SONG OF THE DAY Don Drummond – Roll on Sweet Don


Don Drummond was a Jamaican ska trombonist/composer who became one of the original members of The Skatalites.  His musical career began in 1950 with the Eric Dean’s All-Stars where initially he played as a jazz musician.

For over a decade he played jazz until 1964 when he began to play ska, joining the Skatalites shortly after as well as converting to the Rastafari movement.  He was considered by many to be one of the top trombonists in the world, but Don Drummond’s career was to be short-lived after he was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend in 1965.  Four years later and only 37 years of age, Drummond died in prison (with varying theories behind his death), his lasting legacy the great musicianship of Rico Rodriguez and the fantastic music of the Skatalites.

I recently read (and have shared) an article outlining his title as “one of the most important architects of ska.” Don Drummond’s music literally shaped reggae as we know it and with that in mind I admirably introduce today’s fantastic track, Roll on Sweet Don which was released in 1964.  Listen above.

Further reading: Heather Augustyn has written a book called Ska: An Oral History book which focuses on the life of Don Drummond.

Last year Studio One released a compilation album chronicling the legacy and influence of Don Drummond during the ska era. The collection features today’s track alongside a handful of Don Drummond rarities, many of which have never been featured on prior albums.  Grab your copy of Don Cosmic from here.

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