Words by Eddie STATS Houghton, via Wax Poetics
We all know the saying that in cultures of oral tradition, an old man’s death is like a library burning down. If that is true then the passing of Count C–eulogized by friend of the blog and soul of the lion Josh Chamberlain in the current issue of Wax Poetics–is a conflagration of Alexandrian proportions for Jamaican music. Cyril “Count C” Braithwaite was a rival of Duke Reid and one of the few figures in a position to observe the evolution of soundsystem culture from its pre-history in the R&B and mento era, through the evolution of ska, rocksteady and reggae and into dancehall in it’s current form. One of the best things about UNDERRATED–Chamberlain’s short film on Braithwaite, made over the course of his last few years–is the inclusion of the calypso and New Orleans jump blues records which provide the underpinnings of what we think of as reggae. The other best thing is the Wizard of West Kingston himself, may he rest in peace. Watch below and get the full story in the pages of Wax P.