The Skatalites are a ska band from Jamaica. They played initially between 1963 and 1965, and recorded many of their best known songs in the period, including “Guns of Navarone.” They also played on records by Prince Buster and backed many other Jamaican artists who recorded during that period. They reformed in 1983 and have played together ever since. The personnel fluctuated from time to time, but the most important instrumentalists were: Don Drummond, Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Johnny “Dizzy” Moore, Jah Jerry, Lester Sterling, Jackie Mittoo, Lloyd Brevett and Lloyd Knibbs.
In spring 1964, The Skatalites recorded their first LP Ska Authentic at Studio One in Kingston and toured Jamaica as the creators of ska. In fall 1964, Don Drummond’s composition “Man in the Street” entered the Top 10 in the UK. In August 1965, The Skatalites played their last show before split up due to Don Drummond murdering his girlfriend. They broke up into two supergroups, Rolando Alphonso and the Soul Vendors and Tommy McCook and the Supersonics. The group turn to play again in a reunon in 1983.
In 1975 Lloyd Brevett organised some jamming sessions at his Kingston home involving almost all of the remaining Skatalites (Don Drmmond of course had tragically died and Jackie Mittoo was out of the country). These were followed up by sessions at Lee Perry’s Black Ark, and Aquarius Studio, resulting in the release of an instrumental album, The Legendary Skatalites (1975). Soon after, a dub set, Herb Dub Collie Dub, appeared in very limited numbers. In 1998 Motion Records released a companion set of alternative dubs, Heroes Of Reggae In Dub, and later a vinyl only re-issue of Herb Dub Collie Dub (2001). The Legendary Skatalites In Dub completes the set with the pick of the tracks from the 1975 sessions plus a sought-after vocal cut entitled ‘Starlight’ originally released on 7” on Lloyd Brevett’s own label. The list of musicians on this album includes Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Tommy McCook, Ernest Ranglin, and Augustus Pablo. Fugitive Dub, mixed by King Tubby, was released on this album in 2002.