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Count Sticky

 

Last revised: 5/12/12

 

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Introduction

Count Sticky began recording towards the end of mento's golden age of the 1950s. He is a rather obscure mento artist, especially considering the fact that he transitioned to reggae, recording about twenty tracks for Lee Perry and others into the early to mid 1970s. (However, do not confuse him with the reggae percussionist named Sticky (Issiah Thompson), who appeared on hundreds of reggae tracks.)

Although he was not a prolific artist, he recorded an number of fine mento tracks in traditional rural and other styles. Regrettably, none of Sticky's recordings have ever been compiled on CD or LP, until the 2009 collection "Soundman Shots" included two.

 


Count Sticky live,
from The Daily Gleaner
April 18, 1959



Golden-age Singles

 
  A Count Sticky single on Caribou: "Tempting Powder" b/w "Sticky Mento". Both are very rural with bamboo and banjo. The former has something of a proto-reggae beat. I have not yet been able to decipher what the tempting powder that Sticky sings about is. (My copy is quite worn, and Sticky's easy

delivery, though pleasing to the ear, is hard to understand. ) But from the few snatches of lyrics that I've caught, I can tell that it's an interesting tale. The melody of this song has certain characteristics that are typical of many rural mento vocal lines. It's a pleasing, easy softness that makes the melody go down easy and lingers. The Count must have used up all his lyrics on the mysterious A-side, as the B-side, "Sticky Mento" is an raucous rural instrumental. As you will see on this page, other than "Tempting Powder", lyrics were not Count Sticky's  strong suit.

Because these tracks are favorites of mine and they are not in print, here are song clips of Tempting Powder and Sticky Mento[Click here for notes About the Audio Clips On this Site.]

A scan courtesy of Dan Neely:

"Calypso Ten" by Count Sticky and His Calypsonians on the Caribou label. The b-side of this track is the same recoding of "Tempting Powder" as on the single above. The lyrics of this rural work-out, which consist of Sticky counting from "Calypso one" up to the title, did not win him any awards. But they were good enough for King Barou to borrow as the chorus for his "Calypso Cha Cha Cha".

    A Count Sticky single:

"Chico Chico" backed with
"Bam Cielena".

 RKR has this listed as a 1960 Dada Tuari production, originally released on Caribou in Jamaica, and re-released in the UK on Kalypso, as seen to the left.

As seen to the right, it was also released on the RCA label released in Jamaica. (Sorry, a larger version of this image is not available.)

A writing credit is given for both songs to Kenneth Scott, though whether this is the Count's real name is speculation. As the lyrics of "Chico Chico" open with "Chico Chico, from Puerto Rico, he plays the rumba...", it's not as surprising to hear a Latin-influenced more urban sound on this Count Sticky recording. It is surprising to hear the rumba being repeatedly described as being "from Chicago" ! An upbeat, fun song, that says absolutely nothing other than introducing the band (except for the saxophonist, who is unmentioned). The full lyrics are below, even though I may have put more effort into deciphering them than Sticky did in writing them. Happily, the 2009 CD "Soundman Shots" included both sides of this single. Because it is a favorite of mine and was not in print when I added it to this site, here is a clip of Chico Chico[Click here for notes About the Audio Clips On this Site.]

"Chico Chico" by Kenneth Scott

Chico Chico, from Puerto Rico
He play the rumba like the rumba from Chicago
Chico Chico, from Puerto Rico
He play the rumba like the rumba from Chicago

I am Count Sticky, from Jamaica
He play the rumba like the rumba from Chicago
I am Count Sticky, from Jamaica
He play the rumba like the rumba from Chicago

There go Georgie on his steel guitar
He play the rumba like the rumba from Chicago
There go Georgie on his steel guitar
He play the rumba like the rumba from Chicago

There goes Mustache[?] on his Spanish guitar                      ["Spanish" meaning acoustic guitar]
He play the rumba like the rumba from Chicago
There goes Vasquez[?] on his marimba                                 ["marimba" meaning rumba box]
He play the rumba like the rumba from Chicago

There goes Danny on his poo-poos                                        ["poo-poos" are apparently hand drums]
He play the rumba like the rumba from Chicago
There goes Gorilla on his maracas
He play the rumba like the rumba from Chicago
 

The b-side, "Bam Cielena" is more conventional, with a melody reminiscent of "Day-O" and the same instrumentation as above.

 
    Here's the same 45, this time on the Caribou label courtesy of Peter Roth from Germany, who runs the www.skaville.de website.

 


 

Here's is a similar sounding 45, this time on RCA.

"Moccassin Craze"    b/w:
"Bolero"

 

This single is very similiar in sound to "Chico Chico" with the same band. If RKR didnt have it as being from the year before, I would have guessed that it's a followup.

Moccasin Craze  is self explanatory. Thank goodness Bolero the title is just visible, otherwise there would be no guessing the name of this instrumental. Its a fun jam with everyone getting turns in the lead.


 

Courtesy of Matthias Münchow of Germany, in all their faded glory are the labels of a Count Sticky rural reggae 78 RPM single on Caribou:

"Now A Day's Children"     b/w
"Linda Scandal"

 

"Now A Day's Children" decries rude behavior by the youth of today. Foul language, disrespect and fighting are all sited. Is this the progenitor of all rude boys songs?

"Linda Scandal" is about a woman who steals a ten pound note from a man. It's set to music of another nmento scandal song, Love (And Love Alone).


 
An advertisement from The Daily Gleaner from March 28, 1956 for an Easter show at the Gaiety theater. It starts with a move, then a live show that includes Count Sticky as one of the acts.



Late 1960s - early 1970 reggae DJ tracks

"Dry Acid" is a count Count Sticky-voiced reggae track from the late 1960s that can be heard on an easily obtainable compilation of Lee Perry productions by the same name. While other mento singers went on to sing ska and reggae, Count Sticky is the only one to go on to be a reggae DJ. This is the early DJ style, where a lot of expressions and vocal sounds are barked out rather than the later, more fluid style popularized by U-Roy, Big Youth, et al. The title is not meaningful, as it is not even mentioned by Sticky. The music is the characteristic of Perry's productions at that time: fast paced, with oversized organ as the lead instrument and no break in the middle. Incidentally, this CD also includes a track sung by middle-period mento singer Denzil Laing.
 
 

The CD liner notes mistakenly attribute this track to, the other Sticky, Issiah Thompson. 

 

The original single release gave him no credit at all.


 
     

Another Lee Perry-produced Count Sticky DJ track, "Rockford Psychedelion" appeared on CD in 2012.


 

On the Amalgamated label, helpfully dated as being from 1968, here is

"El Casino Royale"     b/w "Dee's Special"
by Lynn Taitt and The Jets, featuring DJing by the uncredited Count Sticky.

Casino has just a few a DJ interjections over an organ led backing that is largely rock steady. Dee's Special finds the DJ rambling on for the duration over a backing that is reggae.

  "What Do You So" is a Count Sticky track produced by Harry Mudie, released in 1974 on Mudie's Moodisc Records label. Sticky's scattershot DJ style is largely unchanged from the above recording he made five years earlier for Lee Perry. The backing track is the same chugging, soulful instrumental as used for the backing of Nora Dean's "Let Me Tell You Boy", but with extra organ. The b-side is a version credited to the organist and band, Winston Wright and Mudie's All Stars.


 
  Here is "What's Your Excuse", by Count Sticky, which was released in the UK credited to the Hippy Boys (as was the flip side is "Tell Me Tell Me", which did not feature Sticky. Leon Kratzer of Germany provided additional information on this recording: It's a 1969 release on the Bullet label, with Ranny Williams credited as producer.

It's an very upbeat organ dominated track with Sticky shouting exclaiming in the background throughout.


  From 1973 or 1974, "Penny Reel" by Charlie & Sticky on the Scorpion label. The b-side is "Reel Dub" by the In Swings. The Charlie is Charlie Ace, who also produced the track.

Thanks to Filipe Canuto of Fortaleza, Brazil, I have heard this track. It's a wonderfully rough chugging mento-reggae cover of Lord Power's well remembered mento song. It features electric guitar, piano and bamboo sax.


 
   

Here is the self produced "What Goes Up Must Come Down", by Sticky, on the Stick label, recorded in 1973 . On this adequate, if non-descript reggae recording, Sticky sings rather than DJs. The b-side is dub version.


 
   

On the Savoy's label, of uncertain year and producer is
"God Knows",
a song reggae that Sticky sings rather than DJs.

The b-side is dub version.


 

Courtesy of Jurjen Borregaard here a the self produced Count Sticky single on the Kass label:

"Stop Rape" b/w "Young World"

These reggae songs are unusual for Sticky, as he sings rather than DJs.


 
 

The Count Sticky single "Live The Life" on the Stick label, from 1975. This is perhaps the last single that Sticky recorded. On it, he sings rather than DJs over a spongy reggae backing. The b-side is an dub version.

   

Left, on the Gibbs label:
"Matter of Time" by Sticky

Right, on Upsetter,
"To Hell and Back"
by Count Sticky


 
  Courtesy of David Diamant from Barcelona (Catalunya), here is The Count Sticky single on the UK Grape label, strangely credited to Tony for reasons explained below

"Casa Boo Boo" backed with
 "My Girl"

Paul Steward of London was kind enough to send me MP3s of this 1969 DJ track, in which Sticky introduces Prince Tony [Robinson], and interjects sparsely over organ dominated reggae.

I've also heard the Count Sticky and Check 'O' Mates single "Train to Soulville", released in 1968 blank label J Gibson produce single. (The b-side is "Tickle Me" by The Pioneers.) On it, Sticky DJs over a re-cut Treasure Island "Ba Ba Boom" riddim.

I've also heard the 1969 Count Sticky and The Upsetters side, "Return of The Ugly". This is an organ driven track of the type that Lee Perry was releasing under The Upsetters name at this time. Sticky's contribution was rhythmic "ah-ha"s heard for the duration.

 

email me at:
mike@mentomusic.com

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