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Coxsone Dodd


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One of reggae’s most important and prolific producers, Clement “Coxsone” Dodd was a towering figure in the genre’s development, from both creative and business standpoints. Like Motown’s Berry Gordy, Dodd set up a streamlined, highly professional hit factory at his Studio One facility, recording vast amounts of music for his label of the same name. Like James Brown, Dodd mapped out a rhythmic blueprint that future generations would rely heavily upon; just as hip-hoppers sampled Brown’s beats to death, countless dancehall producers lifted and reused (or “versioned”) Dodd’s rhythm tracks for their own records. Dodd was present at the genesis of Jamaican popular music, evolving from a DJ to a sound-system entrepreneur to a producer to the first black studio owner in Jamaica. In the meantime, he kept his finger on the pulse of popular taste, watching the music evolve from ska to rocksteady to reggae proper, and maintaining a crack studio band that changed with the times; most reggae aficionados tend to agree that his best work came during the rocksteady era of the ’60s. Although haphazard documentation makes it difficult to know exactly how many records Dodd produced, it’s generally acknowledged that he worked with nearly every major reggae star of the early days at one point or another, including the first recordings by Bob Marley & the Wailers.

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