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Artist Hall of Fame

Ernest RanglinText by Harry Hawks

Not only an internationally acclaimed jazz guitarist Ernest Ranglin is also another of the architects and builders of modern Jamaican music.
Date Added: Apr 6, 2009, Date Updated: Sep 6, 2019 Copyright (C) 2019 Dub Store Sound Inc.
Jun 19, 1932 -
Place of Birth: Manchester
Jamaica
Related Artist(s):
Skatalites
Soul Vendors
Sound Dimension
Monty Alexander
Born 19th June 1932 in the parish of Manchester where his grandmother, Estella Campbell, was an organist in the Adventist Church and two of his uncles, Sydney and Lester Campbell, both played the ukulele and, at the age of six, Ernie built his own instrument using a sardine can and fishing line. He taught himself to read music and moved to Kingston, where he received his formal education, and began performing live often alongside another musical prodigy piano maestro Monty Alexander. At the age of fifteen he joined the Val Bennett Band and then went on to play with the Eric Deans Band where his restrained Charlie Christian influenced style was a major contributory factor to the popularity of these Jamaican jazz legends.
During the fifties, like so many of Jamaica's jazz musicians, Ernie toured overseas but he also stayed and played at home where he recorded in the traditional mento style. He was one of the legendary musical maestros that the sound system men turned to when they started to make their own recordings in the latter half of the decade. His innate musical abilities, and his ability to turn his hand to any style, meant that he was behind more records than even he could care to remember. As an un-credited member of Clue J And His Blues Blasters he played on many of the first Jamaican rhythm and blues records including the seminal 'Shuffling Jug' and Theophilus Beckford's 'Easy Snapping' for Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd(CS Dodd). And as one of The Granville Williams Orchestra he resurrected 'Honky Tonk Ska', their ska update of Bill Doggett's rhythm & blues 'Honky Tonk' from 1956, to an entirely different, totally thrilling level.

Arriving in London in late 1963 he astounded the local jazz musicians with his brilliant technical command and by "his possession of the kind of poise in his playing which can only be born of long experience" and became the resident guitarist at Ronnie Scott's internationally renowned Jazz Club where he backed countless guest artists. While in the UK he masterminded Millie Small's (as Millie) 'My Boy Lollipop'. It was the first ska crossover hit record reaching Number Two in the UK Charts early in 1964 and Chris Blackwell usually gets the credit for turning Barbie Gaye's rhythm & blues original from 1956 into a ska flavoured crossover hit. However, it states "Accompaniment Directed by Ernest Ranglin" on the Jamaican Beverley's(Beverleys) release of 'My Boy Lollipop'. It might well have been Chris Blackwell's business acumen and realisation that ska music could bust big internationally but it was Ranglin's genius that transformed Barbie Gaye's rampant R&B stormer into a Jamaican record... although it was recorded in London! It was another indication of Ernest Ranglin's genius and his ability to assimilate all styles, to mix and match and to make them into something unmistakeably original.

On his return to Kingston Ernest was contracted by Ken Khouri as in-house arranger at Federal and he also released a series of solo albums including 'Mod Mod Ranglin' for Federal Records. Throughout the sixties and seventies he freelanced for many of the island's top producers including Prince Buster, Leslie Kong at Beverley's(Beverleys), Clancy Eccles, as one of Lee Perry's Upsetters and, perhaps most notably of all, at Studio One where his recordings were inevitably superb. His un-credited contributions to records such as The Wailers' heart breaking 'It Hurts To Be Alone' (which features two of the most understated, yet intensely moving, guitar solos ever recorded over two separate takes) were works of untrammelled, undisputed genius. His fluid guitar lines were laid over many of Coxsone's foundation rhythms: 'Love Me Forever' entitled 'West Of The Sun', turning Ernest Wilson's 'Undying Love' into 'Straight Flush' and creating original masterpieces such as the ethereal, haunting 'Surfin'' and transforming the spiritual 'Walls Of Jericho' into 'Jericho Skank'. On their original release these outings were often credited to Studio One house bands such as The Soul Vendors or Sound Dimension but Ernest Ranglin's arrangements and solos finally received their rightful billing when they were compiled for the Studio One Compact Disc release 'Sounds & Power'.

Never short of work as a session musician Ernest Ranglin also found the time to work on many of his own jazz projects. In 1996 he reunited with Chris Blackwell for the sublime 'Below The Bassline' album, an Island Jamaica Jazz release, with Ernest revisiting and reinterpreting what had now become standards of a genre he had played a major role in helping to create including updates of 'None Shall Escape The Judgement' and 'Cassava Piece'. Never unafraid to try new directions in 1998 he teamed up with a number of West African musicians including Baaba Maal for 'In Search of the Lost Riddim'. The album was marvellous and the subsequent tour was even better; the stage shows were riveting and proof, if any further proof was really required that Ernie Ranglin was one of the most accomplished musical polymaths of his generation totally at ease everywhere on whatever rhythms or styles were presented to him. His recent shows in Tokyo (November 2011) alongside Sly & Robbie, the Rhythm Twins, were yet another triumph in a career that has now spanned sixty years.

In a genre too often dismissed as lacking in musical talent Ernest Ranglin is an all round musical genius who blatantly belies this incorrect, glib assumption. He was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican Government in 1973 for his contributions to music and he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of the West Indies in 2002 for his outstanding contribution to the development of music in Jamaica. In 2008 he was inducted into the Jamaican Music Hall of Fame by the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates. Gifted and talented Ernest Ranglin is the epitome of consummate professionalism whose quiet demeanour and self effacing personality are in direct contrast to his manifest talents. A true original and a truly great artist his influence on the development and content of Jamaican music is second to none. When asked by Benny Green in the early sixties who his favourite guitarists were he smiled and answered "All of them..." but if any of the many Jamaican artists and musicians who followed in his footsteps were asked the same question their answer would surely be "Ernest Ranglin".
Apr 6, 2009 (Sep 6, 2019 Update) Text by Harry Hawks
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Hit titles
Ernest Ranglin - Ultimate Ranglin Roots
CD Ernest Ranglin - Ultimate Ranglin Roots Tropic UK
  
¥2180 (US$20.06)
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Monty Alexander, Ernest Ranglin - Rocksteady
CD Monty Alexander, Ernest Ranglin - Rocksteady Telarc UK
¥2180 (US$20.06)
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Ernest Ranglin - Below The Bassline
CD Ernest Ranglin - Below The Bassline Island US
  
¥2180 (US$20.06)
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Don Drummond, Ernest Ranglin, Tommy McCook, Various - Jazz Jamaica From The Workshop
CD Don Drummond, Ernest Ranglin, Tommy McCook, Various - Jazz Jamaica From The Workshop Studio One
  
¥2380 (US$21.90)
BUY
Ernest Ranglin - Guitar In Ernest
CD Ernest Ranglin - Guitar In Ernest Dub Store Records JPN
   Internationally acclaimed guitarist Ernest Ranglin with piano genius Leslie Butler in a dazzling quartet. Recorded in 1965.
¥2500 (US$23.01)
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Ernest Ranglin - Mod Mod Ranglin
CD Ernest Ranglin - Mod Mod Ranglin K & K US
  
¥2080 (US$19.14)
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Ernest Ranglin - Sounds & Power
CD Ernest Ranglin - Sounds & Power Studio One
  
¥2380 (US$21.90)
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Ernest Ranglin - Boss Reggae
CD Ernest Ranglin - Boss Reggae K & K US
  
¥2080 ¥1980 (US$18.22)
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Ernest Ranglin - Ranglin Roots (1976)
CD Ernest Ranglin - Ranglin Roots (1976) Water Lily
  
¥1980 (US$18.22)
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Ernest Ranglin - In Search Of The Lost Riddim
CD Ernest Ranglin - In Search Of The Lost Riddim Palm Pictures US
  
¥2480 (US$22.82)
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Ernest Ranglin - Below The Bassline
LP Ernest Ranglin - Below The Bassline Island Jamaica Jazz UK
  
¥1780 (US$16.38)
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Ernest Ranglin - Sounds & Power
LP Ernest Ranglin - Sounds & Power Studio One US
¥1680 (US$15.46)
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Don Drummond, Ernest Ranglin, Tommy McCook, Various - Jazz Jamaica From The Workshop
LP Don Drummond, Ernest Ranglin, Tommy McCook, Various - Jazz Jamaica From The Workshop Studio One
  
¥2080 (US$19.14)
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Ernest Ranglin - Guitar In Ernest
LP Ernest Ranglin - Guitar In Ernest Dub Store Records JPN
   Internationally acclaimed guitarist Ernest Ranglin with piano genius Leslie Butler in a dazzling quartet. Recorded in 1965.
¥2880 (US$26.50)
BUY
Ernest Ranglin - Boss Reggae
LP Ernest Ranglin - Boss Reggae Steady/K & K US
  
¥2380 (US$21.90)
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Ernest Ranglin - Ranglin Roots (1976)
LP Ernest Ranglin - Ranglin Roots (1976) Water Lily
  
¥2280 (US$20.98)
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Ernest Ranglin - In Search Of The Lost Riddim
LP Ernest Ranglin - In Search Of The Lost Riddim Palm Pictures US
  
¥1980 (US$18.22)
Add To Want List
Ernest Ranglin, Selected Group - Free Form
7" Ernest Ranglin, Selected Group - Free Form Kentone/Dub Store Records JPN
   One of the most rare double A-sided singles recorded under direction of Ernest Ranglin, who was the musical director of Federal Recording Studio at the time. While this jazzy instrumental features superbsolos by trumpet and alto saxophone, Ernie leads this minor track from beginning to end and showcases his mighty guitar playing. On the flipside, remarkable solos by trumpet and alto saxophone are again featured on the bright mid-tempo track. The original 7inch format is almost impossible to find. These recordings are simply elegant Ska Instrumentals.
¥1480 (US$13.62)
BUY
Ernest Ranglin, Tommy McCook - Ranglin On Bond Street (Coloured Vinyl)
7" Ernest Ranglin, Tommy McCook - Ranglin On Bond Street (Coloured Vinyl) / Tommy McCook, Supersonics - Sweet Lorna Dutchess Ranglin On Bond Street
  
¥600 (US$5.52)
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Ernest Ranglin - Surfin (Original Stamper)
7" Ernest Ranglin - Surfin (Original Stamper) Studio One
  
¥850 (US$7.82)
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Ernest Ranglin - La La Love
7" Ernest Ranglin - La La Love All Tone UK La La Means I Love You/Precious
  
¥1280 (US$11.78)
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Recent arrival(s)
Ernest Ranglin - Be What You Want To Be
LP Ernest Ranglin - Be What You Want To Be Emotional Rescue UK
  
¥2380 (US$21.90)
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Best selling CD(s)
Ernest Ranglin - Guitar In Ernest
CD Ernest Ranglin - Guitar In Ernest Dub Store Records JPN
   Internationally acclaimed guitarist Ernest Ranglin with piano genius Leslie Butler in a dazzling quartet. Recorded in 1965.
¥2500 (US$23.01)
BUY
Ernest Ranglin - Softly With Ranglin
CD Ernest Ranglin - Softly With Ranglin Dub Store Records JPN
   Smooth, sophisticated sounds from the highly respected Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin.
¥2376 (US$21.87)
BUY
Ernest Ranglin - Mr. Ranglin With Soul
CD Ernest Ranglin - Mr. Ranglin With Soul Dub Store Records JPN
  
¥2376 (US$21.87)
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Ernest Ranglin - Mod Mod Ranglin
CD Ernest Ranglin - Mod Mod Ranglin Dub Store Records JPN
  
¥2376 (US$21.87)
BUY
Ernest Ranglin - Jazz Jamaica
CD Ernest Ranglin - Jazz Jamaica Dub Store Records JPN
  
¥2376 (US$21.87)
BUY
>>more
Best selling LP(s)
Ernest Ranglin - Guitar In Ernest
LP Ernest Ranglin - Guitar In Ernest Dub Store Records JPN
   Internationally acclaimed guitarist Ernest Ranglin with piano genius Leslie Butler in a dazzling quartet. Recorded in 1965.
¥2880 (US$26.50)
BUY
Ernest Ranglin - Mod Mod Ranglin
LP Ernest Ranglin - Mod Mod Ranglin Dub Store Records JPN
   A fundamental album released in 1966 that determined the way Rocksteady was going to journey. In 1966, Rude Boys were at the peak of the fame with their notorious behaviors, while Ska gradually started to slow down its tempo, this album paved the way for a newborn music, Rocksteady with rather slower and tighter rhythm approach. This album should be picked one of 10 pieces of the most important album of Reggae history.
¥2880 (US$26.50)
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Ernest Ranglin - Mr. Ranglin With Soul
LP Ernest Ranglin - Mr. Ranglin With Soul Dub Store Records JPN
   Unlike all the other musicians in those days, Ranglin was not allowed to go between studios to record and release music as he wished because he was an exclusive employee of the Federal records. Thus it’s really hard to find a Rocksteady record with his name on it. Although whenever he finds a spare time, he would go to Duke Reid’s studio and play the guitar and bass as a sideman, often playing sessions with Lynn Taitt. According to Ranglin himself, “I felt really comfortable being at Duke Reid’s studio”, though sadly there have not been a single release of his solo guitar tune which was recorded there. So here comes the album, it’s the rare Rocksteady instrumentals by the man himself. Some of the main features would be “Summertime”, “Flamingo” and “Hold Me Tight”, the wickedest selection of the moist Rocksteady that will certainly catch your heart. Other than that, it’s got an exotic intro and uptempo “Sling Shot”, relatively arranged towards pop direction “Don’t Sleep In the Subway” and some ballads to represent the Federal’s widely ranged style that won’t go off after a long time, exactly how this one of the biggest leading labels in Jamaica had thought of. This may not make Rude Boys in downtown growl, although it will clearly last eternally as Ranglin’s 60s best album to the future generations.
¥2880 (US$26.50)
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Ernest Ranglin - Jazz Jamaica
LP Ernest Ranglin - Jazz Jamaica Dub Store Records JPN
   Recorded in 1964 at the Federal studio, this elegant yet unique previously unreleased album is said to be the origin of the Jamaican Mento meets 4 Beat Jazz. This brilliant album is one of the most important Jamaican Jazz recordings that Ernest Ranglin has ever made. Everything in this album starts with the traditional Caribbean Jazz classics and then develops into 4 Beat Jazz. Produced by Godfather of the Jamaican music, Ken Kouri, this album is nothing but deserves its title. You may want to add this next to the Guitar In Earnest [DSR-LP/CD-501] in your collection.
¥2880 (US$26.50)
BUY
Ernest Ranglin - Softly With Ranglin
LP Ernest Ranglin - Softly With Ranglin Dub Store Records JPN
   Smooth, sophisticated sounds from the highly respected Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin.
¥2880 (US$26.50)
BUY
>>more
Best selling 7"(s)
Ernest Ranglin, Selected Group - Free Form
7" Ernest Ranglin, Selected Group - Free Form Kentone/Dub Store Records JPN
   One of the most rare double A-sided singles recorded under direction of Ernest Ranglin, who was the musical director of Federal Recording Studio at the time. While this jazzy instrumental features superbsolos by trumpet and alto saxophone, Ernie leads this minor track from beginning to end and showcases his mighty guitar playing. On the flipside, remarkable solos by trumpet and alto saxophone are again featured on the bright mid-tempo track. The original 7inch format is almost impossible to find. These recordings are simply elegant Ska Instrumentals.
¥1480 (US$13.62)
BUY
Ernest Ranglin - Dark Shadows
7" Ernest Ranglin - Dark Shadows Moodisc US
  
¥1680 (US$15.46)
BUY
Alton Ellis - Sing Like Gregory
7" Alton Ellis - Sing Like Gregory / Ernest Ranglin - Yours And Mine All Tone UK
  
¥1380 (US$12.70)
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>>more
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