taitt for a Skatalites recording can be seen on the Ska Authentic various artists LP compilation, produced by Coxson Dodd. “Full Dread” is credited to “L. Tate.”
BK: Now, regarding Coxson, you say you only recorded for him with the Skatalites, but on both instrumentals and for vocalists, right?
LT: “Yes, that’s right. The first session I do with the Skatalites at Studio One we did some songs with Jackie Opel and then we did instrumentals.”
BK: So when the Skatalites recorded for Dodd, you were essentially a member of the group? You’ve told me that you, “. . . never played with Jerry in studio”?
LT: “Yes, Jerry not there when I was there. Certain songs Jerry play guitar on, I played on after. We never played together. I recorded with the Skatalites band or most of the members of that band, for Dodd, Duke Reid, Yap, King Edwards, Prince Buster, Kong who had Beverley’s. I remember he did his sessions on Saturday. I didn’t record for Mr. Pottinger.”
[The Studio 1 recording of “Freedom Sounds” by the Skatalites starts to play . . . ] LT: “Do you know what key that Freedom Sounds is in?” When I respond, ‘no, afraid I don’t’, Taitt quickly noted it’s in G minor.
Honeyboy Martin with the mike, Carlton Samuels on tenor saxophone and Taitt on guitar in front of the Comets in 1965. Venue identified by Keith Scott as The Victoria Pier.
“Byron [Lee] asked me to play in his band. He wanted me to play keyboards, I almost said yes and everything would’ve been different I think then. But it was too late for Byron. I had fallen in love with the Skatalites band. I had just done my first sessions with them before Byron asked me. That was spring 1964. I wanted to play music with Skatalites and be able to drink and cuss as much as I wanted to and smoke a big spliff as long as your arm. (laughing) I couldn’t do any of that if I played with Byron’s band, so I say no thanks to Byron.
It was a few years later that there was a Sunday night stage show at Palace with Alton, Hortense and Skatalites, Comets and Dragonaires. That night Byron get bottled by the crowd because they couldn’t play Ska and the crowd wanted more Skatalites not Dragonaires. That show at the Palace was a downtown crowd. The place packed with people on the walls and sitting in tall trees and just everywhere. That crowd don’t like Byron. He’s a capitalist and not for the people. They had to run off the stage and pack up later.”
BK: Let’s talk about the Jets.
LT: “Well, that was my band. I first buy a couple speakers to start it from scratch, my band. They were two 12” speakers. No clubs had sound back then so when you start a band you have to buy speakers and carry them.”
BK: When exactly in 1966 did you form the Jets?
LT: “Early ’66. Once I got steady work at Federal, I formed the Jets.”
BK: Was the lineup above the same live aggregation also?
LT: “The same, oh yeah. But the Jets didn’t play live that much, we lived in the studio.”
BK: Yes, you must have for the amount of songs the Jets band backed. Not just for Federal and their Merritone label either.
LT: “That’s right. The Jets were recording for everyone. We did a lot for Merrittone because that was Federal’s top label. But Pottinger, Beverley’s, Prince Buster, Joe Gibbs, for WIRL, at WIRL for Bunny Lee, at Treasure Isle for Bunny Lee, even at Treasure Isle for Duke but I think those get released as by Supersonics because Tommy was there too. We really lived in the studio.”
BK: Yes, but when you weren’t there where did you sleep? That is, where did you first live in Jamaica?
LT: “I lived on Margaret Villa Road, Kingston 10 during the Jets time. Before that, I lived on Hope Road. I was living there when a girl hit me with a cup and took my 20 pound session pay from ‘Shank I Sheck.’ [laughing] I can laugh about that now, but it wasn’t funny then.”
One of the best interviews conducted with Taitt was done by the late Robert “Bob” Schoenfeld, who died in 2006. In addition to his work as a founder of the Nighthawk label, Schoenfeld was a co-compiler of the premier discography of Jamaican Music, Roots Knotty Roots, along with the estimable Michael Turner. Here’s an excerpt from the interview, first published in Dub Catcher 4, June 1992.
LT: Yes. Well, this is what I’m coming to. Because Hopeton Lewis came to the Federal Recording studio with a song called ‘Take It Easy’ (sings) ‘Take you time. Take it easy.’ And I find the Ska was too fast. Very, very fast. So I told them, I said, Well, look. Let’s do this one slow. Very slow. And as the music got slower it had spaces. The slower the music, it have more spaces to do something with. So I put a bass line and I play in unison with the bass and get a bass line. And the piano, sometimes I strum, sometimes I play a bass line with the bass. That was the first slow song, Rock Steady song. It was ‘Take It Easy’ by Hopeton Lewis. The first slow song. Nothing else was slow at that time. Everything had been Ska.”
BOB S.: Did the song catch?
LT: Yes. It went number one in Jamaica.
BOB S.: So that created kind of a demand for that sound then?
LT: For that tempo. The tempo is very slow with the bass and guitar line playing the same thing. You used to use two guitars. Hux Brown and myself, or another guitarist and myself. And it was very slow, yunno, but with a definite bass line going straight through the song.
BOB S.: It gives the song kind of a pressure feel. I don’t know how to describe it. More tension.
LT: Yes. Because the Ska does not really have a rhythm section. It was an accompaniment to the horns. Just holding the chords. But with this slowing down of the music and the spaces which it opened, the bass line came into focus.
BOB S.: Sometimes you aren’t sure if you’re hearing the bass guitar or the regular guitar.
LT: Yeah. It was very tight. The two of them played exactly the same note.
BOB S.: But there’s a little more to it still now on the guitarist. Because the sound is not just played on the same notes, it’s also the style of . . . is it picking?
LT: It’s a bubbling of notes.
BOB S.: Yeah, talk to me about the bubbling, man.
LT: You buck the string with your right hand, yunno? You’re picking, but you buck the string. You don’t let the string sustain, yunno. And the two first persons who did that was I and Ernest Ranglin. But I was more in demand for recording with the various recording studios. I used that to stray away from the bass line. And that catch on as well.
BOB S.: Well that to me is one of the loveliest things I’ve ever heard. When you hear that sound, was that mainly just you and Hux or was there someone else bucking the strings?
LT: It involved after I left Jamaica, I think in 1968. It was in England I heard some couple of records from England with it. Many of the guitarists take the bubbling and did it as well. But I had a distinctive sound and still have a distinctive sound of the guitar. Another thing I have to say, the guitarists at that time used to strum up first for the beat. But I turned to strum down for the first beat. But before, everybody they used to pull the strings up. And the music is written in common time, yunno. Not in cut time, because Calypso is written in cut time. But Reggae/Rock Steady is written in common time music. It is a simpler form because the phrases are not very fast. Slow phrases.
BOB S.: That’s fascinating, Lyn, that’s just fascinating.
LT: When I started to do recording sessions for Mr. Duke Reid and many different artists out there, Ernest was in England, not in Jamaica. He came after. Maybe he found out about me (laughs). Because on certain sessions I played guitar with him and we had a lot of fun. [At Federal for Ranglin LP’s such as A Mod A Mod Ranglin and Mr. Ranglin. Taitt wrote out the credits for me on A Mod A Mod, explaining that he and Ernest were having fun in the studio during that session and for each song they would play different instruments. On some tracks he played organ and Ranglin played bass, others they both played guitar and swapped leads.]
Credits to A Mod A Mod Ranglin. Lynn kindly wrote in credits for himself and Ranglin as Federal neglected to include them. [Unseen on the reverse are credits to “Born Free,” “Lynn Organ & Guits, Ranglin (G)”.]
BOB S.: I think it is one of the most fertile, if not the most fertile creative period in Jamaican music, and it was a short lived period for sure.
LT: Yes, it was short.
BOB S.: But in that short time, the records that did come out are pretty consistently wonderful, one right after the other.
LT: Yes. Because they may call me for a session at 9:00 in the morning till 12:00 noon. And another session would start at 1:00 and finish at 4:00 with another one at 5:00 till 8:00 at night. So maybe four session a day, five session a day for different promoters. That’s how it used to be at that time.
BOB S.: I understand that Gladdy played a real key role in many early sessions.
LT: Yep. He played because at that time I couldn’t talk to the Jamaicans because I had a really strong Trinidadian accent, yunno. The Jamaicans didn’t really understand it fully. So Gladdy used to look after all of that, talk to the singers and get everything clear.
BOB S.: He understood you better?
LT: Yes, much better.
BOB S:Well, I think of you as a legendary figure in this music. As a researcher and a music lover, when I go back and listen to the old records it becomes obvious to me that there are certain highlights. Chief among them, to my ears, is 1967-68. those years were when you were creative fruitful in Jamaica. That sound and that style is a standout.
LT: Yes, it is. But you see, in those times, there were more creative musicians. Tommy McCook was a great leader, Ernest Ranglin. You know a lot of the musicians were more creative, because there was no one else before us to do these things we did. It was a pleasure to get up and get an idea and put your idea onto a record. And to have the public like what you do is a great gift.
BOB S.: Were there artists that you favored?
LT: Oh, gosh. It’s a long time…Alton Ellis, Desmond Dekker, Roy Shirley, yunno. Most of the artists then were more creative. They had a better melody. They created lovely songs. They were more into music. At that time we were not thinking of it from a business aspect. We were just interested in creating beautiful music.
BOB S.: Well you certainly did, Lyn, you certainly did.
Left to right, Derrick Harriott, Owen Gray and Lynn Taitt, Toronto July 11, 2002. Copyright Brian Keyo.
“I don’t think people know that it was I that first hear Phyllis Dillon sing and then carry her name to Duke Reid. It was a show that my band did in some place in St. Catherine I think. Around 1965. She was singing with another band and she get my attention. I tell her she should come to Kingston and record with me at Duke Reid’s. Eventually that’s what happened. I arranged and played on all her recordings for Duke. Her first song was a big hit, [“Don’t Stay Away”] and she just go from there. We get along really well and I work with her on stage in Jamaica at that time too. Except after 1968, when I went to Canada.”
Sometime in early 1966, Taitt received an award for what many considered to be the song of the year in Jamaica for 1965. “I received an award from WIRL for Joe White’s ‘Every Night’ as the composer and arranger. My first wife later destroyed it as our marriage break up.
Did you know Brian that ‘Every Night’ was the first song released by Sonia Pottinger when she became a producer on her own? I think it was in 1965. That record get me a lot of work. [Written by Joe White and Chuck Josephs, it was a Jamaican #1 for weeks and it set Pottinger off to a string of hits. Nearly all were arranged by Taitt, whom she’s recalled as a “wonderful musician.”]
“Some of the most famous music I’ve worked on was with Johnny Nash. I arranged his first LP, including his version of ‘I Can See Clearly Now.’” There were a lot of things that I did with him. ‘Hold Me Tight,’ I’m the writer and arranger of, and of the song ‘Cupid.’ Those songs all charted in England I think.”
During my last visit with Lynn, on Sunday August 30, 2009 at his home in Boisbriand Quebec, he spoke about why he didn’t respect the music recorded at Studio 1 as much as recordings done at Federal or Treasure Isle studios. He also disclosed that he and Coxson didn’t get along, signaling there was a break at some point. His remarks were prompted by the playing of a certain Studio 1 Rock Steady recording.
“The instruments don’t tune. Listen! That wrong, that WRONG.”
Taitt was pretty much yelling, and as I was deejaying, he was yelling at me. He’d reacted this way before but it still was startling. I respected the way he didn’t tolerate what he knew to be wrong. He had to speak out, and sometimes I was just seated closest. He could get quite agitated at hearing poorly tuned instruments or poorly played music.
“That should never get released. The instruments, specifically that bass and the guitar are out of tune. Jackie Mittoo as the arranger should know that and he should correct that. That part of the reason that Coxson and I can’t get along. Things were not done right musically. Instruments have to be in tune if you’re recording. Yes, Coxson do the most recording, but he’s not a musician and as much as he love music, he can’t tell when an instrument goes out of tune or he doesn’t care. That’s why he have Jackie Mittoo as his arranger. Jackie a genius but he was just a boy and Coxson give him his first job as arranger. He don’t have experience arranging anywhere else. I did the arrangements for The Shieks and the Cavaliers, not Mittoo. He was the cheapest guy Dodd could get too, because he’s new to it. Myself and Baba Brooks get extra pay for arranging and Dodd not willing to pay much extra. Dodd have a brand new studio and he could use an experienced arranger but he use Jackie, a 15 year old boy.”
Jackie Mittoo at age 15. Born on March 3, 1948, he was in the Cavaliers band on the date of this photo, November 28, 1963. Coxson Dodd’s Studio 1 opened about a month prior.
In 1967, Lyn completed a project for West Indies Records Limited, WIRL, which resulted in the LP Folk Songs Of the Caribbean by Hazel and her Carib Quintet. An all female group said to include Jamaican author and folklorist Olive Lewin, [Can anyone confirm?] they recorded a selection of material that spanned the Caribbean from Jamaica to Trinidad and beyond to Suriname. The only credit for the musical backing is to Lynn Taitt. However, Taitt mentioned a drummer was involved also.
In addition to all of his work in 1966 and ’67 at Federal and at WIRL with various groups, Taitt was also the musical director for Cecil “Prince Buster” Campbell. He was the architect, arranger and at least co-producer of the Rock Steady productions released by Campbell. This included recordings by Lee Perry, Larry Marshall, Dawn Penn, The Daltons, Hortense Ellis, Winston Samuels, Winston Jarrett and The Flames, Peter Tosh and at least one by The Swingers, in addition to a few dozen featuring Campbell.
BK: What year did you go to England with Buster? How many shows did you do?
LT: “It was in 1967. We were there for a month, month and a half. We played Leeds, Cardiff, Manchester, Brixton, all around. It was just Prince or Boop, and myself who travel from Jamaica to England. We meet up with a group called the Bees. The Bees were mostly Jamaicans who’d emigrated. We did some rehearsals with the Bees before the tour started.”
Taitt and Cecil “Prince Buster” Campbell during rehearsals for Legends of Ska, Toronto, July 11 2002. Copyright Brian Keyo.
According to the Prince Buster Live On Tour album, venues included; Upper Cut-Forest Gate, Locarno Ballrooms/Ram Jam-Brixton, Top Rank Ballrooms/Assembly Hall-Stafford, Tower Ballroom-Birmingham, Bag O Nails-London, Atalanta Ballroom-Woking, Bromel Club-Bromley, Cromwellian Club-London, Ricky Tick-Hounslow, Ritz Ballroom-Birmingham, Beachcomber Club, Nottingham, Guild Hall-Southampton, Toft’s Ballroom-Folkestone, Dorothy Ballroom-Cambridge, The Thing Club-Oldham, Birdcage Club-Portsmouth, Shoreline Club-Bognor, Digbeth Civic Hall-Birmingham, Cricketers Arms-Chertsey, Ska Bar-Woolwich, Marquee Club London, Corn Exchange-Chelmsford, Starlight Ballroom-Crawley, Central Hall-Gillingham, Tabernacle Club-Stockport, Skewan’s Ballroom-Swansea.
Among photos in Taitt’s collection; The Jets @ Federal, pictured left to right, Bobby Ellis, Lyn Taitt, Joe Isaacs, Jerry Geary [“rhythm guitar, sometimes”], Lennox Brown, Carlton Samuels, Gladdy Anderson and Bryan Atkinson.
Taitt, Lloyd Knibb and The Cavaliers from a Regal Theater show on Easter Sunday morning 1964.
Bim [Ed Lewis] and Bam [Aston Wynter] on the Easter show.
Charlie Organaire backed by The Cavaliers on the Easter show 1964, in color.
The Jets at a restaurant/bar. Although an 8” x 10” print, it’s blurry. Taitt is leaning close to Headley Bennett. When I ask why, he explains. “I was lighting a big cigar so I was ducking down when they take that picture. I don’t know why those guys are in it.” [pointing to two guys at a table in the foreground].
During a phone interview conducted on August 15, 1997, Taitt identified the members of The Jets. He noted that they formed in 1966. “Jets start up before the summer, but I’m not sure what month it was. The Jets was myself, [Lynford] ‘Hux’ Brown, Gladdy Anderson, Bryan Atkinson, Joe Isaacs, [Felix] ‘Deadly Headley’ Bennett, Bobby Ellis and Sam on tenor. Carlton Samuels. After a while we start to use Lennox Brown on alto, who was from Portland. Jerry Geary was also a Jet. He played rhythm guitar when Hux had to work with the Vikings. His regular gig was with Vikings Band so Geary would sub for him regularly.”
LT:” I had a five year contract at Federal. But I still freelance.” [Another time Taitt told me he did not have a contract with Federal.] He told interviewer Bob Schoenfeld in 1992, “But the Jets and I got a contract to work with Federal Recording. Well most of the artists used to work with Federal and Duke Reid and all dem. I was the main one with the guitar. Playing around with all of the artists that Jamaica ever produced at that time.” (Dub Catcher 4, June 1992.)
“I spent a lot of time working at Federal and got along well with the Khouri’s. Mrs. Khouri was sweet on me,” Taitt smiled broadly when mentioning this.
Taitt could make small talk about plenty subjects, but you might not get many words out of him unless you were talking about some aspect of music. He could hold forth on any musical topic. From instruments to songwriting and composing and arranging, Taitt would soon become animated, however the subject was broached.
During an all day visit to the Taitt’s apartment in August, 1997, Lyn took great pleasure in playing each of the instruments he had present. From harmonica to bongos, then to piano and organ, then cuatro and guitar, etc., etc.. This began after I reacted with surprise upon learning that not only had Taitt played the guitar and bass on his recent recordings, but that he’d also played the keyboard and drum parts himself and boasted that he could’ve played the horn parts too, but was going to get guys who could solo well. My reaction was prompted by tracks Taitt cued up from his 1998 solo CD, New Oldies I’m In The Mood For Moods.
At a next visit to the Taitts, when I asked what his favorite musical instrument was, Lyn did not hesitate before replying, “Pan. Steelpan. Then guitar.”
Asked if he had a favorite guitar? “Yes, I did. I don’t have it anymore and I wish I could find another like it. I should never have gotten rid of it. My favorite guitar was my 1965 Hofner with a red body and black plastic overlay. It had 2 ordinary metal headed pickups and a vibrato handle. It had 3 knobs, volume, bass and treble. I bought it in 1964 or early ’65 at Music Mart on King Street. It’s not really the guitar that gives the sound, it’s in the pickups. Those metal headed pickups give a different sound than the plastic ones.
The Hofner was a German guitar. The frets got worn, the notes started to ring, so I sold it. I picked up a Fender Telecaster this year, it’s new, about six months.” [Stated in December, 1998.]
Taitt bucking the strings for ‘a bubbling of notes’ at his former home on Napoleon Street in the St. Therese section of Montreal. Copyright Brian Keyo.
“The Jamaica government sent me to Mexico City in 1966. I played for folk dancing. [Ballet Folklorico de Mexico] It was a quick trip, two or three days. So I wasn’t surprised when the government wanted me to go to Toronto.”
Ah yes, the fateful trip to Toronto. Taitt left Jamaica for Toronto on August 8, 1968. “I had no intention to leave Jamaica permanently. None whatsoever. I had a van and a car in Jamaica when I left and I thought I’d be coming back to them!” He is consumed by laughter and it’s a few seconds before he continues . . . “In 1968, the Jamaican government sent me to Toronto to arrange for a group under a one year contract. Byron Lee first contacted me about the Toronto contract. It was at the West Indian Federated Club. I was given a 14 day ticket, roundtrip. I was received by Kermit Lyn, brother of the singer Keith. He was a Jamaican Chinese guy who lived in Scarborough, Ontario. I think it was on Bloor Street. [The W.I.F.C.] Soon there was Johnny Moore, Bobby Gaynair too. Joe Isaacs was the drummer. I became an emigrant to Canada on September 10, 1969.
The only time I’ve been back to Jamaica was in 1973. I rented a room on Hope Road and somebody robbed my briefcase during my stay. When I was there in ’73, I was given a three day, all expense paid holiday in Mexico. That was the government sending me to play Jamaican folk music for a special exhibition.”
Also during that 1973 trip to Jamaica, Taitt became re-acquainted with Federal Studios, albeit briefly. He did a session for American singer Mary McCreary, playing on her single “Singing The Blues (Raggae).” The rest of the band for that session included Winston Wright on organ, Clifton “Jackie” Jackson on bass, Lloyd Knibb on drums and “Hux” Brown on guitar.
“I almost did a tour with Harry Belafonte, but I arrived late and didn’t get the gig. That was when I was living in New York City in 1973. The same year I go into business with Victor Chin who have Chin-Randy’s Record Shop in Brooklyn. He pay the bills and I arrange the music. I only end up doing two or three songs and I go back to Canada. You see my mother was sick in New York, she have a heart attack, so I go to see her and that’s how I meet Randy’s brother.”
BK: How long was your band Obeah in existence?
LT: Well, Jackie Mittoo and I were resident musicians at the West Indian Club in Toronto in 1975. We formed it [Obeah] in Toronto with Tony Bennett, who had come up with Byron [Lee] to play at the Edgewater Club in Montreal. Tony came to Toronto to look for me. After he find me, we go off to Montreal to play. Keys was Louis Toteda, who is the leader of my present band, La Gioventu. I didn’t feel any way about leaving Toronto and leaving Jackie Mittoo at the West Indian Club. He was kind of going on bad, to me, by ’75. Everett Sam was the singer for Obeah.
So I moved from Toronto to Montreal area in 1975. I settled in a suburb called Terrebonne, north of the city. I play on TV and arrange, and mainly record and help young artists. I had the only Jamaican studio in Montreal, although I mostly worked on calypsos.
Ricky Francis was the Guyanese promoter who first sent me on tour in Canada. I met my wife Francine at a show we play in her hometown of Joliette.
For years, Taitt played in a Montreal nine piece show band, Orchestra La Gioventu, which means “The Youth” in Italian, he tells me.
“The band has two Italians, two Texans, myself, two horns, a trumpet and a sax player and four vocalists. I was paid $500 a week as a musician and then after I stop play with the band, I was also getting $500 a week as their arranger. That was for the last couple of years.” [Stated in August 2009.]
“Brian, have you ever heard of the Trinidad musicians Joey Lewis and Clarence Curvan? They led groups in Trinidad in the fifties that played Reggae bass lines, but they didn’t realize it at the time.”
Among session work that Taitt had in the late 1980s and early 1990s were albums with Winston Grennan, including Wash Over Gold.
He also did sessions in Woodstock, New York sponsored by Nighthawk Record’s Bob Schoenfeld that featured Leonard “The Ethiopian” Dillon and members of the Skatalites.
Taitt travelled to Japan to perform as a member of the Skatalites in April, 1989. Despite the Skatalite band being on the road in the United States supporting Bunny Wailer’s Liberation tour, promoters Herbie Miller and Sonny Ochiai were able to lure away Rolando Alphonso, Jackie Mittoo and Lester Sterling. The three were the original members who joined guests Lynn Taitt, Winston Grennan, Gladstone Anderson, Bryan Atkinson, David Madden, Calvin Cameron and vocalists Prince Buster and Lord Tanamo for two performances in Tokyo.
The CD Ska Groove In Japan, featuring that band’s performance on April 30 at the Pit Siodome in Tokyo, was released as was a VHS video recording.
The Sort-of-Lites in Tokyo: Left to right, back row: David Madden, Calvin Cameron, Joseph “Lord Tanamo” Gordon, Winston Grennan, Lester Sterling, Lynn Taitt, Roland Alphonso. Front row; Bryan Atkinson, Jackie Mittoo, Cecil “Prince Buster” Campbell, Gladstone Anderson.
After the senior members of the Skatalites expressed repeated dismay with the behavior and playing of the band’s guitarist, Devon James, I proposed Taitt as his replacement in 1995. My idea was met with pure enthusiasm. Alphonso and McCook both asked if I had his phone number. Brevett intoned, “Yes, I think we should get him.”
Knibb especially was enthused and began testifying about Taitt’s prowess as an arranger.
When I contacted Taitt and told him how the band wanted him, he was pleased to hear it, but wasn’t sure if he could accept due to the Skatalites erratic touring schedule. He called me back in a few days to say he’d have to decline the offer to join the Skatalites, for the second time, he noted.
Taitt told me during a summer visit in 1996 that he was allergic to pollen and that the count had been high recently. In January, 1999, Taitt told me that he recently learned he had diabetes.
Prior to the diagnosis of diabetes, whenever I made the trip north to Canada for a visit, I’d carry a bottle of Wray & Nephew Overproof rum. Taitt explained that he had acquired a taste for the distinctive Jamaican rum during his initial stay on the island and that he was unable to obtain it in Quebec.
During an April 17, 1998 phone interview, we talked about the recently recorded One Love CD, which Taitt produced with Phyllis Dillon. “There are remakes of ‘Don’t Stay Away’ and ‘One Life To Live.’ I’ve cut at least four instrumentals too. Winston Grennan on drums. It will be out on the Twolyn label. I’ll be getting help to put it out from Karl Mullings, the manager and father of singer Tanya Mullings.” [Unfortunately, Taitt later reported that Mullings was unable to come through with promised assistance in order to release the Phyllis Dillon CD. It remains unreleased to date.]
During the same interview, Taitt described how he had recently received a Canadian Reggae Award. “They sent a big plaque, but no big check!” [Then he laughed loudly.]
Again speaking about the recordings he’d done with Phyllis Dillon. “People say we have more than one hit tune, we’ll just have to see. I’ve finished adding the horns, so it’s about done.”
Later in 1998, Lyn played on three tunes with the Quebec based Kingpins group for their “Watch Your Back” CD on Moon. He recalled the session taking place during July in Montreal.
A conversation about steel pan playing on certain Jamaican records revealed that Taitt didn’t play pan in Jamaica at all.
“Is the producer want steel pan on that record, not me. I didn’t play that. If you know how I play pan you could never ask me that question. You see how I’m stuck between two heritages, Trinidadian and Jamaican?”
Indeed, I could. I sensed at times that Taitt was challenged to reconcile these heritages.
At the 2002 Montreal Jazz Festival, Taitt played Ska with the Kingpins and also performed at least one number on his tenor steel pan.
I noticed during my August, 2009 visit that there were awards on the living room wall that had not been there during previous visits. One was from the “Oilfields Workers Trade Union. 3rd Pan Pioneer Award Mr. Nerlin [sic] Taitt in recognition of your longstanding contribution to the development of our National Instrument ‘the Steelpan’ Saturday, 27th April, 2002.” A next plaque read, “Pan Tribago salutes Nirlin [sic] Taitt, ace steelband musician for his sterling contribution to the development of Steelband music at home and abroad.”
On April 13, 2006, Taitt played a concert at Hugh’s Room in Toronto. Hugh’s Room was described to me by Torontonian Greg Lawson as one of the city’s finest venues in which to see live music.
The band backing Taitt was recruited by pianist Jason Wilson, who has recorded with Ernest Ranglin, among others.
Respect to “DB” for making a high quality recording of the show. Taitt was in fine fettle and scorched his strings on eight ripping Rock Steady cuts. The backing was super and one can only wish the recording was longer.
In June, 2006, Taitt flew from Montreal to Boston to play a session. I accompanied him to a Saturday rehearsal in a Newton, Massachusetts basement and the Sunday session in Cambridge at WMBR-FM. ‘MBR is the radio station for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, AKA M.I.T.. New England Conservatory Professor and pianist Ran Blake sat in for a couple numbers.
Also during 2006 Taitt was interviewed on film for the Japanese Rock Steady documentary Ruff n’ Tuff.
He appeared on the Montreal Jazz Festival in July, 2006 for the second time. Billed as Lynn Taitt & The Jets, he led a reconstituted band through four performances over the fortnight or so duration of the Jazz Festival. The Jets were bolstered by Vernon Buckley of the Maytones as a guest vocalist.
Vernon Buckley, front left and Lynn Taitt behind his steelpan. Courtesy of the photographer, Jim Dooley
In August, 2007, Taitt asked me to join him for a flight to Tokyo for the premiere of the film Ruff n’ Tuff. (His wife Francine was originally scheduled to make the trip.) However, Taitt was suddenly hospitalized the day before our scheduled departure as his foot was burning him, in his words. It turned out to be a complication or side effect from his diabetes medication.
[To date, the film has not been released outside of Japan, although it was shown in Jamaica during a film festival in February, 2010.]
Taitt’s condition improved significantly and he was able to control his diabetes through medication. By November, 2007, he was a featured member of the band and personally conducted the rehearsals prior to two concerts in Toronto with Prince Buster. The shows were at the Phoenix Theatre and I think Jason Wilson recruited the other players and played piano.
Taitt during rehearsals for the Legends of Ska concerts in Toronto. July 12, 2002. Copyright Brian Keyo.
“The film was intended to centre around a reunion concert headlined by Taitt. Within weeks of the start of production however, Taitt was diagnosed with cancer and could no longer take part.” (Christopher Olson, The Suburbannews.com “Quebec’s largest English weekly newspaper.” )
Olson is referring to Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae, and it wasn’t within weeks but literally during the second day of filming that Taitt was stricken. The film crew watched as paramedics carted him away in an ambulance the day they were to fly to Jamaica to take part in sessions and a concert. Taitt’s cancer forced a change to the movie’s theme, and not a delay to its production however. The reason given was that Tuff Gong studios had already been booked for all of April, 2008 going into May.
The filmmakers were hoping to chronicle Taitt’s return to Jamaica in a reunion with the artists whom he backed in 1966 and ’67 during the heyday of Rock Steady. With a strong focus on one of the creators of the genre, there were high hopes for the film. However, after Taitt’s cancer diagnosis in early April forced him to bow out of an onscreen role, the movie lost its focal point. The mere presence of singers and players whom Taitt worked with during Rock Steady is not enough, and in this reviewer’s eyes, Taitt’s presence is sorely missed.
To the film maker’s credit, they followed through on Taitt’s suggestion and signed Ernest Ranglin to take up the musical baton. Ranglin visited Taitt at his home to discuss the arrangements and to hear personally what Taitt had planned to do. “I was so sick when Ernest was here Brian that I couldn’t get out of bed. He had to sit at my bedside for us to speak. I wasn’t doing well at all then. I’m very disappointed with the way the music came out and Ernest was too. When I talked with him before the concert [on the phone] he told me, ’Taitt, I don’t know what happened as the musicians didn’t play what they were supposed to play on some of the songs. I’m sorry.’”
When asked about the day of the concert, Taitt motioned widely with his hands and broke into a large smile. “Everyone was here, right here, this little house was full of artists. Ken Boothe, Hopeton Lewis, everyone was here the day of the concert. [July 7, 2009] They sent a car for me and carry me to the show, it was a big part of the Jazz Festival. I went onstage at the end of the concert and just wave and say hello. Ken Boothe call me out. The musicians and artists were good. I was happy about that and that I could go onstage, but I’m sorry about the way the music turn out.
Moss send me only one copy of the CD so I can’t give you one. I ask him for a couple more but that was weeks ago and I don’t hear from him anymore.” [Moss Raxlen is a Montreal based record collector, retailer, DJ and music producer. At his home studio in Boisbriand, Taitt recorded a dozen demos with Raxlen in November, 2005.]
Here’s a link to a video clip of Ken Boothe calling up Taitt to the Montreal Jazz Fest stage.
In mid-March 2009, Taitt was given two weeks to live by his doctors.
He called on March 23 and told me his diagnosis and that he was just two days out of hospital for pneumonia. He explained that, “They tell me I should go on dialysis, but I had to say no. I just couldn’t stand that. They me tell me that before too.”
Near the end of my visit with him on Sunday, August 30, 2009, Lyn made an announcement. “Even though I record so many songs on guitar and I love to play guitar, I love steel pan most of all. It’s not even close really, I love steel pan. How about you Brian, do you listen to steel band music?”
I had to confess, “Well, no, not often anyway. I have some but don’t get it on much.”
Among the songs which name check Lyn Taitt are, “My Gun For Hire” by Prince Buster. “ . . . on guitar is Lynn Taitt, he’s my musical mate. He never hesitates to give you Rock Steady.” There’s also “Mackie Mackie” by The Untouchables, and Taitt and the Jets own “Soul Food.” Singer David Isaacs delivers the band intro’s as narrator on the latter.
The interestingly titled “Golden Petunia,” done for producer Duke Reid, is more ferocious than the name implies. It’s a top Ska instrumental by Taitt and an excellent example of his authority on ‘Ska guitar.’
The list of Ska tracks decorated by the playing of Lynn Taitt must include; “Shank I Sheck” by The Baba Brooks Band, “When I Call Your Name,” “Loving Wine,” “We Two Happy People” and “Yeah Yeah Baby” by Stranger Cole and Patsy Todd, “My Girl” by The Melodies, “Don’t Gamble With Love” by Alton and Hortense Ellis, “Someday” by Lord Creator, “We All Have To Part Some Day” by Andy & Clyde and “Run Joe” by Stranger Cole.
Taitt with fellow musicians after the session, Cambridge, Massachusetts. June 2006. Copyright Brian Keyo.
The following interviews kindly supplied by Kenneth Bilby. Since the initial three, Bilby has graced us with additional transcribed quotations from Jamaican and Trinidadian singers, musicians and producers who worked with Lynn Taitt.
Bobby Ellis, 2005:
B: Two man me know have perfect pitch ears – Jackie Mittoo, and Lyn Taitt.
KB: So did you do a good amount of work with Lynn Taitt too?
B: Yeah. Yeah.
KB: Because he played more at Treasure Isle, right? . . .
B: No man!
KB: . . . more than at Coxsone . . .
B: . . . right round . . . no man! Right round. Anybody. Yes, him play more at Treasure Isle than Coxsone. But he was the guy that do the most at one time. I think he should have gotten honor, although he’s not a Jamaican, for our music. Yeah man. He did a lot to our music. Excellent guy, man.
B: He should [have won Jamaican honors]. Two man — right? –two man wid de perfect pitch ears,and they should have got honor, and none of dem get it.”
Hux Brown, 2005:
“KB:A lot of people credit you with – when you say “lead guitar” – for starting this kind of bubbling on the…
H: No, I didn’t start that. I learned that from Lynn Taitt. When I used to play with Lynn Taitt, Lynn Taitt used to do that. Lynn Taitt used to go, like, ‘br-r-r’ . . . and that . . . you know, just a little . . . But I kind of add a little more to it. But I learn that from Lynn Taitt.
KB: It’s great to hear you give credit…
H: Everything that I learned playing . . . guitar like that . . . is from Lynn Taitt. And I will never tell a lie. I play with Lynn Taitt for about a year and a half, and I learned everything from Lynn Taitt. He’s my best friend right now. I call him right now, he’d tell you the same thing. Wid both of us, still cool.”
The Lynn Taitt Fan Club, 1965. Taitt is seated, fourth from the right. (photographer unknown.)
Boris Gardiner, 2005:
“B: There’s a musician called Lynn Taitt. Fantastic. He was from, I think, Barbados.
KB: . . . or Trinidad . . .
B: Okay. And Lynn Taitt was on every session. Nobody would want to do a session without Lynn Taitt. And Lynn Taitt always come up with some nice little ideas. You know? And he was the first guy who started to play along with the bass. Like you start this line now (begins to vocalize a bass line) . . . and him (vocalizes a lead guitar part on top of that bass line) . . . you know? And the bass and him would punch, and, you know, it really add a kick, to give the edge to the bass.
KB: Did you do any sessions with him?
B: (slight pause) One and two really.
KB: Because he was . . . right as you were coming in, he was soon going to leave after that . . . right?
B: Right, because I . . . I was more around Hux. Hux kind of took over from Lynn Taitt. And Hux had that same sort of pluck on his guitar, nicely.
Bagga Walker, 2005: “All of those song, Lynn Taitt used to play all of those nice songs. Dem days it was Lynn Taitt. Lynn Taitt is not a Jamaican, you know. Dem man deh was de first man, as I tell you. So you have man was the first, [then] we come after, like a decade. Even King David good fe learn it from somebody before him [who] learn fe make a guitar or a harp.”
Fully Fulwood, 2006: “Lynn is one of the great, great rocksteady player. Lynn Taitt is from Trinidad. And he came. Him didn’t spend that long. But he is the one that responsible for how Rock Steady become so popular—Lynn Taitt. He was one of my idol.”
Derrick Harriott, 2004: “I today will tell you that Lynn Taitt is one of the greatest exponents of the rocksteady. I rate that man as number one in terms of the rocksteady beat. Oh, Lynn Taitt is great. Listen, I did a song and didn’t like it. And I seh, ‘bwai, go come back in the studio, and bring Lynn Taitt.’ That was a song called ‘Walk the Streets at Night,’ which went to number one. Well, I’m telling you, it became a hit—number one. That’s why I say, music is a sound—especially Jamaican music—you have to get a sound. And when you not pleased about that sound, and you go back to get that sound, it is a great thing. From he [Taitt] started the guitar — ‘blang, blang, blang-blang-blang-blang, blang’—and I started singing, and he playing something in the background—I tell you! Even ‘Solomon Was the Wise Man,’ wah I did, he worked out the background . . .
KB: But, interesting that somebody who played such a big role in forming rocksteady, forming this Jamaican music, is Trinidadian too.
Yes! Yes, true. But he was here grooving in with the different bands, you know. He even had a band called Lynn Taitt and the Comets. I’ll tell you something: most of Duke Reid Treasure Isle label big hits, Lynn Taitt played on them. A lot of Studio One stuff, Lynn Taitt played on it. Not that much, but quite a few. All the independent producers—Phil Pratt, Bunny Lee, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, and myself—he played on so much hits.”
Ranny “Bop” Williams, 1999: “There is a guitarist by the name of Lynn Taitt. He dominated the Rock Steady. When Lynn Taitt was leaving Jamaica, I purchased his instrument off him.”
Cedric Brooks, 2003: “When Lynn Taitt came, we played around a bit [in the same band]. He started accompanying Jackie Opel, and people like those, some of the Trinidad singers, and some of the other singers. And he got into the recording business. So he kind of came in as a solo person. He would come in bands. And then we played together in one of the groups called Sheiks.
KB: At that time was there much of a distinction between [Jamaican musicians and] musicians who came from elsewhere to Jamaica?
Yes and no. I mean, once they were good, you know . . . if they were good, people just loved them. And, you know, that was the kind of attitude. And he [Taitt] was able to get right into the Jamaican style of doing things. And people loved him for that.”
Lord Laro, 2002: “I know of Lynn Taitt from home, from Trinidad. They had a band called the Dutchy Brothers. And I know he was always a great musician from home. I met him here [in Jamaica], and he played on one of my records. He played on one of my records in 1966. I can’t remember the name of the calypso, but that is the calypso that Lynn Taitt did the backing . . . He was a studio musician [in Jamaica]. And he was the man who was now changing ska into rocksteady. Because when he came, he had the calypso—the new calypso—strum. And he couldn’t strum the Jamaican strum continuously, because it was just a upbeat. So he start to add in little calypso things in it. And then people start to say, ‘wow! . . . that’s a new one.’ And other fellows start to go on the same beat, and they call it ‘rocksteady.’ And that was the death of the ska, the birth of the rocksteady. So Lynn Taitt was the man responsible for that. That’s a great musician.”
Leonard Dillon, 2005:
“KB: So why it get so creative, and so much experimentation in the late 60s?—mid to late 60s?
If you had those kind of musician, if those musician was around today—blessed! Roland Alphonso, Tommy McCook, Jah Jerry. Name them, man. Name them, all those great musician of time, that used to create their music. Lynn Taitt.
KB: Did Lynn Taitt ever play on sessions with you?
Yeah. A lot. I used to be vocal for the band Lynn Taitt and the Jets—I and Joe Higgs. That is one of the reasons why I used to have so many hit songs. (laughs slightly) Becau the band that I sing with, the band which I’m a vocalist for, is the band that make the most hit song with artists—the Jets.”
Headley Bennett, 2005: “Lynn Taitt, Hopeton Lewis—those are de guy dat really create rocksteady, you know. I’m telling you. I was there! I’m not saying that other guys don’t have dem opinion, and write some opinion. I’m not saying that they are wrong. I’m only telling you what I know.”
Alva Lewis, 2005: “Me and Lynn Taitt mix up, man.”
KB: So you play a lot of sessions with Lynn Taitt?
Almighty God help me! Lynn Taitt?! Oh God, man!”
Colin Leslie, 2005: “[Lynn Taitt], he’s from Trinidad. People don’t know that he’s still around. The whole Jamaica used to respect him, you know.”
Brent Dowe, 2005: “Lynn Taitt a [is] de creator of it. Is him create the rocksteady beat. Is him slow it down. It was ska. Lynn Taitt come as a Trinidadian and get to love the music, and him see it in a different way, and slow it down. Is him do ‘Girl I’ve Got a Date,’ you know—the first tune wah pull right down, come off a de ska and put it down. Yeah. At Duke Reid. Lynn Taitt and Jackie Jackson, and [Hugh] Malcolm on drum. And Winston Wright, and Gladstone Anderson. They are the ones who change the music. They are the ones, sah.”
Prince Buster, 2005: “Lynn Taitt . . . you see? The man is never given credit. The man who formed the rocksteady is never given credit—Lynn Taitt. Guitarist, Lynn Taitt. You understand? And, bwai, me a tell you, something hurt me too. Becau dat’s de man who turn it round now! And you hear dis [i.e., another musician] a talk bout him [is the one who created rocksteady]. (Says with contempt in his voice): Where dem come from, dem Johnny-come-lately shit?! A [it is] Lynn Taitt! And me and Lynn Taitt go out pon a rocksteady, lick pon dem.”
Tony Chin, 2007: “Actually, Lynn Taitt is one of my biggest inspiration.”
Ernest Ranglin, 2005: “Lynn Taitt was quite flexible. There weren’t much people who were arrangers, so to speak. Lynn Taitt was one.”
Wesley Nelson [of the Overtakers, and the Mellotones], 2005: “Lynn Taitt was one of my favorites. Fe real. Him was one of the main man, because that man, him mek de guitar talk, and say anyting him want to say.”
Mikey Chung, 2005: “One of my main influences up to now is Lynn Taitt. And he’s the father. I mean, Ernie Ranglin too. But Ernie Ranglin didn’t innovate as much as Lynn Taitt. They said Lynn Taitt—I don’t know if you hear it—Lynn Taitt was a steel pan player. Yeah, and when he came to Jamaica, he said he was emulating the steel pan with his guitar. But, I mean, his styling, up to now, I take it.”
Count Owen, 1999: “Incidentally, Lynn Taitt played on my rocksteady album . . . The rocksteady is a completely different rhythm [from mento and calypso], which was created by some outstanding Jamaican musicians at the time. I could call name like Lynn Taitt. Incidentally, Lynn Taitt was from Trinidad. But he came here, and he lived for some time. And he did a great job with the rocksteady. In fact, you know, he was the backbone of the rocksteady . . . Lynn Taitt was the main man.”
The above interview excerpts are the work of Kenneth Bilby. I gratefully acknowledge his invaluable contributions to this Tribute.
It was a privelige to have known Lynn Taitt.
My respect and gratitude for their assistance with this tribute to Francine B., Jim Dooley, Ken Bilby, Ska Nick Bowman, Todd Campbell, Greg Lawson, Roberto Sterle, Richard Fletcher, Ron “Upcoming Willow” Wilson, Michael Turner, Keith Scott, Jacky Deronne, and my sister Michelle.
Nearlin Taitt is survived by his widow, Francine, their son Anthony and Taitt’s son from a previous relationship.
Taitt was cremated and his ashes returned to Trinidad.
The following discographical information was kindly supplied by the preeminent discographer of Jamaican music, Michael Turner. Turner and the late Robert Schoenfeld compiled and edited Roots Knotty Roots, The Discography of Jamaican Music. I was a contributor to Volumes 2 and 3.
As Turner put it, this is “The Tip of The Taitt Iceberg.”
Alton Ellis, Baba Brooks & Lyn Taitt Band …… Blessings Of Love
Alton Ellis And the Flames, Lynn Taitt with Tommy McCook & Supersonics …… Cry Tough
Alton Ellis, Lynn Taitt & Tommy McCook & Supersonics …… Girl I’ve Got A Date (Girl I Have Got A Date)
Alton Ellis, Baba Brooks & Lyn Taitt Band …… Nothing Sweeter
Alton Ellis And The Flames, Lynn Taitt & Comets …… Preacher, The
Archie Lewis …… Last Waltz, The
Archie Lewis …… Strangers In The Night
Astley Dixon with Lyn Taitt …… Heartaches By Phone Call
Astley Dixon with Lyn Taitt …… Romping In My Room
Believers …… Honey In The Rock
Black Brothers …… Give Me Loving
Black Brothers …… Lonely World
Wailers …… Let Him Go
Carlos Cortes, Baba Brooks & His Recording Band …… Amor Sincero (Sincere Love)
Carlos Cortes, Lyn Taitt, Baba Brooks & His Recording Band …… Todas Las Noches (Every Night)
Chuck Jacques with Lyn Taitt & The Comets …… Dial 609
Count Lasher, Lyn Taitt & Baba Brooks Band …… Hooligans
Count Lasher, Lyn Taitt & Baba Brooks Band …… Jump Indpendently
Count Lasher & Williams, Baba Brooks & Lynn Taitt Band …… Bam Bam
Count & Lynn Taitt Jets …… Dee’s Special
Count & Lynn Taitt Jets …… El Casino Royale
Dawn Penn …… I’ll Let You Go (Let Me Go Boy)
Suzette & Lynn Taitt Orchestra …… To Sir With Love
Dennis Sindry & Lyn Taitt …… Don’t Come Back Again
Dennis Sindry & Lyn Taitt …… Governor’s Ball
Dermot Lynch & Lyn Taitt …… Adults Only
Dermot Lynch & Lyn Taitt …… Cool It
Derrick Morgan, Lyn Taitt And The Jets …… Father Killam
Derrick Morgan with Lyn Taitt Band …… I Want To Go Home
Derrick And Patsy, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… Hey Boy Hey Girl
Diane Lawrence with Lyn Taitt & Orchestra …… Hound Dog
Diane Lawrence with Lyn Taitt & The Orchestra …… Hound Dog
Emotions With Lyn Taitt & The Jets …… Soulful Music
West Indians with Lyn Taitt & The Jets …… Falling In Love
West Indians with Lyn Taitt & The Jets …… I Mean It
Eric Monty Morris, Lyn Taitt with Tommy McCook & Supersonics …… If I Didn’t Love You
Errol Brown & Lynn Taitt Jets …… Music Flames
Errol Dunkley with Lynn Taitt & Jets …… I’m Going Home
Errol Dunkley with Lynn Taitt & Jets …… I’m Not Your Man
Errol Dunkley With Gibson’s All Stars …… Love Brother Love Sister
Errol Dunkley with Lynn Taitt Band …… Please Stop Your Lying
Errol Dunkley with Lynn Taitt Band …… Seek & You’ll Find
Errol Dunkley with Lynn Taitt Band …… You’re Gonna Need Me
Ethiopians, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… Cool It Omego (Cool It Amigo)
Ethiopians, Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Stay Loose Mama
Ethiopians, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… Whip, The
Ethiopians, Lynn Taitt & Jets …… World Goes Ska, The
Ewan & Primo, Lyn Taitt with Baba Brooks All Stars …… Candy Ska
Ewan & Primo, Lyn Taitt with Baba Brooks All Stars …… Your Safe Keep
Frank Brown with Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Some Come Some Go
Gaylads, Lynn Taitt & Jets …… ABC Rocksteady
Gaylads, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… Hard To Confess
Gaylads, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… I Need Your Loving
Gaylettes, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… I Like Your World
Gaylettes, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… Silent River Runs Deep
Gaylettes, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… That Lonely Feeling
Gaylettes, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… You’re My Kind Of Man
Glen Adams, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… Hold Down Miss Winey
Glen Adams, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… I Remember
Glen Miller with Lynn Taitt & The Orchestra …… Funky Broadway
Glen Miller with Lynn Taitt & The Orchestra …… Where Is The Love
Glen Miller & Honey Boy …… Dad Is Home
Glen Miller & Honey Boy …… Dad Is Home
Gloria Franklin …… I Am Sorry
Joe White, Glen & Trevor, Lynn Taitt & Jets …… I’m So Proud
Don Henry with Lynn Taitt & Jets …… As Long As I Live
Henry III …… I’ll Reach The End (Dance With You)
Don Henry with Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Nothing For Nothing
Henry III …… You Never Could Be True
Herman Marquis with Lyn Taitt & His Band …… Teaser, The
Honey Boy Martin …… Soul Food
Claude & Gino, Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Mighty Quinn, The
Horace Faith, Arranged by Lyn Taitt …… Come Rain Or Come Shine
Horace Faith, Arranged by Lyn Taitt …… You Never Said You Love Me
Hugh Malcolm with Gibson’s All Stars …… Good Time Rock (Father’s Time)
Inventors, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… Music Is The Food Of Love (mislabeled Fool Of Love)
Jamaicans with the Lyn Taitt Orchestra …… Cool Night
Jamaicans with the Lyn Taitt Orchestra …… Ma & Pa
Joe Higgs, Lyn Taitt And The Comets …… Elma
Joe Higgs, Lyn Taitt And The Comets …… Saturday Night
Joe Higgs …… You Hurt My Soul
Joe White & Lyn Taitt Band …… Bad Man
Joe White. Lyn Taitt & Jets …… I Need You
Joe White. Lyn Taitt & Jets …… I Need You
Joe White. Lyn Taitt & Jets …… Lonely Nights
Joe White & Lyn Taitt Band …… Rudies All Around
Johnny & Attractions …… Call Of The Drums
Junior Soul …… Miss Cushie
Justin Hinds & The Dominos, Baba Brooks Band …… Peace & Love
Carl Kannonball Bryan, Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Welcome Home
Keith And Tex …… Tonight
Ken Boothe …… Happy Song
Ken Boothe …… Say You
Ken Boothe, Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Say You
Ken Parker …… Kiss An Angel Good Morning
Ken Rose …… Wallflower (She Want To Come Back)
Kilowatts with Lynn Taitt & The Jets …… Bring It Home (Bring It On Home To Me)
Kilowatts with Lynn Taitt & The Jets …… Wonderful World
Leaders. Lyn Taitt & The Jets …… Hope Someday (Some Day Some Way)
Leaders With Lyn Taitt Band …… Sometimes I Sit & Cry
Lee Perry & Gaylettes …… How Come You Come
Leslie Butler, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… Hornpipe Rock Steady (Polonaise Reggae)
Leslie Butler, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… You Don’t Have To Say
Leslie Butler & Count Ossie …… Soul Drums
Lloyd Jackson & The Groovers …… Do It To Me Baby
Lloyd & Devon, Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Red Bum Ball
Lloyd & Devon, Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Red Bum Ball
Lloyd & Glen …… A Good Man
Lloyd & Glen …… I’ll Give You Love
Lloyd & Glen …… I’m A Successful Man
Lloyd & Glen …… Mini Skirt & Go Go Boots
Lloyd & Glen …… Oh Little Girl
Lloyd & Glen, Lyn Taitt & The Comets …… Pretending Again
Lloyd & Glen, Lyn Taitt & The Comets …… What You Gonna Do
Lord Brynner & Lyn Taitt Jets …… Last Weekend
Lord Brynner & Lynn Taitt And The Jets …… Rock I Say Steady
Lord Laro & Lynn Taitt And The Comets …… Book Of Proverbs
Lord Laro & Lynn Taitt And The Comets …… Jamaica Gal
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Bat Man
Lynn Taitt …… Brush, The
Lynn Taitt …… Brush, The
Lynn Taitt & The Jets …… Chances
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Golden Petunia
Lynn Taitt & Merritone All Stars …… Green Green Grass Of Home
Lynn Taitt …… Hip Hug, The
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… I Don’t Want To See You Cry
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… I Spy
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Joker, The
Lynn Taitt …… Julie On My Mind
Lynn Taitt & Comets …… Knock Out Punch
Lynn Taitt …… Listen
Lyn Taitt And The Jets …… Living Soul (The Loop) (inst.)
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Mr. Dooby
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Napolean Solo
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Nice Time
Lynn Taitt & The Jets …… Only A Smile
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Pepper Pot
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Pressure & Slide
Lynn Taitt …… Retreat, The
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Sleepy Ludy
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Smokey Places (Dr. Paul)
Lynn Taitt …… Soulful Mood
Lynn Taitt …… Stop & Go
Lynn Taitt & The Boys …… Storm Warning
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Talking Love
Lynn Taitt & Comets …… Tender Loving Care
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… This Is Soul
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… unnown title
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Untouchables, The
Lynn Taitt & Comets …… Vilma’s Jump Up
Lynn Taitt & Comets …… Vilma’s Jump Up
Lynn Taitt …… We Gonna Hold On
Lynn Taitt & Jets …… Whiter Shade Of Pale
Lynn Taitt …… Why Am I Treated So Bad
Lynn Taitt …… You Have Caught Me
Lynn Taitt with Baba Brooks Band …… Skalarama
Lynn Taitt & Carl Bryan …… Tender Arms
Lynn Taitt & Tommy McCook …… Adam 12
Lynn Taitt & Tommy McCook & Supersonics …… Pink Champagne
Lynn Taitt & Tommy McCook & Supersonics …… Spanish Eyes
Lynn Taitt & Tommy McCook & Supersonics …… Yellow Basket
Mellotones …… Feel Good
Melodians, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… A Little Nut Tree
Melodians, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… You’re My Only Love
Mike Thompson & Lynn Taitt …… Dr. No Go
Mike Thompson & Lynn Taitt …… You Only Live Twice
Mike Thompson & Lynn Taitt …… Blue Tuesday (inst.)
Mike Thompson & Lynn Taitt …… Something Stupid (inst.)
Milton Boothe & Lyn Taitt …… Used To Be A Fool
Minstrels, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… Hey There Lonely Boy
Minstrels, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… So Weary
Overtakers with Lynn Taitt Band …… Big Take Over, The
Overtakers with Lynn Taitt Band …… The Way You Like It
Paragons, Lyn Taitt with Tommy McCook & Supersonics …… Happy Go Lucky Girl
Paragons, Lynn Taitt & The Jets …… If I Were You
Paragons, Lynn Taitt & The Jets …… Talking Love
Patsy, Lynn Taitt & Jets …… A Man Is Two Faced
Patsy Todd, Lennie Hibbert, Lyn Taitt And Jets …… It’s So Hard Without You
Patsy Todd, Lennie Hibbert, Lyn Taitt And Jets …… Little Flea
Patsy …… You Took My Love
Phil Pratt & Ken Boothe …… Sweet Song For My Baby
Phyllis Dillon, Lyn Taitt with Tommy McCook & Supersonics …… Don’t Stay Away
Phyllis Dillon, Lyn Taitt with Tommy McCook & Supersonics …… Don’t Stay Away
Pioneers …… Easy Come Easy Go
Pioneers …… Give Me Little Loving (Give It To Me)
Pioneers, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… Give Me Little Loving (Give It To Me)
Pioneers, Lyn Taitt Band …… Goodies Are The Greatest
Pioneers, Lyn Taitt Band …… Shake It Up
Prince Buster All Stars with Lynn Taitt …… Rocking In The Fields
Progressions With Lyn Taitt & The Jets …… Are You Ready (Rock Steady Time)
Progressions With Lyn Taitt & The Jets …… Fair Deal
Roy Shirley with Lynn Taitt Band …… Be Good
Roy Shirley with Lynn Taitt Band …… Hold Them
Roy Shirley with Lynn Taitt Band …… Hold Them
Roy Shirley Featuring Lester Sterling …… I Am The Winner
Roy Shirley, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… Music Field
Roy Shirley, Lyn Taitt & Jets …… Sleeping Beauty
Schoolgirls …… Never Let You Go
Selectors & Lyn Taitt Orchestra …… How Long Must I Wait
Selectors & Lyn Taitt Orchestra …… Oh No Girl
Silvertones, Lyn Taitt & The Boys …… It’s Real
Silvertones, Lynn Taitt & The Comets …… When My Baby Smiles
Slickers & Lynn Taitt Band …… I Want To Take A Chance
Slickers, Tommy McCook And The Supersonics …… Man Going To Leave Earth
Stranger & Gladdy, Lyn Taitt & The Jets …… Just Like A River
Stranger & Gladdy. Lyn Taitt & The Jets …… Love Me Today
Stranger & Gladdy, Lyn Taitt & The Jets …… Over & Over Again
Stranger Cole & Hortense Ellis, Tommy McCook & Supersonics …… Loving Wine
Tennors & Lyn Taitt …… Gee Whiz
Tennors & Lyn Taitt …… Give Me Bread
Termites, Lynn Taitt & Merritone All Stars …… We’re Gonna Make It
Thrillers & Lynn Taitt Band …… I’m Restless
Thrillers & Lynn Taitt Band …… I’m Restless instrumental
unknown male singer …… you will see
Valentine Brothers & Lyn Taitt …… Jesus Christ Is Risen
Vic Bryan & Lynn Taitt And The Jets …… I Love Jamaica
Vic Bryan & Lynn Taitt And The Jets …… Kiss You Again
Vic Bryan & Lynn Taitt And The Jets …… Long Bay Hotel
Vic Bryan & Lynn Taitt And The Jets …… No Longer On My Mind
Vic Taylor With Lyn Taitt & Comets …… Jerk, The
Vic Taylor With Lyn Taitt & Comets …… Searching
Viceroys …… Lip & Tongue (Walkie Talkie)
Delano Stewart …… Tell Me Baby
Delano Stewart …… That’s Life
Delano Stewart …… Wherever I Lay My Hat
Delano Stewart …… Wherever I Lay My Hat
Winston Samuels …… I’m Still Here (He’ll Never Be True)
Taitt on the road in Canada, June 2004. Copyright Brian Keyo.