This compilation was the very first Clement Dodd conceived of and sequenced. It’s assembled from songs recorded in 1960, likely ’61 and perhaps 1959, if Clancy Eccles account of recording “Freedom” is accurate.
The musical backing is diverse. Although most songs can be credited to Hersan or Hersang And His City Slickers, a couple are to Clue J And His Blues Blasters and one to Aubrey Adams & His Dew Droppers. Caribs members from Australia and Roland Alphonso & The Alley Cats or City Slickers were responsible for music here also, although they were not credited on 45 issues, or the songs were exclusive to this set.
This album came to most folks attention, even Studio 1 discographer Rob Chapman’s, when it was auctioned in 2009. The title was questioned as there wasn’t one on the Coxsone (Shield) label issue and the other two pressings had plain paper labels with no credits. Also, all three pressings were issued in plain jackets according to former Tropical and Federal pressman, and arranger of Federal’s Merritone label, Keith Scott.
“No jacket was ever made for this Album. It was titled All Stars. It was on the Coxsone label, orange and yellow. It came out in a blank jacket. It was in mid to late 1960, while All Star Top Hits was 1961. There were three pressings and I know it was 300 at first, 500 at second and 1000 for the third pressing.” “Mid to late 1960” is difficult to confirm and that’s a lot of pressings that disappeared but the LP was not promoted like the talent and stage shows Mr. Dodd produced in 1960 and 1961.
From the 2009 auction description; “Many collectors including myself have thought that ALL STAR TOP HITS was Coxsone [sic] Dodd’s first LP. Here however is the real owner of that honor – JAMAICAN ALL STARS. This LP was made in limited quantities. I’ve been told that there were 3 original pressings; the first 500 copies on blank label; 300 for the 2nd again no label and 150 to 200 for the final press which did have a label. The matrix #s are: FLPC 101 B/102 B. Makes you wonder what 101A is. The label was the orange and yellow Coxsone label sometimes known as the “shield” label – as you might see on Little Willie 7″. None of the 3 pressings came with a cover. The copy here is one of the blanks . . .”
Masa Hayashi, proprietor of Rocka Shacka, has owned two copies. “He bought the first one from Mickey, the gate keeper who appears in the Studio One Story DVD, saying ‘Welcome to Studio One!’ Masa sold this copy. The second one that Masa kept is from a sound man named ‘Pablo,’ Mr. Dodd’s brethren.”
Mr. Dodd took credit for the musical act that kicks this set off, and likely the song title too. “I came up with the Blues Blasters name and that was a recording band. Is not only Roland on tenor, Sammy Ismay is the soloist on ‘Shuffling Jug’ and ‘Cane Juice’ and others.”
“Jah Jerry” Haynes recalled the group lineup, “well, there was P-Son [Ephraim Henry] on drums, he was in the Blues Blasters first, then Drumbago [Auckland Parkes]. Myself was on guitar, rhythm guitar, Ernest Ranglin played lead, when we recorded. Then there was Easy Snapping [Theophilus Beckford] on piano, Clue J [Cluett Johnson] on bass, and usually Roland Alphonso on saxophone or sometimes Sammy Ismay. That was Blues Blasters.”
There was also trumpet on Blues Blasters recordings such as “Little Willie” and another saxophonist, Ferdinand “Bobby” Gaynair. The Blues Blasters were not strictly “a recording band.” Although live appearances were rare, they performed as part of a Dodd produced stage show at Club Monaco in Bull Bay on July 24, 1960. Their set featured “Rodrigues on Trombone.” [Rico]
The next act Mr. Dodd employed for musical backing was led by Herman Sang. “I was a member of The Jiving Juniors group and then Coxson found out I could play piano and he had work for me. We used to rehearse at his Mom’s [Doris Darlington’s] shop. She had a ‘cold supper shop’ not far from The Ward Theatre.” [Mrs. Darlington’s shop was on Beeston Street, a block from The Ward on North Parade.] 
“We never had a group picture because we were members of a studio group. Nobody took any pictures and we never played at a club. One day Coxson told me, ‘I’m gonna put your name on a bunch of these songs. You choose a name.’ I told him he could choose and Hersang is the name he chose. He chose Hersang and The City Slickers and also The Alley Cats. We recorded on the Musik City label and on Coxsone.”  Tracks credited to Hersang also appeared on Dodd’s All Stars, Sensational, Rolando & Powie, Supreme and Worldisc labels.
Sang continued, “we did a lot of instrumentals and also worked with a lot of singers. Coxson opened up a bar down the road from Love Lane and at the back of the bar was a piano. We could practice there and we did rehearse new singers.”  [This was the 67 1/2 Church Street address, “entrance in Love Lane.” It was advertised as “Coxson’s Dramatic & Music Centre” on 45 sleeves. Also in a caption to a photo of Mr. Dodd reviewing papers with Herman Sang that included the piano. The photograph was taken by Alty Benjamin and published in The Star on Thursday, July 27, 1961.
“When we played any Jazz music, I did not play. Coxson used Cecil Lloyd and Aubrey Adams. We didn’t use any percussion, but Coxson liked to clap. We had four of us clapping. The ones clapping were those who were not singing in the song. Yes, I am one of the hand clappers on ‘Freedom,’ Coxson also. That one have the feel of a Spiritual.” 
According to the late singer and producer Clancy Eccles, “the first song that I did for Coxson was ‘Freedom.’ That tune became very popular on Dodd’s sound systems, mainly due to Count Matchuki who give it a hard push. It was cut in 1959, but it didn’t get released to the public until 1961. It was played at dances and then it was available on dubplate. It cost about 10 to 12 pounds for a dubplate those times. ‘Freedom’ was a big tune for me. My contract with Coxson was for 25 pounds a year and my royalty rate was four pence per copy sold. The contract was for three years. He paid me royalties and I was given statements too, but later he claimed I violated his contract and I was ready to move on after that, which I did.” 
Eccles explained how his song acquired a political identity. “Coxson’s stepfather, Mr. Darlington, who was a union officer for the BITU, showed it to Bustamante. They used my song as a slogan for their ‘Follow That Man With The Plan’ program. But they didn’t understand I was not singing about Jamaica, but Africa!”  [BITU = Bustamante Industrial Trade Union]
Australian guitarist Dennis Sindrey was a member of The Caribs band when he recorded “Campus Hop” and “Jamaica Song” for Mr. Dodd. The Caribs included Aussies Peter Stoddart on keyboards and Lowell Morris on drums along with Jamaicans Lloyd Brevett on bass and Noel Seale on percussion. Sindrey wrote and performed “Jamaica Song”with The Caribs before recording it and explained how his writing credit was altered. “Coxson recorded it as ‘Jamaican Song’ acknowledging me as the writer, but later on he must have sold it to Island Records and changed the name to ‘Rub Up.’ Yes the bass player was Brevett, and I think that the sax was Roland Alphonso but I am not 100% sure. If I remember correctly, it was Brevett on bass on ‘Campus Hop’ but it was not Lowell Morris on drums. I never published any of the things we did with Coxson. In those days we were churning out 6 to 10 sides at a session, and we didn’t care about claiming ownership to anything. Thats why Coxson could get away with claiming authorship to other guys songs.”
Herman Sang recounted how Mr. Dodd quickly recouped recording expenses.
“After we did a session with Coxson, he used to have soft wax cut in order to defray the cost of the session. I used to have to wait around after the sessions as Coxson used to drive me home at night. This was before I had a car. So if we did ten tunes at a session. Coxson might have 30 soft wax cut from them and we’d leave with them and then stop by a dance. Coxson would offer them to the sound to play and that helped to sell them.
I left Coxson’s employ by 1963. I was good at sciences and maths at school and focused on that. After I left his employ I had to go back to school for a year because I was selected to work at the new oil refinery. I was one of the first supervisors and think I started at 9 pounds a week. That was a good salary!” 
Despite Sang’s comments that he and City Slickers “were members of a studio group” and “never played at a club,” they did play the stage show ’Stars On Parade.’ It took place November 20, 1961 at The Ward Theatre. Presented by “The management of All Stars, Worldisc and Coxsone Records,” it featured The Blues Busters, Simms & Robinson, Owen Gray, Clancy Eccles, Rico Rodriguez, Hersang And His City Slickers, “and a host of other stars.” The six piece band included Sang on piano, Kenny Williams on drums, Harold McKenzie on guitar, Roland Alphonso on tenor saxophone, Rico Rodriguez on trombone and an unidentified bassist. The advertisement included a sendoff, “Musically yours, Sir Coxson Downbeat!”
-Brian Keyo, tallawah.com, May 4, 2020, Worcester, Massachusetts.
Clement Dodd interviewed by Brian Keyo on May 26, 1997.
Jerome “Jah Jerry” Haynes interviewed by Brian Keyo on January 23, 2000.
Masa Hayashi’s account relayed by Masato Teraguchi on April 27, 2020.
Herman Sang interviewed by Rich Lowe for Jamaica Way Productions in January, 2017.  Used with permission.
Herman Sang, interviewed by Brian Keyo and Rich Lowe on April 16, 2020.    
Clancy Eccles interviewed by Brian Keyo in June, 1996. 
Clancy Eccles interviewed by Aad van der Hoek on August 17, 1995. 
Dennis Sindrey interviewed by Lloyd “Mohair Slim” Dewar and Brian Keyo on April 14, 2020.
Keith Scott interviewed by Brian Keyo in July, 2009. Also during April and May, 2020.
Thanks to Masato Teraguchi, Ash Mohan and Masa Hayashi. Also to Carl Finlay, Rob Chapman, Rich Lowe, Lloyd ‘Mohair Slim’ Dewar, Todd Campbell, Richard Fletcher, Steve Barrow, Barrington Alphonso, Roberto Moore, Ska Nick Bowman and Chris Wilson. Special thanks to Lester Sterling, Herman Sang, Dennis Sindrey, and Keith Scott.
Aubrey Adams – Piano
Theophilus Beckford – Piano
Peter Stoddart – Piano
Herman “Hersan” Sang – Piano
Roland Alphonso – Tenor saxophone
Ferdinand “Bobby” Gaynair – Tenor saxophone [Beeston Street Riff, Little Willie]
Rico Rodriguez – Trombone
Johnny “Dizzy” Moore- Trumpet [Beeston Street Riff] Muted trumpet [Little Willie]
Jerome “Jah Jerry” Haynes – Rhythm guitar
Dennis Sindrey – Guitar [My Heart, I Need A Little Loving, Campus Hop, I Was Wrong, Lonely Boy, Jamaica Song, Donna]
Ernest Ranglin – Guitar [I Love You]
Cluett Johnson – Bass
Lloyd Brevett – Bass [Jamaican Song, Campus Hop]
Lloyd Mason – Bass
Lowell Morris – Drums [Jamaican Song, Donna]
Aston “Wackie” Henry – Drums
Ephraim “P-Son” Henry – Drums
Auckland “Drumbago” Parkes – Drums [I Need A Little Loving]
4 tracks were not issued on 7” 45’s. “I Need A Little Loving,” “Campus Hop” and “I Was Wrong” are only available on this set. “Beeston Street Riff” was later compiled on History Of Ska Vol. 1 LP in 1969 and History Of Ska The Golden Years, GW CD 2001 in 1999, and on the CD Sir Coxson & Duke Reid In Concert At Forresters Hall, SOTL CD 010, in 2005.
1. Beeston Street Riff AKA Five Minutes On Beeston Street – Cluett Johnson & The Blues Blasters – 3 Solos; 1st is Bobby Gaynair on Tenor sax, 2nd is Trumpet and 3rd is Roland on Tenor sax. – Dizzy Johnny Moore on trumpet[?]. Voices can be heard at the very end, around 3m25s. – UNDATED.
2. Little Willie – FDR 561 – Coxsone 7” 45 Credit to Clue J. & His Blues Blasters/The Blues Blasters on 45 – Hand written label with misspellings “Unathorised” and “Proformance.”
-Aubrey Adams, Cluett Johnson & The Blues Blasters – Title may refer to a nickname for Cornel Campbell used by Clement Dodd, according to Campbell. 2 Solos; 1st is Muted Trumpet, 2nd is Bobby Gaynair on Tenor Sax and 3rd is Rolando Alphonso on Tenor Sax. Keith Scott says Johnny Moore on trumpet. Thanks for Roberto Moore for noting 3rd solo. – Released on 45 in 1961.
3. I’ve Done You Wrong – FC 2089 – Supreme 7” – Dist by “Coxson’s Music Center” – writing credit to “L. Campbell and P. James” Lloyd and Phillip.
-The Blues Busters- Ballad tempo, Doo Wop Stylee! No SOLOS – Roland playing along just behind the singers. Roland on outro. – Released on 45 in 1962.
4. I Love You – FDR 558 – Worldisc 7”
-Simms And Robinson get writing and artist credit – In a June 19, 1957 review of the Grand Finals of Vere Johns Opportunity Hour, Simms and Robinson were heralded as “former Opportunity Hour Champions and Vere Johns’ discoveries.” 1st Solo Roland on tenor sax, 2nd solo Rico on trombone. There are additional uncredited voices here. – Released on 45 in 1960.
5. My Heart – ? – ND Records 7”
-The Charmers – Great piano by Aubrey Adams. Dennis Sindrey picking on guitar. 1st Solo Sindrey on guitar! – Released on 45 in 1961 or ‘62.
6. I Need A Little Loving
-Owen Gray – According to Owen, he wrote this song together with Clement Dodd. He also remembers Drumbago, Sindrey and Roland playing on it. – 16 Bar Blues. – Owen Gray the Blues singer! 1st Solo Roland on Tenor Sax – UNDATED.
1. Campus Hop
-Dennis Sindrey & Rico Rodriguez – Soloists: Rico, Roland & Sindrey – Driving instrumental w/horns decrying a Jazzy rhythm. 1st solo trombone by Rico. 2nd solo Roland. 3rd solo Sindrey wailing on guitar and Dennis takes the song out. Not The Caribs rhythm section. – UNDATED.
2. I Was Wrong
-Winston Samuels – Loud cymbal rivalling singer Samuels. Pianist is leading him through the changes. Peppy syncopation to complement drawn out vocals. 1st solo trombone by Rico. Lots of trombone behind Samuels, nearly matching him in volume at times. Sindrey picking on guitar. – UNDATED.
3. Freedom – FC 143-B – Coxsone 7” -Written by Clancy.
-Clancy Eccles – 45 Credit to “Orchestra Aubrey Adams & His Dew Droppers.” Hand written label with misspellings “Unathorised” and “Proformance.” Oh, oh Freedom! Lots of hand clappers. Has to be 4 or more and they keep it up for the whole 2:58! Only solo by Roland and its a corker, running for over a minute! Great vibe established by Clancy and kept up by the clappers, Herman Sang, Mr. Dodd, etc..Street corner style! – Released on 45 in 1961.
4. Lonely Boy – FC 132 – All Stars 7” – Written by R. Willis, L. Tyrell
-The Charmers – “HERSAN and his CITY SLICKERS” – Piano led! Only solo is by Sindrey on guitar and he keeps going behind the singers after the solo. – Released on 45 in 1961.
5. Jamaican Song AKA Rub Up – 45 0 9791 WI 035 – D. Darling 7” – Written by Dennis Sindrey as “Jamaican Song” – Credit to “D. Sindry And The CITY SLICKERS – Spurious production credit to D. Darlington. Super fast Latin tempo and percussion. Great drumming by Lowell Morris! 1:55! – Released on 45 in 1962.
6. Donna – FC 135 – Coxsone 7” [Yellow, red, black print/White, red, black print]Written by Lloyd Campbell – “Music by Hersan And His City Slickers” – Hand written label with misspellings “Unathorised” and “Proformance.”
-The Blues Busters – Beautiful piano intro! 1st solo by tenor sax, sounds like Roland. Piano is impeccable! Dennis Sindrey is picking along the whole time! – Released on 45 in 1961.
-Brian Keyo with assistance from those I thanked!