There are many classic cuts on Burning Spear's 1975 album, Marcus Garvey. "Slavery Days", is definitely considered one of them. The track bears a signature horn arrangement created by the late Alpha alum, Bobby Ellis, OD. Recorded for Jack Ruby by the Black Disciples (including Alpha alum Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace) it was the group's second hit after their first recording for Ruby, a dub plate called "Marcus Garvey", became an instant favourite. Bobby Ellis is remembered for a legacy of music arrangement.
Originally recorded in 1962, Prince Buster's "They Got To Come" features Alpha alum and Skatalites co founder Lester Sterling on sax.
2016 is the year Rocksteady was created and the Alpha connection was there right away! According to Sparrow Martin, Tommy McCook was asked to slow down ska by Arthur 'Duke' Reid.
Listen to Sparrow tell the story on the Ask Sparrow Martin program.
And you can hear it as well in the song "Tommy's Rocksteady" featuring Tommy McCook and the Supersonics.
Alpha past student Lester Sterling is credited with recording perhaps the first reggae song of all time...
His debut solo album, Bangarang, was released on Pama Records in 1969. Classic early reggae, producer Striker Lee often claims it as the first proper reggae tune, featuring the John Crow skank organ shuffle c/w updated dub.
Joe Harriott attended Alpha in the 30s and 40s before moving to the UK in 1951 where his career took off.
Joe Harriott + John Mayer Double Quintet: Joe Harriott (alto saxophone); John Mayer (violin, harpsichord); Shake Keane (trumpet, flugelhorn); Chris Taylor (flute); Pat Smythe (piano); Diwan Motihar (sitar); Chandrahas Paigankar (tambura); Coleridge Goode (bass); Alan Ganley (drums); Keshav Sathe (tabla).