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'Studio One Boulevard'
Brentford Road to be named in honour of Clement Dodd and his studio
Balford Henry, Observer writer
Friday, April 16, 2004
Brentford Road in Kingston, where Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd's Studio One is located, is to be named for the record label in a move by the city to honour Jamaica's foremost recording pioneer and the influence of his studio on the development of Jamaican music.
Although, unusually, the road will be named for his studio rather than the man himself, Dodd was nonetheless pleased by the decision of the city government, the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC).
"I really feel good about this, because it is a wonderful tribute to my
contribution to the industry and my years in the business and it shows that my
work is highly appreciated," Dodd commented after the announcement on Wednesday.
The renaming ceremony will take place on April 30 at a civic section at the normally busy intersection of Brentford and Retirement roads. The function will feature a band, entertainers and speeches from MP for the area, Finance Minister Dr Omar Davies as well as Kingston's mayor, Desmond McKenzie, who will rename the road.
After the ceremony, the party will head down to 13 Brentford Road - or the renamed Studio One Boulevard - for more entertainment and socialising, courtesy of Dodd and his staff at Studio One Records/Jamaica Recording and Publishing Company Limited.
The decision to rename the street was actually taken by the previous KSAC Council last year, but implementation had been delayed.
Town Clerk Errol Greene said that it was not unusual for such a long delay. "There is a process that it has to go through," he explained.
Mayor McKenzie said that the decision should not be a big surprise, given Dodd's contribution to Jamaica's music industry.
Bunny Goodison, veteran music selector and close friend of Dodd, is credited with initiating the project. Goodison said that the gesture was the least the city could do for Dodd.
"Based on what he has done for the music and the whole social upliftment of the society, I think that it was most deserving," he said.
Goodison said he wrote to the KSAC two years ago making the proposal and continued to press for its implementation after the city council voted in favour of renaming Brentford Road.
The final decision was reached at a meeting of a sub-committee of the Council on Wednesday when the date and time for the renaming the street was agreed on.
KSAC sources suggest that for the time being, current street signs bearing the name Brentford Road will not be removed, but will be accompanied by the new Studio One Boulevard signs. The first and most symbolic sign will be put up at the corner of Retirement and Brentford roads during the function on April 30.
Dodd is considered a pioneer of modern Jamaican pop music - from ska to early dancehall - although he is not too fond of current dancehall.
Born Clement Seymour Dodd, he was among the earliest owners of sound systems, Sir Coxsone Downbeat, which developed the taste and the market for the ska and spawned subtler forms, such as rocksteady and reggae.
Dodd started recording in 1955. He acquired the property at 13 Brentford Road in 1960 and started with a resident band comprising some of the finest Jamaican recording musicians of all times.
Studio One, whose importance to Kingston's music industry is not considered dissimilar to Motown's importance to Detroit in the 1960s, developed into Jamaica's foremost recording factory, producing such world-renowned acts as Bob Marley and the Wailers, Toots and the Maytals, The Heptones, The Skatalites, John Holt, Bob Andy, Marcia Griffiths, Alton Ellis, Dawn Penn, Jackie Mittoo, Don Drummond, Roland Alphanso, Tommy McCook and Monte Alexander.
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