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Label Hall of Fame

Jontom/Sun Shot/TerminalText by Harry Hawks

“Even in his heyday of the seventies Phil Pratt says he was never one for the limelight. However, American rapper Snoop Lion's cover of Ken Boothe's ‘Artibella’ has put the focus on one of reggae's under rated producers.” Howard Campbell
Date Added: Dec 27, 2012, Date Updated: Dec 28, 2012 Copyright (C) 2019 Dub Store Sound Inc.
1968 ~
Place of Establishment
Jamaica
Kingston
Orange Street
Founder:
Phil Pratt
Producer(s):
Phil Pratt
Related Artist(s)
Ken Boothe
Dennis Brown
Al Campbell
Big Youth
Heptones
Gregory Isaacs
U Roy
I Roy
Related Label(s)
Caltone
Pressure Sounds
Wiggle Spoon
Terminal
Jontom
Sunshot
Diffident, self effacing and shy of publicity are not among the usual epithets to describe any one in the music business but George Phillips, also known as Phillip Choukoe but better known as Phil Pratt, is all of these things.

"It better off when you keep a low profile... you have less intruders." Phil Pratt

Born and brought up, the eldest of seventeen children in the west Kingston community of Denham Town, Phil had little to do with his parents and was raised by his much loved aunt. His brother, Winston Harris, was a multi-instrumentalist who went on to become a teacher of music at Kingston's Roman Catholic Alpha Boys Home And School. Winston was a formative influence on Phil and taught him to play the guitar. Phil attended St. Ann's Primary School on North Street where he formed a vocal group with schoolmates Ken Boothe and Hedley Foulding who performed at charities and school concerts although they never made any recordings.

When Phil left school he started work as an upholsterer, French polisher and cabinet maker and, after he had finished work, he would go to Kingston's sound system dances. Count C and Sir Coxsone The Downbeat became Phil's favourites on the circuit and he became a box carrier for Downbeat's Sound where he formed a life long friendship with The Upsetter Lee 'Scratch' Perry(Lee Perry). Ken Boothe had begun to make a name for himself in the music business and now knew many of the influential characters on the scene. He introduced Phil to the great Roy Shirley who took him to Bunny Striker Lee, who was plugging records on the radio while still working at Kingston Industrial Garage, and Striker introduced Phil to Ken Lack.

Born in 1934 as Blondel Keith Calneck (Ken Lack was an anagram of his surname) Ken had, together with PJ Patterson, been the touring and road manager for The Skatalites but, after Don Drummond left the band, he returned to his business interests dealing in hardware and household goods. Ken started the Caltone label in 1966 operating out of 15 Mark Lane using connections he had built up while working with The Skatalites. He surrounded himself with some of the outstanding musicians and singers of both his own and the younger generation and became "a kind of father figure" and mentor to his protégés.

That same year Phil produced and sang his first record, 'Sweet Song For My Baby', which was credited to Phil Pratt and, according to Phil, Ken Lack had renamed him Phil Pratt because he could not remember his surname! Phil reckoned "that much of the power was in the hands of people who had got off the island and brought back music that could then be copied" and Phil's 'Little Things', sung with Hemsley Morris, was "inspired by" Kitty Kallen's 1954 USA release 'Little Things Mean A Lot'. Ken Lack made the unprecedented move of giving Phil Pratt his own label, Jon Tom, for Phil to release his own productions. Phil proudly stated that any record released on Jon Tom can be classed as "pretty much exclusively my production" but due to the relaxed atmosphere of the Mark Lane set up his works, and co-works, could sometimes appear on Caltone and Wiggle Spoon "a label I co-owned with a deejay from RJR called Dave Daniels".

The strength of Phil's productions came from a combination of ideas from the artists and musicians and, through his own experiences as a singer and musician, Phil was able to empathise fully with them. A very young Horace Hinds made his first ever record, 'Black Man's Country', for Jon Tom but it was not until he recorded for Studio One that Mr Dodd(CS Dodd) renamed him Horace Andy. A 2005 compilation 'Safe Travel' (Pressure Sounds PSCD/LP 47) contains a selection of classic Phil Pratt rock steady recordings from this period.

"You know who's a good producer and no-one talks about him? Phil Pratt..." Bunny Striker Lee

Rock steady shifted towards the faster reggae beat as 1968 drew to a close and Phil Pratt became fully independent when he opened his own offices and began the Sunshot and Terminal labels in premises at 118 Orange Street where he continued to build his distinct and unique sound. At the beginning his musical partner was the criminally under rated Trinidadian guitarist Lynn Taitt whose delicate approach had defined the cool rock steady sound and he cited as his other "right hand man" , and great friend, Bobby Kalphat. Phil, and many others, feel that Bobby deserves some long overdue recognition for his immeasurable contribution to Jamaican music. Phil was a 'hands on' producer and the works were as much his creation as the artists he worked with and he was able to attract brand name musicians and artists from the outset.
"Musicians were paid a fixed rate of thirty shillings a side so the top quality musicians were happy to play for good session rates." Phil Pratt

Sunshot and Terminal started attacking the charts immediately and continued to do so throughout the seventies. Ken Boothe provided Phil's first hit with a recut of 'Artibella' and followed it up with the aching 'Not For Sale', Dennis Brown hit with 'Let Love In' and 'What About The Half', Al Campbell with 'Gee Baby' and 'Going The Wrong Way', The Heptones with 'Sweat For You Baby', John Holt with 'My Heart Is Gone' and 'Strange Things', Gregory Isaacs with 'All I Have Is Love' and Pat Kelly with 'Soulful Love' and 'They Talk About Love'. The list goes on and on. He also worked closely with deejays including U Roy on 'Real Cool', I Roy on 'My Food Is Ration' and Big Youth, with whom he shared a close working relationship, on 'Phil Pratt Thing' and 'Keep Your Dread'. The Youth would go on to use some of Phil's rhythms "he's a truly good youth... a giant youth!" for his own productions such as 'Every Nigger Is A Star' which he sang over Phil's 'Sweet For You Baby' rhythm. The Heptones first toured the UK in 1971, playing at venues such as Phoebes in East London, through an arrangement with Phil that, in return for recording some songs for him, he would "bring them up". One of the tunes they gave him was a new cut to their Studio One classic 'Party Time' and many long time admirers of the group feel that this is the definitive version of the song.

"Ever since he made it as a professional in the producing and recording business Phil Pratt has never taken a look more so a step behind." Evor Stone
But in 1982 Phil Pratt took a step away "gave up full time music production" and relocated to the UK where he opened a very successful restaurant, Scandal West Indian Takeaway, in Harlesden, North West London. He has continued to re-package and re-release his numerous hits over the ensuing years but in the summer of 2012 Phil was in the limelight that he had always strove to avoid. American rapper Snoop Lion, previously Snoop Dog, covered Phil's first big hit Ken Boothe's 'Artibella' (rather than the original ska version) for his first foray into reggae and 'La La La' has recorded over three million hits on YouTube so far. Phil told the Jamaican Observer that "he has heard the Snoop track and given it the thumbs up". We await further developments...
Sources:
Howard Campbell: 'Snoop Lion Put Phil Pratt In The Spotlight' Jamaica Observer 31st August 2012
Dec 27, 2012 (Dec 28, 2012 Update) Text by Harry Hawks
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Hit Titles
Various - Rare Side Of Rock Steady With Phil Pratt & Friends: Safe Travel
CD Various - Rare Side Of Rock Steady With Phil Pratt & Friends: Safe Travel Pressure Sounds UK
  
¥2071 (US$18.74)
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Various - Caltone Special: Rock Steady With Tommy McCook
CD Various - Caltone Special: Rock Steady With Tommy McCook Attack UK
  
¥2080 (US$18.82)
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Various - Rare Side Of Rock Steady With Phil Pratt & Friends: Safe Travel (2LP)
LP Various - Rare Side Of Rock Steady With Phil Pratt & Friends: Safe Travel (2LP) Pressure Sounds UK
  
¥3480 (US$31.49)
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Tommy McCook, Supersonics - Smooth Sailing
7" Tommy McCook, Supersonics - Smooth Sailing Pressure Sounds UK/Jontom
  
¥1580 (US$14.30)
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Hemsley Morris - Love Is Strange
7" Hemsley Morris - Love Is Strange / Larry & Alvin - No One To Give Me Pressure Sounds UK/Caltone
  
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Hemsley Morris, Phil Pratt - Little Things
7" Hemsley Morris, Phil Pratt - Little Things / Tommy McCook - Bigger Things Pressure Sounds UK/Caltone
  
¥1580 (US$14.30)
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Horace Hinds (Horace Andy) - Black Man's Country
7" Horace Hinds (Horace Andy) - Black Man's Country / Peter Austin - Time Is Getting Harder Pressure Sounds UK/Caltone
  
¥1580 (US$14.30)
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Phil Pratt - Reach Out
7" Phil Pratt - Reach Out Sun Shot UK
  
¥1180 (US$10.68)
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Phil Pratt, Hemsley Morris - Little Things
7" Phil Pratt, Hemsley Morris - Little Things Sun Shot UK
  
¥980 (US$8.87)
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Phil Pratt, Ken Boothe - Sweet Song For My Baby
7" Phil Pratt, Ken Boothe - Sweet Song For My Baby / Cool Cats - What Kind Of Man Pressure Sounds UK/Caltone
  
¥1580 (US$14.30)
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Errol Dunkley - Running Child
7" Errol Dunkley - Running Child / Tropical Shadows - Anniversary Sun Shot UK
  
¥1180 ¥1100 (US$9.96)
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Dennis Brown - Let Love In
7" Dennis Brown - Let Love In / King Sighter - Master Of All Sun Shot UK Let Love In
  
¥1200 (US$10.86)
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Heptones - Party Time
7" Heptones - Party Time / Bobby Kalphat - Zion Hill Sun Shot UK Party Time
  
¥1280 (US$11.58)
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Al Campbell - Hide & Seek
7" Al Campbell - Hide & Seek Sun Shot UK
  
¥1180 (US$10.68)
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Big Youth - Dread Locks Dread
7" Big Youth - Dread Locks Dread Sun Shot UK
  
¥900 ¥599 (US$5.42)
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Call More - My Forefathers Died In The Sand
7" Call More - My Forefathers Died In The Sand Sun Shot UK Strange Things
  
¥900 (US$8.15)
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Dennis Brown - Black Magic Woman
7" Dennis Brown - Black Magic Woman Sun Shot UK Black Magic Woman
  
¥1200 (US$10.86)
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Al Campbell - Every Man Say
7" Al Campbell - Every Man Say Terminal UK
  
¥1480 ¥1380 (US$12.49)
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Recent Arrivals
Ken Boothe - Give It To Me
7" Ken Boothe - Give It To Me / I Roy - Musical Air Raid Sun Shot UK
  
¥1480 (US$13.39)
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Best selling 7"(s)
Ken Boothe - Artibella
7" Ken Boothe - Artibella Sun Shot UK Artibella
  
¥1280 (US$11.58)
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Horace Andy - Let Your Teardrops Fall
7" Horace Andy - Let Your Teardrops Fall Sun Shot UK
  
¥1280 (US$11.58)
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Al Campbell - Hide & Seek
7" Al Campbell - Hide & Seek Sun Shot UK
  
¥1180 (US$10.68)
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Heptones - Party Time
7" Heptones - Party Time / Bobby Kalphat - Zion Hill Sun Shot UK Party Time
  
¥1280 (US$11.58)
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Ken Boothe - Give It To Me
7" Ken Boothe - Give It To Me / I Roy - Musical Air Raid Sun Shot UK
  
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>>more
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